Reno-Tahoe Open: Putting hinders Fallon's Scott Smith

RENO - The old saying goes, drive for show and putt for dough.

Fallon native Scott Smith's putting, though, prevented a breakout performance in a roller-coaster ride during Thursday's first round of the Reno-Tahoe Open at Montreux Golf & Country Club.

A tweak in his putting, and Smith is still a threat to make his first PGA Tour cut. He tees off for today's second round at 8:50 a.m.

"It's frustrating," Smith said. "I played a lot better than my score indicated. I had a bunch of opportunities on the back nine."

The former Churchill County and University of Nevada, Reno, standout carded three birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey to stay within striking distance of the field.

He finished with 0 points, 14 off the lead held by Andres Romero. The newly adopted Modified Stableford scoring system gives Smith an opportunity to stay in the hunt.

Golfers receive eight points for a double eagle; five for an eagle; two for birdie; zero for par; minus one for bogey; and minus three for double-bogey or lower.

Smith, though, left at least four birdies on the table after near misses within 10 feet.

He was consistent from the start, with pars and a birdie through the first six holes. Bogeys came on holes Nos. 7 and 9 before Smith climbed back up the hill for birdie on No. 10.

Smith, though, nearly birdie the 156-yard, par-3 No. 11 after his tee shot landed 8-feet from the pin. The ensuing putt, however, missed leaving Smith frustrated.

"It's a little different, this format," he added. "It sounds funny, but it's a lot worse to miss a short putt for birdie than a short putt for par."

Then came an avalanche of misfortune. Smith double-bogeyed No. 12 after he three-putted, and bogeyed No. 13 after his tee shot landed out of bounds, which requires a one-stroke penalty.

But the climb back up to the top of the ride was sweet for Smith. He birdie No. 14 after his tee shot cleared the green and landed in the rough. His chip, though, nestled up to the hole, leaving Smith with a 6-foot birdie putt, and this time he converted.

Another bump on the ride came on No. 15. Smith's approach shot cuddled up 7 feet from the hole, but he two-putted for par. His putter again came up short on the par-3, 228-yard 16th after his tee shot landed about 9 feet from the pin and settled for par. He capped the round with a short birdie miss on No. 18.

"I turned a potentially plus eight or plus 10 into an even day," Smith said. "I'm a little behind the eight ball, but I have to put it behind me and play well (this) morning."


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