Johnson edges Iles in Knoxville playoff

Kevin Johnson has birdied the second extra hole of a playoff against New Zealander Bradley Iles to win his second event of the season and assure himself a trip to the PGA Tour in 2010.

Following his win at the Rex Hospital Open two weeks ago, this victory has secured the 42-year-old a place inside the top 25 on the Nationwide Tour at year's end and therefore PGA Tour status.

Like his fellow multiple winner in 2009, Michael Sim, however, Johnson will be thinking of the possibility of another win and the immediate graduation to the PGA Tour such would give him.

Five years ago Iles lay in a hospital in a deep coma, the possibility of him ever playing again the most distant thing from the minds of his family who had flown to the US from New Zealand fearing the worst. Iles had fallen from the back of a golf cart while skylarking with friends after a US amateur event in the Carolinas and it would take the then 20-year-old nearly a year to be back playing.

He fought his way back and on turning professional at the end of 2005 he made an immediate impact with good finishes at the Australian PGA and MasterCard Masters. He has continued to build on his significant talent and despite having only limited Nationwide Tour status in 2009 he has now done enough to assure himself of starts for the rest of the year.

Iles produced a stunning final round of 63 to catch the leaders at that point, Kevin Johnson and David McKenzie, before McKenzie fell out of a share of the lead with an agonising bogey at the par five last.

Both Johnson and Iles would birdie the first extra hole before Johnson was able to birdie the second extra hole and take the title.

McKenzie led into the final round but was brought undone by a double bogey at his 5th hole and eventually finished in a share of third with Blake Adams.

Cameron Percy was the next best of the Australasians in a share of 11th place. Paul Gow was 34th, Andre Stolz 40th, Mark Hensby 58th and Steve Bowditch 63rd.

The Nationwide Tour surprisingly plays an event opposite the US Open this coming week when they move to Arkansas for the Fort Smith Classic.

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