Atwal falters on last day, ends ninth on Nationwide

June 23rd, 2008 - 11:18 am ICT by IANS  

Knoxville (Tennessee), June 23 (IANS) After three days of superb golf, Arjun Atwal faltered in the final with just a one-under 71 that saw him slip from a shared lead on the first day to just a tied ninth place at the end of the Knoxville Open. Former Asian Tour No.1 and winner of the Malaysian Open this season, Atwal was looking to a win or at least a top five to strengthen his chances of a quick return to the PGA Tour, but a shaky start with a double bogey on second and a bogey on the closing hole Sunday spoilt those chances.

Atwal, with his winnings of $12,500 for the ninth place, now has $123,618 and stays in the 18th place on the Money List, which is where he started the week.

Meanwhile, Australian Jarrod Lyle, a former Asian Tour player, beat Chris Kirk with a birdie at the first playoff hole to claim the title. It was his second title of the season after both players finished at 19-under-par 269.

It was Atwal’s fourth top-10 finish in nine starts on the Nationwide Tour, with the best being tie second in the first event at Panama Movistar Championships. He has made the cut in seven of the nine starts with tied 25th being the worst finish.

Atwal had a double on second, but seemed to have found his rhythm with three birdies in next four holes. He birdied the third, fifth and sixth but gave away a shot on eighth to turn in even par. He birdied the 10th and 15th, before the disappointing bogey on 18th.

Lyle, who won the Mexico Open earlier this year, shot 66-67-67-69, and the $90,000 check jumped him to first on the money list with $281,939. Lyle also became the first multiple winner of Nationwide this year after 15 tournaments.

D.J. Brigman birdied the last hole to tie for third with Kyle Reifers, two shots back at 17 under.

Lyle was cruising to his second victory of the year until Kirk birdied the final hole to post 19 under. Lyle, in the final group directly behind Kirk, answered with a par and a final-round 69, to send it to a playoff.

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