RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Byron Smith won the Rex Hospital Open on Sunday for his first Web.com Tour title, closing with a 5-under 66 for a four-stroke victory
The 33-year-old Smith finished at 16-under 268 at TPC Wakefield Plantation and earned $112,500 to jump from 66th to 10th on the money list with $139,061.
“This means everything. It’s a long time coming,” said the 33-year-old Smith, who was on the Pepperdine golf team for two years but never played in a tournament during days as a philosophy major. “They say golf is a game of mostly failures and I’ve had plenty of that. This is what makes it all worth it. It’s amazing. It’s the biggest moment in my golf career up to this point by far.”
Smith bogeyed the par-4 18th after birdieing Nos. 11, 12, 14 and 15 and parring Nos. 16-17. He shot a 63 on Saturday for a share of the third-round lead with Hunter Haas and Harold Varner III.
Varner finished with a 70 to tie for second with Australia’s Scott Gardner at 12 under. Gardner shot 69.
Smith was seven shots off the pace entering the weekend.
“I just wasn’t making anything,” Smith said. “I hit it amazing for four rounds and finally got the putter working on the weekend. I stayed patient and didn’t try to force anything. I just kept hitting quality iron shots and giving myself good looks. Thankfully a couple started to drop.”