SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Each day at the Scottsdale AZ Open this week there seemed to be one player to get the hot hand – Nate Lashley was that guy on day one with a 62, Carson Roberts did it on day two with a 61, and Zach Smith had it going on day three, carding an 8-under 62 to earn his first professional victory at the Desert Financial Credit Union Scottsdale AZ Open Presented by United Rentals.
Smith, who graduated from UC Santa Barbara last year and moved to Mesa last summer, started the final round at 10-under par, three shots back of Roberts who vaulted into the second round lead after his impressive 9-under on Wednesday.
Smith fired the first shot carding birdies on the first two holes, gave one back with a bogey on the par-3 sixth, then added back-to-back birdies on 7 and 8 to make the turn at 13-under, just one shy of Roberts who could only manage one birdie on the front to get to 14-under.
Down one shot with nine holes to play, Smith kept his foot on the gas, making birdie on two of the first three holes to get to 15-under. Roberts also made birdie on 10, and after Smith’s birdie on 12 the two approached the 13th tee box all tied at 15-under.
The par-4 13th seemed to be where the tournament was decided. Smith made a clutch birdie, while Roberts faltered with a bogey that resulted in a 2-shot swing. Smith then birdied 14 and 16 to increase his lead to four shots. Roberts was able to get one back with a birdie at 17 to get to 15-under, but it was too little too late. Smith tapped in for par on 18 and earned the win and the $20,000 first place prize.
“It’s exciting, it’s my first professional win, and it’s awesome to have it come against such a competitive field of players,” Smith said. “I wasn’t sure how the week was going to unfold, but after my opening 63 I felt pretty confident and thought I could put myself in position to win.”
Smith was steady all week, his final round included 9 birdies and just one bogey, and he had only two bogeys over the 54 holes.
Roberts, who had such a hot hand in round two slowed down on Thursday, managing just three birdies and a bogey for his 2-under 68, but good enough to finish solo second.
Colt Knost made an early move, logging four birdies on the front nine to jump into the mix at 11-under, but played the back nine at even par to finish T3 at 13-under. Brady Calkins also finished T3 thanks to a bogey-free 64 that included birdies on the final two holes to jump into the Top-5.
Rounding out the leaderboard – Brandon Hopkins, Brad Hopfinger and Matthew Liringis finished T5 at 12-under; Mark Anguiano and Joel Dahmen finished T8 at 11-under; and Kevin Streelman, Dylan Wu and Andre Metzger finished T10 at 10-under par.
Dahmen, who started the day one back of the leader Roberts, struggled with a 1-over 71, while Streelman carded a solid 67 to jump into the Top-10. First-round leader Nate Lashley recorded a 1-under 69 to finish T16 at 8-under par.
“It was a great week, Zach really had it going today and they way he played on the back nine he looked unbeatable,” said Tournament Director Ryan Pray. “Congrats to Zach on earning his first profession win, and thanks to all of the players who came out to make this such a competitive field. Special thanks as well to our sponsors, especially Desert Financial Credit Union and United Rentals for helping us put on such a great tournament.”
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