A mini-tour field filled with PGA Tour veterans couldn’t keep pace with longshot Zach Smith.
The Scottsdale AZ Open didn’t go to one of the regular Tour contenders in the mix, but instead to an unheralded 24-year-old who left the field in his wake. Smith shot a final-round 62 at Talking Stick Golf Club to win by three shots with a 54-hole score of 18 under.
“I just trusted my game. I’ve been working hard leading up to this,” Smith told Monday Q Info. “I was listening to a podcast on the way up here, and actually, the guy said, ‘Pressure is a privilege.’ And I took that to heart, and just trusted it and let it go.”
Smith graduated last year from UC-Santa Barbara, qualifying for the NCAA tournament as an individual in his senior year, but he has yet to make an impact since turning pro and began the week as a 500/1 longshot according to the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. But those odds didn’t faze him as he raced past a number of notables to capture the $20,000 top prize.
Smith started the final round three shots off the lead, but he moved to the top of the standings with a run of six birdies in eight holes from Nos. 7-14.
Colt Knost, who retired from PGA Tour competition after this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, made $6,860 for a T-3 finish after shooting three straight rounds of 66 or better. Knost birdied four of his first seven holes to get within a shot of the lead, but couldn’t close the gap from there.
Pre-tournament favorite Joel Dahmen, who won this event in 2017, began the day in second place but faded to a T-8 finish after a closing 71. Kevin Streelman tied for 10th at 10 under, while fellow Tour winner Nate Lashley finished T-16.
Former Mackenzie Tour member Carson Roberts, who began the final round with a one-shot lead, made $11,200 for finishing alone in second place. The independent tournament offered a $125,000 purse that was split among the top 50 players and ties who made it past the 36-hole cut.