Knoxville, Tenn. – Former Texas A&M University teammates Martin Piller (pictured by Getty Images) and Bronson Burgoon put on a show Sunday afternoon at the 25th playing of the News Sentinel Open presented by Pilot. Burgoon fired a 62, to tie the course record, that included a back nine 30 at Fox Den Country Club. Piller answered every birdie Burgoon made on the final nine, posting a 31 coming in, and carded a 63 for a 22-under par 262 two-stroke triumph. Piller captures his third victory on the Web.com Tour and the $99,000 first-place check vaults the Dallas, Texas resident up to No. 29 on the Regular Season money list.
“I don’t even know what to say right now,” he said. “It’s been a tough couple of years, but this is sweet.”
Two-time News Sentinel Open champion Darron Stiles (64) finished third, while Ryan Armour (65) and Vaughn Taylor (64) round out the top-five at fourth and fifth respectively.
Piller got off to a shaky start Sunday afternoon; the 28-year-old pro bogeyed his second hole of the day but quickly recovered the lost stroke when he chipped in on No. 4 for birdie. That was a significant hole because Piller’s short game was absent for the better part of two years. The former Aggie has been grinding around the greens working on his short game and was pumped to see that ball go in the hole.
“It was one of the best shots I’ve hit in a long time,” he said.
Piller added three more birdies on his front nine. The back nine is when all the fireworks started as Burgoon rattled off five birdies in a row before dropping a shot on No. 15. He then bounced back with two more birdies and when he two-putted the final hole for par, Burgoon was in the house at 20-under. Piller had no idea this was even going on as he was focused on his game plan throughout the round.
“I guess it does feel good, “he said. “I‘ve got to have an aggressive mindset, I can’t become complacent out there.”
There definitely was a sense of urgency from Piller when he reached that back nine. The former Web.com Tour graduate eagled No. 10 and added three more birdies coming in. It has been a long two years for Piller. During that time the five-year pro started to question his ability to compete on Tour. He worked diligently on his game and put in endless hours. The moment he put on his Tennessee orange blazer and held that trophy high, Piller realized how far he has come to return to form and play the game he loves at a high level again.
“Wow, I did it,” he said. “It was really awesome.”
Burgoon played fantastic on Sunday afternoon; the PGA Tour Latinoamerica alum posted his lowest round of the year on Sunday. The confidence gained from his performance in Knoxville will go a long ways as he gets prepared for The Finals.
“I’ve been playing good all week,” he said. “I’ve been hitting it close all week; I finally got some putts to fall. I’m thrilled, this gets me into the playoffs.”
* There was an hour deay as the threat of lightening entered the area around 3:30 p.m. ET.
* Martin Piller collects his third victory on Tour. Piller won twice in 2010 at the Stadion Classic at UGA and the Cox Classic and finished that year No. 8 on the money list.
* Last week, Piller entered the final round of the Price Cutter Charity Championship presented by Dr. Pepper in a three-way tie for the lead. He carded an even-par 72 on Sunday and finished T17.
* There have been 54 events between Piller’s last victory and his win in Knoxville.
* Piller ranked T6 in greens in regulation for the week hitting 59 of 72.
* Bronson Burgoon tied the course record at Fox Den CC on Sunday afternoon. Burgoon’ runner-up finish moves him to No. 36 on the money list.
* Burgoon’s round in detail: 12 of 14 fairways, 17 of 18 greens, 0 for 1 sand saves, 26 putts.
* Burgoon’s 62 on Sunday is a career-best.
* In 2012, Burgoon finished No. 7 on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica Order of Merit. Burgoon recorded six top-10 finishes including a T2 at the Lexus Peru Open.
“I wish that Tour was around when I first got out of school. It truly was a blessing. Not only did I get to see South America and experience different cultures, but as a golfer I grew exponentially. It prepares you for the next stage, which is here, and this prepares you for the same deal.”
* Darron Stiles put up a valiant effort in search of his third News Sentinel Open title.
* The third place finish is Stiles’ best performance on Tour since his win in Knoxville in 2012.
* Stiles jumps to No. 54 on the money list, well inside the number to qualify for The Finals.
* Ryan Armour can rest easy as his fourth place gives him enough money to lock up his PGA TOUR card. Armour made $26,400 and is now No. 19 with $177,816.
* Past Champions playing the weekend:
Hunter Haas (2004, 2006) – 67-66-70-74—277 (-7) T49
Darron Stiles (2002, 2012) – 72-65-65-64—266 (-18) 3
* Bogey-free rounds during the week:
R1 – Matt Fast (65), Cory Whitsett (66), Hunter Haas (67), Scott Harrington (67), Adam Crawford (67), Steve LeBrun (69), Brian Maurer (71)
R2 – Chas Narramore (64), Zac Blair (65), Camilo Benedetti (66), Hunter Haas (66), Peter Lonard (66), Aaron Watkins (66), Andres Echavarria (66), Wil Collins (67), Kelly Kraft (67), Sebastian Vazquez (68)
R3 – Cory Whitsett (64), Bronson Burgoon (64), Brett Stegmaier (64), Jason Gore (64), Casey Wittenberg (65), Darron Stiles (65), Sung Kang (66), Andres Echavarria (67), Jin Chung (68), Vaughn Taylor (68), Brett Lederer (69)
R4 – Sung Joon Park (64), Darron Stiles (64), Tyler Duncan (65), Mathew Goggin (66), Greg Owen (66), Steven Allan (67), Rob Oppenheim (67), Chris Wilson (67)
* Scoring Averages for the week:
Front (35) Back (36) Total (71)
R1 35.335 35.329 70.665
R2 34.791 35.098 69.889
R3 34.333 34.741 69.074
R4 34.358 34.840 69.198
TOT 34.358 34.840 69.198
* NEXT WEEK: The Web.com Tour heads west next week for the finale to the regular season. The inaugural WinCo Foods Portland Open presented by Kraft will be played at Witch Hollow at Pumpkin Ridge in North Plains, Ore. August 18-24.
Final Round Leaderboard
|Martin Piller||65-67-67-64—262 (-22)|
|Bronson Burgoon||70-68-64-62—264 (-20)|
|Darron Stiles||72-65-65-64—266 (-18)|
|Ryan Armour||69-70-63-65—267 (-17)|
|Vaughn Taylor||68-68-68-64—268 (-16)|