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Blair Sinks Dramatic Eagle Putt then Claims Sand Hollow Open Trophy in Playoff
By Randy Dodson, Fairways Media
Maybe sooner than later, the Sand Hollow Open tournament administrators will stop asking PGA TOUR member Zac Blair if he’ll play in their annual championship. But for now, Head Pro Adam Jasperson and presenting sponsor Mark Leavitt are thrilled to hand the Utah product the champion’s check.
While Blair would rather be at East Lake Golf Club for the TOUR Championship today; capping off another win never gets old and he’s happy to give back to a golf course that had been part of his development as a player.
The par 5 17th hole on the Championship Course at Sand Hollow is a must-birdie hole in tournament competition, but it was a dramatic 50-foot eagle putt there that put Blair in the playoff.
“It was a good putt all the way. I didn’t know it was going in until about four feet out and that’s when I raised my putter and walked it in,” said the second year TOUR pro.
Blair’s final round 7-under 65 was jumpstarted by five birdies on his front nine card but one bogey kept him at 32 to open the final round. He added another birdie on the par 5 10th hole and then settled for pars until the eagle at 17.
“I had a good birdie chance on 18, it was a putt that was so similar to the putt I had at the Sony Open and I thought it was in but it died and lipped out in the end.” Not knowing what Knous was doing in the final pairing behind him, Blair was happy with par on 18 to finish at 14-under for the championship and waited to see the scoreboard.
Knous started the day at 8-under, just one shot off the 36-hole leaders Dusty Fielding and Zahkai Brown at 9-under. Like, Blair, he started his round with five birdies and a bogey. After two birdies in the first three holes of the back nine, the 26-year old pro from Denver could only manage pars on the rest of his back nine card, setting up the playoff at 14-under with Blair.
Second day leaders Brown and Fielding ran out of steam during the final round never getting much going and ending at over par on the day. Brown (-8) the current Utah Open champion finished in a tie for sixth place and Fielding (-5) tied for 20th place.
For Blair, a former Utah State Amateur champion, the next month’s schedule has him playing in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews and Kingsbarn with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith then heading to Napa, California for the start of the new PGA TOUR season at the Safeway Open played at Utah Golf Hall of Fame member Johnny Miller’s Silverado Country Club.
Many of the rest of the final round field will get ready for the upcoming Web.Com Tour Q-School tournaments held across the country in early October.
“It’s always good to win,” said Blair. “I’m happy with the way I played and happy to give back to the Utah Foster Care and the people and course who have supported me. That birdie putt on the playoff hole was center-cut and it felt great to make it.”
Sand Hollow Open Top 5 Purse
T1 Zac Blair (-14) 71-66-65 – 202* $18,000
T1 Jim Knous (-14) 66-70-66 – 202 $9,000
3 Kurt Katyama (-12) 69-68-67 – 204 $6,000
4 Nick Mason (-11) 67-71-67 – 205 $4,500
5 Trevor Simsby (-9) 69-70-68 – 204 $4,250
*Won sudden death playoff on the par 4 1st hole with a birdie.
Complete Sand Hollow Open final round leaderboard: http://tinyurl.com/hvsnkos
Photos: Fairways Media/Mike Stansfield