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Golf Australia Express : Issue 3
NOT that you’d have known it, but there was other golf being played around the world over the weekend. And the lesson from the Viking Classic was clearly that the easiest way to get a win this year is to either save your best golf for the week the top players are drowning in England, or simply be a PGA Tour rookie. Chris Kirk became the fifth rookie to salute this year with a win at Annandale Golf Club in Mississippi, holding off Tom Pernice Jnr and George McNeill by a single stroke. The man with the slowest swing this side of the Senior’s Tour started his final round with that same margin and did enough to maintain it, draining four birdies on the back nine to secure 250 FedEx Cup points and a $648,000 pay day. Kirk’s first PGA Tour event KIRK’S ENTERPRISE happened to be the 2007 edition of the Viking Classic, and the 26-year-old said this time he was a completely different man. “It’s pretty amazing to think back to then, how far I’ve come from,” Kirk said. “My game isn’t that much better than it was then, but just the comfort level that Ihavenowtobeabletogo out for 18 today and feel 100 per cent comfortable in my own skin.” He needed to be comfortable when he walked to the 17th level with McNeill and took a chance by attacking the pin over water with his approach shot. He lasered the ball to within six feet and rolled it in for birdie to break the deadlock and set up the win. Pernice belied his age and offered a stiff challenge as he bid to become the first over-50 player to win on Tour since 2007. He shot his third consecutive 67 after starting the day two shots back and almost forced a playoff before his birdie putt at 18 drifted off its line at the last moment. Australian Peter Lonard shared the lead at the tournament’s halfway point but could only manage a three-under par 69 and a one- under 71 on the weekend as his rivals took advantage of the good conditions and soft greens and set out on a scoring frenzy. He finished in a tie for ninth at 18-under, while Steven Bowditch produced the round of the day on Sunday, soaring up the leaderboard with a 10-under 62. OTG “I MADE A THREE-INCH PUTT TO WIN. THAT’S NOT EXACTLY AN ACCOMPLISHMENT. ALL THE OTHER SHOTS I HIT WERE PRETTY GOOD, THOUGH.” — Chris Kirk, Viking Classic champ WHAT JUST HAPPENED ON THE PGA TOUR FINAL STANDINGS 1 CHRIS KIRK USA -22 $ 648,000 T2 TOM PERNICE JR USA -21 $ 316,800 T2 GEORGE MCNEILL USA -21 $ 316,800 T4 BUD CAULEY USA -20 $ 148,800 T4 HUNTER HAAS USA -20 $ 148,800 T4 JIM RENNER USA -20 $ 148,800 T7 TOMMY GAINEY USA -19 $ 116,100 T7 SUNGHOON KANG KOR -19 $ 116,100 T9 SHANE BERTSCH USA -18 $ 93,600 T9 PETER LONARD AUS -18 $ 93,600 T9 BLAKE ADAMS USA -18 $ 93,600 T9 D.J.TRAHAN USA -18 $ 93,600 WRAP THE