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Reiber wins Miller Lite title in playoff

September 11, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Kevin Reiber missed a downhill, 8-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole - Black Rock's ninth - to keep a trio of golfers locked in battle.

When he had another opportunity from the same spot on the fourth playoff hole, he drained the birdie to secure the Miller Lite Championship title Sunday.

After a 340-yard drive that threatened the pond on No. 9, a 430-yard par 4, Reiber dropped a sand wedge near the pin - tucked in the deep back left of the green - and dropped the putt to defeat Steve Caron and Randy Barnes.

"I was surprised the drive went that far because I didn't hit it that well," said Reiber, a Waynesboro native and two-time WACO champion. "I hit a sand wedge and knew it was close. I learned a lot from missing the putt the first time."

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Reiber was lucky to have made the playoff, having finished at 1-under-par 143 along with Caron and Barnes.

Through the 12th hole, Reiber was three shots behind Barnes, who started the day at 3 under. Reiber birdied the par-4 13th, and two more birdies on par 5s - the 14th and 16th - helped him catch Barnes.

On the par-3 17th, Barnes had a two-putt par while Reiber bogied from the rough. But fortunes changed on the 18th, when Barnes bogied from the bunker and Reiber made a clutch par.

Meanwhile, Caron, of Waynesboro, managed to stay afloat despite a back-nine 38, using nifty shotmaking to get out of trouble after errant drives, and clutch putting, including a knee-knocker on the 18th when he needed to make a putt to save par and get into the playoff.

On the second extra hole - the first trip around No. 9 - Barnes had a chance to seal the outcome but left a downhill 10-footer short of the cup.

"I just couldn't get a read left or right," said Barnes, who was the low Washington County golfer. "I kind of just whiffed at it."

Caron made a nifty bunker save and Barnes did the same from the rough on the third playoff hole to keep things going before Reiber's decisive putt.

Reiber and Caron each started the day two strokes behind Barnes after shooting 71 on Saturday over the 6,757-yard Black Rock layout.

"I hit the ball well off the tee," said Reiber. "Through 27 holes I had four birdies and they were all two-putt birdies."

He credited a par save on the 11th hole as being the ignition switch down the stretch.

In the First Flight, Scott Henry shot 77-74-151 over the two days to take first place, four strokes ahead of his nearest competitors. In the Second Flight, Dave Crumbacher shot 87-79-166 to lead the pack by six strokes.

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