Fallon golfer aims high for PGA opportunity

It’s no secret that Fallon produces professional-quality athletes.

For many decades, the Greenwave has turned in its fair share of individual and team championships but until recently, not many moved on to the next level for various reasons. Some didn’t want to pursue the part-time job of playing sports and instead focused on education. Academics, after all, is more important and will help you succeed when the playing career is over.

But for those who decided that college and professional sports was the route to pursue, it’s given more hope and opportunity for the current high school student-athletes, as well as the middle school and elementary boys and girls. Someone from a little town in Churchill County can make it big.

Fallon’s produced many college stars from Jennifer Hucke winning a national volleyball title with Stanford to Tanner Boone breaking the school marathon record this year at Great Falls (Montana). The green and white has made a well-known presence in the professional field.

Jade Corkill became one of the world’s best team ropers and now operates a team-roping school in Texas. Harvey Dahl played nearly a decade in the NFL before hanging it up a couple years ago, leaving Josh Mauga as the lone ex-Wave star playing on Sundays. Aarik Wilson won the U.S. Olympic Trials in the triple jump in 2008 to qualify for the Beijing Games. And Sean Sweeney will compete in the national CrossFit games later this month.

The latest name to make headlines is arguably the best high school golfer to hail from the Lahontan Valley.

Scott Smith is competing in his third Barracuda Championship at Montreux Golf & Country Club this weekend after he won the Reno Open in May. Smith qualified for the tournament in back-to-back years earlier this decade with 2012 being his best season. He made the cut four years ago and also qualified for the U.S. Open in San Francisco.

Since 2012, though, Smith has been off the radar, hitting a rough dry spell. But with the bad, he found good and it’s helped with his game.

“It’s been a tough two years,” Smith said. “That’s kind of caused me to be a more mature player. It’s tested my patience. I feel like I have a little more experience and that leads to be being more mature and playing smarter.”

Smith has rebounded this year, competing in Web.com Tour tournaments and qualifiers. But the 2006 Fallon grad, who led the Greenwave to its first state golf championship, is gearing for his biggest run yet. More is on the line in this year’s tournament in Reno. A large purse, an invitation to the British Open and a spot on the PGA Tour will be decided after Sunday.

“I’m excited for the week,” said Smith, who golfed the first round on Thursday and aims to make the cut after today’s round. “You never know what will happen out there. I’m feeling good about my game. I expect myself to play well. You just have to go out and let it happen.”

Smith’s dream has always been to compete on the PGA Tour. He won’t be alone, either, making the opportunity that much sweeter if he can break through.

His brother, Shane, will caddy and his family and friends will be at the premier golf course rooting for Fallon’s next Cinderella story after Mauga, Wilson and Dahl stole everyone’s hearts. Smith has the talent to compete with some of the best but he will need to be close to perfect this weekend. His predecessors proved that someone from Fallon can make it big and convert the dream into reality.

Thomas Ranson can be contacted at lvnsports@yahoo.com.

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