Fallon native will make his third PGA Tour appearance
Fallon’s Scott Smith will make his second consecutive appearance at the Reno-Tahoe Open after receiving an exemption from the tournament.
The RTO begins Aug. 2 at the Montrêux Golf & Country Club and Smith looks to improve upon his rough outing from a year ago. He is coming off an appearance at the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco in June.
Smith, the former Fallon and University of Nevada, Reno, golfer, has missed the cut at both PGA Tour events, although he won the Idaho Open before last year’s RTO.
The Fallon native said the RTO choose him as an exemption and said qualifying for the U.S. Open and being a former UNR standout helped his cause.
“It’s a great honor,” Smith said of the exemption. “It’s a huge opportunity for my career. They choose who they want to give it you. I think qualifying for the U.S. Open is a big reason why I got it.”
In 2011, Smith had one of the biggest galleries at the RTO as dozens of friends and family followed the Fallon golfer throughout his two rounds. He shot an 11-over par and tied for last with two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen.
After the RTO, Smith attempted to earn his PGA Tour card through Qualifying School and faltered in the first qualification stage in Texas. Smith, though, qualified for the first round after shooting a 3-under par at a pre-qualification tournament in Arizona.
This year, however, Smith will lean on his experience from 2011 in hopes of making the cut in his third Tour event.
“That experience last year, I’ll definitely be relying and drawing from that,” he added. “Last year I didn’t really know what to expect, and this I will. I’ll be drawing on that experience and hopefully that’ll help me out.”
In May, Smith tied for second at Genoa Lakes in the Bay Area with a 7-under par to qualify for the U.S. Open, which is regarded as the most difficult tournament in the world.
“I was walking up the 16th hole, the last two holes, with my brother Shane caddying and I was sitting at 5-under,” said Smith, in a previous interview about qualifying at Genoa. “I told myself I needed at least two more but wanted to shoot for birdie. The last hole was a par 5 and needed to make birdie. It was a little nerve racking and I ended up shooting for birdie.”
Smith, though, was humbled by the U.S. Open after he shot 19-over par and missed the cut.
Smith began the first round sitting in good shape after the first nine holes. He shot for par on five of the holes but settled for bogeys on the remainder. Smith was flirting in the top 60 but once he hit the No. 3 hole in the last stretch, he shot a double bogey and then bogeys on holes Nos. 4 and 6 to finish 8-over par.
Two double bogeys in the second round on the front nine put Smith 6-over par ending the evening at 11-over and capping off his two-day adventure at the Olympic Club.
“I was just trying to go out there and play the best that I can,” Smith said. “You kind of force things and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I think Tiger Woods said it best that there’s a fine line between shooting 68 or 69 to 78 or 79.”
Despite missing the cut, Smith was pleased to have his family and friends follow him as well as his younger brother, Shane, caddy again.
“It was good to get a lot of support. It meant a lot and it was cool to have everybody there,” Smith said.