Reifers Triumphs in Professional Debut


Nationwide TourChattanooga, Tenn. -- Kyle Reifers, a recent graduate from Wake Forest University, made his professional debut a memorable one.
First, he established a new course record Sunday at Black Creek Club with an 11-under-par 61. Then, he defeated Brandt Snedeker on the first playoff hole to win the Chattanooga Classic.
The pair returned to the par-5 18th hole at Black Creek and both found the fairway off the tee. Then they both landed in a bunker on the left side with their second shots and each blasted out to close to 20 feet, then had to wait over an hour for a lightning storm to pass.
'A lot of things go through your head at that point,' said Reifers. 'I tried not to think about too much. It was a bizarre situation to have to stop. It was always in my mind that I was going to have to make mine to keep things going. Brandt's a great putter and you always have to expect that he's going to make it.'
When they returned, Snedeker's 20-footer missed on the left side. Reifers, from a few feet closer, drained his birdie try to walk off with the championship.
With the victory, Reifers earned full status on the Nationwide Tour for the remainder of the 2006 season and all of next year.
'None of this has hit me yet,' he said. 'The first thing is you come out here and don't have status and you want to finish in the top-25 so you can play next week. In my mind I was thinking that I have just as good a chance as anyone else in the field to win.'
Reifers, who pocketed $85,500 for the win, became the 11th player to win his first start on the Nationwide Tour and the 19th player in Tour history to win as a Monday qualifier.
Snedeker eagled the 72nd hole to get into the playoff. He shot a 6-under 66 to join Reifers at 26-under-par 262, which obliterated the former tournament record by three.
Third-round leader Boo Weekley could not get up and down for birdie from behind the green at 18 that would have put him in the playoff. He carded a 3-under 69 and tied for third with Andrew Buckle, who posted a 7-under 65 on Sunday. The pair finished at 25-under-par 263.
Scott Ford (66), Charlie Wi (67) and Brad Adamonis (67) tied for fifth at minus-22.
Anthony Painter (66), Hunter Haas (66), Tim O'Neal (70) and Garrett Willis (71) shared eighth place at 20-under-par 268.
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