Kirk wins Lonard 9th at Viking Classic
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2011 Viking Classic | Wrap | 18 Jul 2011
In what developed into a real shootout over the closing stages of the Viking Classic in Madison in Mississippi, Chris Kirk has won his first PGA Tour title by holding off Tom Pernice Jr and George McNeil by one shot.
Neither McNeil nor Pernice was able to birdie the par five last allowing Kirk, who was playing in the final pairing of the day, to play the last with a one shot lead. He was able to two putt from 8 feet at the final hole and still win by one.
The victory in Kirk’s rookie PGA Tour season follows the 26 year old’s great Nationwide Tour season in 2010 and he seems assured of becoming a significant PGA Tour player in the future. He had already guaranteed himself status on the PGA Tour in 2012 with good tournaments earlier this season but this provides further security of tenure.
Australia’s Peter Lonard nearly made it a fairytale week, taking the lead at various stages through the final round before a costly double bogey at the 16th today put paid to his chances of winning the first PGA Tour event he had played in more than eighteen months.
Lonard had an outstanding week on the greens after having been the recipient of a late call up to the event. He started slowly on the final day before working his way back into a share of the lead but a pushed second shot at the dangerous 16th cost him a penalty shot then a double bogey.
He was able to salvage a good and important par at the last, as, by finishing inside the top ten this week, he is eligible to play next week’s Canadian Open should he so choose. It was a disappointing finish to an otherwise encouraging week for the Sydneysider who turned 44 today, now beginning to show the form he displayed before his injury and surgery woes.
Steve Bowditch produced a brilliant final round of 62 to finish 18th while pre tournament favourite John Senden was the next best of the Australians in 27th position.
The PGA Tour will now play the Canadian Open in Vancouver.
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