RENO – Camped out in the shade above the 18th green on an early Friday evening sat a Fallon golfer still waiting for his big break.
This year seemed to be the most promising for Scott Smith, the 2006 Nevada state low medalist who helped guide the Greenwave to its first state title. After a four-year stretch since competing in the Barracuda Championship, Smith found himself in familiar territory, playing on a golf course he grew up watching this tournament.
Despite shooting respectable scores using the conventional scoring method, Smith’s four double-bogeys in the tournament’s Stablefold format proved to be too costly as he didn’t make the cut on Friday at Montreux Golf & Country Club. Smith scored as many as five points in Thursday’s opening round, only to see that evaporate to two before Friday’s round. Smith posted a -5 on Friday to end the two-day stretch with -3 points. The cut was 7.
“It’s always a learning experience. I’m still pretty disappointed, though,” Smith said. “I’ve been playing well. It’s kind of a disappointing week. I felt like I was playing OK. You just can’t make double-bogeys in this format and I made four in these two days.”
Smith shot 1-over par on the 72-par golf course on Thursday but he slipped on Friday, carding a 77. His four double-bogeys all came on different greens when Smith shot 2-over on the 12th and 14th, dropping his five-point round down to -1 on Thursday. The next day, Smith struggled with the third and 17th greens as double-bogeys counted as -3 points.
Smith said he struggled with getting into a rhythm and those four holes made it difficult.
“That’s just unlike me. I don’t make double-bogeys,” Smith said. “It was disappointing because they’re hard to come back from. I made two more doubles today and never really got anything going. I felt good coming in. I just really didn’t get anything going for the week.”
Smith, though, said his game needs to be sharper, especially on the drives in the fairway. Several times, it made it tough for Smith to get birdies, which counted as two points. Instead, he had to settle for par on 20 holes but bogeyed on five while making birdie on seven.
“I just got to get my tee ball and play a little bit better,” he said. “It’s nothing I don’t already know. I just got to get back to work and just keep working hard.”
Although Smith missed the cut, he found positives in several aspects of his game as well as the support. His putting was strong as was his following during the two days as about 30 gathered to watch Smith on Friday. Family, friends and a few ex-coaches watched Smith battled one of the PGA Tour’s toughest courses.
“It was great to get a bunch of support,” Smith said. “You know you have people rallying for you. It keeps you going. It keeps your head up. I can’t thank everyone enough. A bunch of people from Fallon and Reno. It was nice to have a hometown following.”
Another positive was having his brother, Shane, caddy for him once more. Shane Smith caddied for his brother in the Reno Open and U.S. Open sectional qualifier during the last couple months.
“We click pretty well together,’ Shane Smith said. “I’m really honored that he always asks me to help him out in situations like this. It’s always a ton of fun for me. I grew up watching this tournament and to help him out in the actual tournament, it’s a cool experience.”
Scott Smith felt confident with his brother on the course but wished he could have extended their time together another two days.
“It’s always nice having him on the bag. He helps me out a lot,” Scott Smith said. “I wish I could have played a little bit better for him. He knows my game really well and that’s probably most important. It’s always nice to have somebody right there that you can trust. I love him. I’m glad he was able to help me out this week.”
For their father, Jeff, it’s been a fun ride watch his two sons compete and work together.
“It couldn’t get any better to have them working together,” Jeff Smith said. “Scott trusts Shane and Shane knows Scott’s game. It’s good for both of them.”
Going forward, Scott Smith knows what needs to happen. A sharper game and frequenting the fairways more often could put the Fallon golfer over the hump.
“Tee to green, I was just flat out not sharp enough. I wasn’t sharp enough to compete in this tournament,” said Smith, who plans on competing in state opens, Web.com and PGA Tour Monday qualifiers this summer. “I’ve just got to drive it better. You just can’t play from the rough out there.”