Fallon's Smith back in Barracuda Championship

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) Fallon's Scott Smith gets another shot at the Barracuda Championship this week. He's back in the tournament field for the first time since 2012.

"It's hard to believe it's been that long but I've just gained experience over the last four years and I feel like I'm a smarter and more mature player now," said Smith.

It's the fourth PGA Tour event of his professional career, and his third time playing in the local tournament. The first two times he was given a sponsor's exemption, but this time he earned it by winning the Reno Open, and it's automatic berth.

"I felt like I belonged before, but to earn your way in, it definitely feels good," admitted Smith.

He played really well his last time at Montreux, making the cut to play the weekend. He finished last with six points under the Modified Stableford System, the same scoring format used at the Reno Open this year.

"I think it frees you up a little bit, because the goal's just to make birdies. So, that's my mindset," added Smith. "You've got to play aggressively if you want to compete in this tournament."

The Nevada grad was a four-time WAC All-Academic selection with the Wolf Pack, and was named to the All-WAC team three times. He also earned two invitations to the NCAA Regionals. But he thinks he's playing the best golf of his career.

"Yeah I've been playing well. Right after the Reno Open, I just missed the (U.S.) Open by a shot. So it's definitely motivating. I know I'm playing well."

Smith's other PGA Tour event was the 2012 U.S. Open, one of the four majors on the Tour. But the Barracuda is special, and he'd like nothing more than to win his first tournament on his local course.

"You know, I've been coming up here since I was a kid, so you know, it'd be a dream come true," admitted Smith.

He won't be hard to find this week; likely one of the golfers with the loudest fan base.

"Yeah I hope so, I like when everybody comes out and supports me. I'm sure they'll be a bunch of people from Fallon coming out in support. It'll be fun."

The Barracuda Championship tees off on Thursday at Montreux Golf and Country Club.