Archive for Saturday, July 24, 1999

KIESCHNICK WINS PRAIRIE OPEN

July 24, 1999

Advertisement

Brandt Kieschnick finished two strokes ahead of Greg Reid on Friday at Alvamar.

After Brandt Kieschnick finished the 17th hole with a two-shot lead in the Prairie Golf Tour Championship, last weekend's British Open collapse crossed his mind at least once between the green and the 18th tee box.

Kieschnick, a Huntsville, Texas, native who also plays on the Nike Tour, didn't play at Carnoustie, but he did watch Jean Van de Velde's final-hole breakdown on TV.

Seeing what can happen kept Kieschnick's cleats firmly on the ground as he held on to win the championship Friday at Alvamar.

"There's no doubt it was thought about after I got the lead," Kieschnick said after finishing 6-under-par. "But I tried to block it out quickly. What happened there (at Carnoustie) was a lesson for every golfer. You can't take advantage of any lead, no matter how big it is.

"But more important, you have to play smart and just concentrate and not try to let the pressure eat at you."

Kieschnick and Greg Reid (4-under-par) were tied heading to the par-5 No. 17 when Reid admittedly "gave Brandt some breathing room and made his job easier."

After Reid's tee shot sailed into the rough, he struggled to regain control, carding a bogey.

"I didn't feel like I hit a bad shot on that hole," Reid said. "But I got myself in a lot of trouble after my first shot sailed 10 feet farther left than I wanted."

In the meantime, Kieschnick, one of Reid's playing partners, calmly sank a 10-footer for birdie, giving himself a two-stroke lead heading to the final hole.

Kieschnick thought Van de Velde for a brief moment, but then quickly played like Paul Lawrie, the eventual British Open champ. After a straight drive to start No. 18, Kieschnick's second shot landed beautifully in the middle of the large green and he two-putted for the title and the $7,500 first-place prize.

The approach shot may have been Kieschnick's best of the day, considering the pressure and the steep ridge that sits in front of the 18th green. Many players left the ball short Friday, forced to hit a long putt or chip on for their next shot.

"It was a very good shot for me," Kieschnick said. "All I was thinking was, 'Get the ball on the green so I'm putting.' I wasn't aiming for the pin at all."

Kieschnick is not certain whether he will play in next week's Kansas Open. He already is registered, but he's considering a few Nike Tour tournaments instead. This week's tournament at Alvamar, sponsored by Body Balance for Performance, was Kieschnick's only outing on the Prairie Golf Tour.

"It was a fun three days," Kieschnick said. "This course has been very good for my game. I'd love to play here again."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.