Nevada's Smits Wins State Amateur Championship

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Las Vegas – Nevada senior Nicholas Smits was shocked to learn that his final-round of 68 at the PGA TOUR-owned TPC Las Vegas was good enough for him to finish in a tie for the lead with Brandon Bauman after 54 holes of regulation play at the Nevada State Amateur. Smits won the tournament after making a par on the first playoff hole which was played on the 18th at TPC Las Vegas. Smits fired rounds of 72-73-68—213 en route to the victory. Smits began the final round eight shots behind fellow Northern Nevada resident Jordan Wright. Smits’ final-round 68 was the best round of the day.

“I was very surprised and excited when Tanner, the tournament director, told me that I was tied for the lead after I turned in my scorecard,” said Smits, who originally is from the Netherlands and also lived in Australia for seven years. “I really had no idea and believed maybe I might finish in the top five, but never thought I had a chance to win. It’s very special for me to win because I play for the University of Nevada, and it’s always an honor to win a state championship. The final round wasn’t pretty, but I knuckled down and grinded the entire day. My game has been on an upswing lately and winning this is a bonus.”

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The Nevada State Amateur dates back to 1953 and is jointly organized by the Northern Nevada Golf Association and Southern Nevada Golf Association. Previous champions include PGA TOUR players Edward Fryatt, Craig Barlow, Rich Barcelo and Scott Piercy. Barcelo, like Smits, played golf at the University of Nevada. The tournament host site is rotated annually between Northern and Southern Nevada golf courses. The official host organization of the 2014 tournament was the Southern Nevada Golf Association.

Bauman, who graduated from Las Vegas’ Palo Verde High School earlier this year and will play golf at the University California, Santa Barbara, fired rounds of 71-68-74—213 to secure a spot in the playoff, but missed a par putt on the 18th hole in regulation that would have given him the win.

“The final round was probably the worst ball striking round I’ve had in a long time, and I really had to scrape it around to shoot a 74,” said Bauman. “The main thing I will take away from this tournament is to never count myself out. Several times I really thought I had let it slip away, but then I realized I still had a shot to win. In the future I will stay more positive and patient.”

Las Vegas Golf Hall of Famer Brady Exber, the winner of the Nevada State Amateur in 1991 and 2008, was in the lead most of the back nine during the final round, but made bogeys on two of the final three holes to finish one shot out of the playoff. Exber tied for third place with Wright who was the leader after both the first and second rounds. Exber fired rounds of 71-72-71—214 while Wright recorded rounds of 67-70-77—214.

“It is hard not to be compelled by a player coming back from eight shots on the last day to win,” said Tanner Brown, Director of Competitions, Southern Nevada Golf Association. “During the back nine today, we had about 7-9 players that could have won the championship. That made for a fun event and an extremely exciting last day. The TPC Las Vegas was a great course for our championship and General Manager Dan Hammell and his staff were terrific and the course was perfect.”

TPC Las Vegas is a previous host of events on both the PGA TOUR and Champions PGA TOUR. Former champions of professional events played at TPC Las Vegas include Hale Irwin, Jim Furyk, Jim Colbert and Stuart Appleby among others. Several current PGA TOUR pros play and practice at the course when not playing in PGA TOUR tournaments.

About the Southern Nevada Golf Association The Southern Nevada Golf Association (SNGA) is a not-for-profit organization founded to represent, promote and serve the best interests of golf in the state of Nevada. The organization is the official representative of the United States Golf Association in Southern Nevada. The SNGA is made up of more than 10,000 members who have established a Handicap through one of the SNGA member clubs. The SNGA operates more than 20 championship-level and handicap tournaments annually. For more information, visit