Notes: Red-hot NeSmith enjoying string of success
Matt NeSmith continued his recent hot streak by winning the Rolex Tournament of Champions last week.
The victory at the Capital City Club in Alpharetta, Ga., was on the heels of a T-23 at the Northeast Amateur on June 23 and a win at the AJGA FootJoy Invitational on June 15.
Quite a run by the South Carolina signee.
“I had another good week,” said NeSmith, who finished at 9-under 271 to win the Rolex T of C by four shots. “It’s the best I’ve played in a while. It’s the best I’ve hit the ball, best I’ve scrambled. I didn’t hit great, but I put myself in good spots and fought my way around the course really well.”
He was the only player to break 70 in each of the first three rounds, shooting 68-67-66-70 to beat runner-up Brad Dalke of McKinney, Texas.
So with 10 days off, what does a golfer in the midst of this type of run do?
“Relax,” NeSmith said.
Wednesday was the first time NeSmith had touched a club since the final round at the Capital City Club.
“I spent a few days at the pool with my girlfriend,” NeSmith said. “Then [Tuesday] we went to Carowinds, which is a theme park near Charlotte.
“I’m having a lot of fun. Going to shoot some fireworks and go to downtown Augusta for Fourth of July. Just being a normal teenager.”
A normal teenager with an exceptionally good golf game – not to mention a spot in Sports Illustrated.
“That was pretty cool,” he said.
NeSmith, ranked third in the Golfweek/Sagarin Junior Rankings, leaves Tuesday for Bluffton, S.C., where he will play in The Players Amateur on July 9-15 at Berkeley Hall. The week after, he will play in the Wyndham Cup at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla., before competing in the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., in early August.
TWO IN A ROW: A week after winning the AJGA Music City Junior in Nashville, Tenn., Ben Reeves of Knoxville won the Hank Haney IJGA Junior Open at Bear Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Reeves carded rounds of 75-72-73 to finish at 4-over 220 – a stroke ahead of runner-up Ryan Carpenter.
“I didn’t even think I’d ever win one, first of all,” Reeves said. “Then to win two, then two in a row, I really don’t think I can say much. . . . Overall, it’s very special.”
The Tennessee-Martin signee also turned in a solid performance three weeks ago at the Southern Junior in Pinehurst, N.C., where he finished T-14.
So it’s safe to say he’s enjoying a nice little hot streak.
WINNERS: Brian Carlson ran away with the title at the Killington Junior in Killington, Vt., where he shot 68-69-68 at Green Mountain National to win by 11 strokes. He finished at 5-under 205 to claim his first AJGA title. . . . Varun Chopra shot 71-68-73 to finish at 4-under 212 and win by two strokes at the Junior All-Star at Penn State in State College, Pa. . . . Jacob Solomon won his first AJGA event, claiming the Junior All-Star at Gainey Ranch GC in Scottsdale, Ariz. He made 16 birdies to help finish at 12-under 204 with scores of 67-67-70 and win by seven shots.
A LOOK AHEAD: Five AJGA open tournaments will finish up Thursday, July 5. Among those are the Ravenwood Junior at Ravenwood GC in Victor, N.Y.; the Golf Pride Junior at Mid Pines Inn and GC in Southern Pines, N.C.; the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior at Bella Vista (Ark.) Village; and the Coca-Cola Junior at Boyne Highlands in Harbor Springs, Mich. The AJGA Junior Open at The Legends GC in Temecula, Calif., will also finish up a day after Independence Day. . . . The Texas Junior Tour will put on the TPC Four Seasons Invitational July 5-6. . . . The Callaway Junior World will take place July 7-13 at Torrey Pines in San Diego.