SUNDAY, JULY 17, 2011
Russell Knox wins Nationwide Tour’s Chiquita Classic
The amazing run by Russell Knox on the Nationwide Tour in 2011 continues as the former JU star won the Chiquita Classic on Sunday for his first victory on the circuit.
Knox ran away with the title, carding a six-under par 66 in the final round to win by three shots over Billy Hurley, III – finishing the event at 25-under par.
Sitting at 10-under par after two rounds, Knox made the most of moving day on Saturday – carding a nine-under par 63 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.
After two pars to open the round, Knox got on a roll to put the title away early. Back-to-back birdies at Nos. 3 and 4 got him going, but a bogey at the 5th moved him back to 20-under par.
He went right back to work, running off three straight birdies at Nos. 6 through 8 to get to 23-under par heading to the back nine.
From there it was a walk in the park for the former JU star.
He was two-under par on the back nine, building a five-shot lead after a birdie at the 15th and finished with three straight pars to take the title.
Knox’s Nationwide Tour season began by Monday qualifying for the Fresh Express Classic at TPC Stonebrae in early April. He took advantage of his opportunity there, tying for second place in the weather-shortened event and earned status on the Tour the rest of the season.
With the ability to play in all the Nationwide Tour events secured, Knox’s best finish was a tie for 18th at Stadion Classic at UGA in May.
He entered the 27th on the Nationwide Tour money list and moved up to fifth on the list after the $99,000 pay day, having earned $169,974 thus far this season.
His play thus far has him close to earning playing privileges on the PGA Tour next season. The top 25 on the Nationwide Tour earn a PGA Tour card. Last year, the 25th spot on the Nationwide Tour made $220,277 – so Knox still has some work to do the rest of the season to clinch a spot on the biggest stage in golf for next season.
A native of Scotland, Knox led JU to the Atlantic Sun Conference title in 2006 and made back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in 2006 and 2007. After his stellar college career, he dominated the NGA Hooters Tour until making the jump to the Nationwide Tour earlier this year.