SAN ANTONIO -- Eric Axley succumbed to the urge to win his
first PGA Tour event with pizazz. But after a late double bogey, he
got back to the original game plan and won the Texas Open by three
Axley, a left-hander living in Knoxville, Tenn., closed with a
He led by four shots to start the day, and built a six-shot lead
heading into the back nine. But the double bogey on 14 after he
drove into the trees cut it briefly to two. It's a 543-yard, par 5
reachable in two shots with a driver off the tee.
"I didn't stick to my game plan. I got aggressive, and I paid
for it," Axley said. "It was just a bad decision. It wasn't a
driver hole for me today. I just wanted to play one shot at a time
and keep it in the fairway."
The 32-year-old Axley had a stretch of 53 consecutive holes
without a bogey or worse on the par-70 Resort Course at LaCantera
Golf Club. The string ended on the 14th and he went on to finish at
After a bogey on No. 17, Axley landed a 143-yard approach shot 4
feet away at No. 18. He sank the birdie putt and got an
enthusiastic hug from wife Cortney.
"It's hard to win on any tour," Axley said. "I know a lot of
this hasn't hit me yet. But, yeah, it's cool."
Three players finished at 12 under, including 21-year-old
Anthony Kim. Playing in his first PGA Tour event with a sponsor's
exemption, Kim shot a 65 to tie for second with Wilson (69) and
first-round co-leader Justin Rose (68).
From La Quinta, Calif., Kim skipped his senior year at Oklahoma
and played in two events on the Nationwide Tour with a best finish
"I've never been that great at school, to be honest," Kim
said. "But I felt like my game was ready. I feel if I play well I
can play with anybody."
Axley earned $720,000 to push his season total to $924,029.
Kim earned $298,666 and has an exemption into the PGA Tour's
Southern Farm Bureau Classic this week in Madison, Miss.
After winning on the Nationwide Tour last year, Axley's best
finishes this year had been a pair of 24th-place ties in Tucson and
the B.C. Open.
Axley built an imposing lead on his fourth hole of the day. He
went to the No. 4 tee with a three-shot lead and left the green
with a six-shot margin.
He found his first fairway of the day with a tee shot to the
left side of the 434-yard hole. He landed his approach on the green
and was left with a 27-foot putt.
He waited while his closest competitor, Frank Lickliter II,
blasted from a green-side bunker. But Lickliter hit to a part of
the green that sloped back to the fairway, and his ball rolled at
least 20 feet off the putting surface.
He double-bogeyed, and Axley made his 27-footer for a birdie and
a commanding six-shot advantage.
"It was a shock to me what happened to Frank," Axley said,
"and I hit what I thought was my best putt of the week."
If Lickliter's troubles weren't enough, Ted Purdy was in the
same group and was four behind Axley starting the fourth hole. But
he sent his tee shot into an unplayable lie on the way to a
Chris Riley, a member of the U.S. team at the 2004 Ryder Cup,
pulled within four shots after an 8-foot birdie putt at the fifth.
But Riley pulled his approach shot on the 370-yard eighth hole
about 80 feet off the green, and it took him five shots to get in
the hole for a triple bogey.