Story by C. ANTHONY MOSSER / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News
PLANO, TX (October 28, 2006)--Lelan Chiles proved the master of the back nine at Prestonwood Country Club's The Hills course, winning the Dallas Morning News Tournament of Champions on Saturday.
In the third and final round, Chiles, the club pro at Granbury's DeCordova Bend, needed a solid back nine to win. He got it, shooting a 4-under 32 to finish the day at 2-under 70 and the tournament at 5-under 211.
He finished the day as he started it, two strokes ahead of Oak Cliff Country Club's Greg Boots, who finished at 213 after his round of 70. Early on it looked as if Boots might win his second straight Tournament of Champions title.
Early putting problems by Chiles and Boots' birdies on three of the first five holes gave Boots the lead. He had a three-stroke advantage at the turn and was still two strokes ahead and 5 under for the day through 13 holes.
But Chiles, who began the back nine by draining a 30-foot putt for birdie on the par-4 10th hole, added birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. Boots had consecutive bogeys on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. The five strokes Chiles gained proved the difference.
"I just kept my energy and focus level up and never got in too much trouble," Chiles said.
Chiles shot 66 in Thursday's opening round and 75 on Friday. He had back-nine rounds of 31, 35 and 32, respectively.
"It just worked out that way all three days," Chiles said. "The greens were so smooth that you knew if you could keep your putt on line, you could make it."
Boots, who has finished no lower than second in each of the last five Tournament of Champions events, was trying to become the first three-time winner of the event. Boots won the tournament in 2003 and 2005.
"I just couldn't keep it up," said Boots, who golfed at SMU (1987-1991). "That's what amateurs do sometimes, and Lelan played great, especially down the stretch."
Briefly: Chiles, a 50-year-old native of Odessa who golfed at Arkansas in the late 1970s, has been having quite a year on the area tournament circuit. Earlier this year he won the Fort Worth Mid-Amateur and Fort Worth Seniors tournaments. ... No golfer shot par (72) or lower for all three days of the event. Chiles and Boots (70-73-70) were among eight golfers who shot par or lower on two of the three days. The others were Prairie Lakes' Jimmy Conway (72 on Thursday and Friday), Brookhollow's Stephen Summers, Trophy Club's Jorge Rubio, Keeton Park's Larry Trowell, Royal Oaks' Chuck Palmer (all 72 on Thursday, 71 on Saturday) and Grapevine Municipal's Shawn Devan (71 on Thursday and 68 on Saturday). ... Las Colinas' Steve Love also shot 68 on Saturday for the low round of the day. Love finished third at 217. ... Bob Neal, a two-time winner of the event, finished tied for fifth with Palmer at 219. ... Summers finished fourth at 218. ... The top 12 finishers receive exemptions for next year's event.
C. Anthony Mosser is a freelance writer based in Plano.
Final results from the Dallas Morning News Tournament of Champions, played at Prestonwood Country Club in Plano, TX, Oct. 26-28, 2006:
Lelan Chiles, DeCordova Bend, 66-75-70–211
Greg Boots, Oak Cliff, 70-73-70–213
Steve Love, Las Colinas, 75-74-68–217
Shawn Devan, Grapevine Municipal, 71-79-68–218
Stephen Summers, Brook Hollow, 72-75-71–218
Chuck Palmer, Royal Oaks, 72-76-71–219
Bob Neal, Tierra Verde, 70-75-74–219
Joe Curtis, Plantation, 76-71-73–220
Jorge Rubio, Trophy Club, 72-77-71–220
Fred Willms, Hackberry Creek, 68-76-76–220
Larry Trowell, Keeton Park, 72-78-71–221
Clay Price, Hurricane Creek, 73-74-74–221
Phil Walters, Oakridge, 74-75-72–221
Bill Grozdanich, Bear Creek, 71-77-75–223
Mark Witt, Timarron, 76-75-72–223
Lance Dunaway, Riverchase, 74-80-69–223
Jack Medick, Las Colinas, 75-76-73–224
Ralph Hamm III, Columbian, 70-80-74–224
Jim Law, Prestonwood, 74-76-74–224
Jimmy Conway, Prairie Lakes, 72-72-80–224
Bart Goodwin, Hackberry Creek, 74-77-74–225
Jim Neumann, Stonebriar, 75-78-73–226
Scott Wagoner, Eastern Hills, 71-80-75–226
Todd Bonneau, Brookhaven, 77-74-75–226
John Westfall, Holly Lake Ranch, 74-78-75–227
Fred Turner, Ridgeview Ranch, 74-74-79–227
Phil Austin, Iron Horse, 70-84-76–230
Ken Coutant, Dallas Public Links, 78-77-75–230
Jeff Seibert, Dallas Athletic Club, 77-78-76–231
Alan Magill, Lake Park, 77-78-77–232
Jim Quinn, Meadowbrook FW, 85-72-75–232
Ron Grunwald, Pecan Hollow, 82-73-79–234
Randy DeMuth, Westridge, 80-78-77–235
Andy Kampen, Stonebridge, 76-85-74–235
Barry Parker, LB Houston, 77-82-77–236
Dennis Brown, Sunset GC, 79-83-76–238
Robert Jacks, Willow Springs, 85-75-78–238
Win Bruning, Stevens Park, 78-82-78–238
Carlton Smith, Twin Creeks, 75-87-76–238
Jason Morris, Thorntree, 77-84-77–238
Tom Abercrombie, Woodbridge, 81-83-77–241
Don Byrd, Robson Ranch, 78-85-79–242
Michael Symons, Sherrill Park, 77-85-80–242
John Burroughs, Rolling Hills, 84-80-80–244
Casey Brown, Cedar Creek, 80-85-80–245
Mark Greene, Grand Oaks, 82-89-81–252
Jim Parrish, Indian Creek, 94-83-77–254
Mike Rosier, Coyote Ridge, 91-84-81–256
Scott Johnson, Waterview, 83-87-86–256
Mike Jones, Oak Brickyard, 91-94-84–269
Joe McMillan, Waxahachie, 78-79–WD
Kevin Somers, Eldorado, 70-87–WD
Rex Misak, Meadowbrook FW, 80-88-WD