- PBCGA photo
rode a course record-setting 9-under 63 to the winner’s circle of the Palm Beach Kennel Club County Amateur, which wrapped up play on Monday at BallenIsles Country Club in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
His record-setting performance in the second round gave Smith a three-shot lead heading into Monday’s final round and a closing 71left him at 10-under 206 for the 54-hole event, good for a five-stroke victory over Casey Matthews of West Palm Beach, Fla.
“It’s a very meaningful victory, the biggest one I’ve ever had,” said Smith, owner of an insurance company and the membership director at Mayacoo Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach. “I always thought this would be a cool tournament to win,” Smith said. “I don’t know if there’s anything else like it in the country. It’s hard to win.”
Pat Dewey of Jupiter, Fla. held the previous course record of 64, which stood for an entire hour until Smith signed for a 63 shortly after Dewey finished.
“It was all about getting the putter working in the 63,” Smith said. “This course is a lot like Mayacoo – you’re better off in the fairway than you are hitting it long.”
Matthews shot 73 and finished at 211, a stroke ahead of Justin Goodhue
(71-212) of Palm Beach Gardens. Tyler Stachunas (74-213) of Lake Worth was fourth and Thomas Christensen III (68-214) of Coral Springs was fifth.
Smith took up the game seriously at the age of 15 when he stood 5-foot-3 and weighed 189 pounds. After dropping 40 pounds and growing seven inches over the next three years, Smith’s game improved to the point where he competed professionally for seven years (2010-17) and ultimately qualifying the Korn Ferry Tour. He regained his amateur status at the beginning of this year.
The County Amateur’s first two rounds were held at BallenIsles – home of the 1971 PGA Championship – and the Club at Ibis’ Tradition Course, with 62 players who made the cut at 9-over 153 advancing to the final round at BallenIsles.
“It’s great to give back to Palm Beach County amateur golf,” said Jeff Fitzherbert, BallenIsles’ director of golf. “This event has such a rich history. We were honored when they asked us to host the tournament on the new Rees Jones design.”
The Palm Beach Kennel Club County Amateur has been won by major champion Mark Calcavecchia (1979) and fellow PGA Tour members Steve Hart (1981) and Gary Nicklaus (2008) after he regained his amateur status.
The Palm Beach Post contributed to this report
View results for Palm Beach County Amateur
ABOUT THE Palm Beach County Amateur
54-hole Individual Stroke Play Championship with a
single Open division; the field will be cut to the low
+ ties after the second round.
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