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In Carolinian Am win, Smith relishes head-to-head battle
Fulton Smith (CGA photo)
Fulton Smith (CGA photo)

After a day of ups and downs and several lead changes, Fulton Smith of Pinehurst, N.C,. came out on top at the Carolinian Amateur after shooting a 1-over 73 at Keith Hills Golf Club in Buies Creek, N.C.. It was enough for a one-shot win.

“I went in with the same game plan today,” Smith said. “Towards the middle of the round it turned into a match play tournament with me and Brett. It was really one vs. one. We were both playing really well in the beginning but it got sloppy towards the end. I was just trying to pick my spots. I thought I played okay today. I could have hit some better shots here or there but overall pretty satisfied.”

Smith started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead with Brett McLamb of Coats, N.C., and Mark Olbrych of Columbia, S.C. A birdie on the par-3 third gave Fulton the early lead but it didn’t last long.

On the very next hole, McLamb took his first lead of the championship when he was able to make a birdie on the par-4 fourth and Smith bogeyed.

That birdie was the first of three in a row for McLamb. He took a three-shot lead into the back nine but a double bogey on No. 10 led to a three-shot swing when Smith was able to make a long putt for birdie.

“It was a big birdie on ten,” Smith said. “That was a big momentum boost. Then [Brett] bounced back and I knew he would. We kind of went back and forth and I guess I was lucky enough to come out on top at the end but it was a lot of fun today.”

There was another lead change on No. 13 when McLamb birdied and Smith bogeyed.

McLamb started No. 16 with a two-shot lead but found trouble to the right. He finished the hole with a triple bogey and a one-shot deficit. Smith gave one back on No. 17, and the players came into the final hole tied at the top.

Both McLamb and Smith were going for the par-5 18th green in two but neither as able to reach it. A par by Smith was good enough to capture the win. Smith finished the championship with a 7-under 209 total.

Sam Echikson of Charlotte, N.C., finished in a tie for second with McLamb at 6 under.

Defending champion Harry Reynolds of Greenville, S.C., finished solo fourth at 5-under 211.

Brady Hinkle of Lancaster, S.C., had the low round of the day at 6-under 66. He finished fifth with a 4-under 212 total for the championship.

This is Smith’s third CGA championship win with victories at 2016 and 2017 Dogwood State Junior Boys’ Championship.

ABOUT THE Carolinian Amateur

The tournament format is 54-holes of stroke play for male amateur golfers ages 16 and older who have a USGA handicap index of 7.4 or lower at a CGA member club. The field will be reduced to the low 70 and ties after 36-holes. The champion will receive an exemption into the Carolinas Amateur.

View Complete Tournament Information

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