Harvey wins second consecutive Nevada Amateur State Championship with final round 66
DAYTON – Saving pars, making a few birdies, holing the occasional eagle.
In other words, another typical round for Billy Harvey and more bad news for Harvey’s chasers. His closest, Mark Gilmartin, started the final round five shots back at 5-under par.
But after an early push, Gilmartin succumbed and eventually faded, just like the rest of the field as they could only marvel at the former Bonanza High star win his second-straight Nevada State Amateur Championship on Thursday at Dayton Valley Country Club.
“He just looks so natural when you watch him,” said Carson’s Jeff Duncan of Harvey. “He makes the game look effortless. I soon realized after playing with him, that I was playing with a guy that was at a whole different level than I was.”
Harvey effortlessly shot his way to a final round 6-under 66 on Thursday, a tournament best for the 22-year old, who just completed an illustrious career at Brigham Young University.
“I could’ve hit my driver a lot more times and had some more birdies,” said Harvey, who also won Monday’s U.S. Amateur Qualifying event at Dayton Valley C.C. “But I just got this 1-iron and I can hit it straight and long. Every tee shot goes 270 yards right down the middle. And this course rewards you for long, straight tee shots, especially on the par 5s.”
Gilmartin, Brady Exber, and Duncan, who all finished immediately behind Harvey in the final standings, probably all wished he never bought that 1-iron.
On Thursday, Gilmartin birdied the first two holes to get within three strokes of the lead, only to see Harvey eagle No. 3. Then another Gilmartin birdie was negated by another Harvey eagle. This time on No. 8, which extended Harvey’s lead to six shots over Gilmartin.
“Gilmartin started out really fast, so the eagle on No. 3 really got me going,” Harvey said. “But my other eagle on No. 8 kind of evened things out, but it was also kind of a dagger (for Gilmartin).”
Gilmartin finished with a final-round 70 and a three-day total of 209 and nine shots back of Harvey, who finished at 16-under for the tournament. In the five rounds Harvey played this week at Dayton Valley, two of them coming in the U.S. Amateur Qualifying, he was 26-under par.
With the championship clearly in hand, Harvey played the back nine conservatively-at least by his standards.
“I was trying to play as aggressive as possible (on the back nine), but I was focusing more on setting up my shots for some makeable birdied putts,” Harvey said.
Duncan, who played with Harvey earlier this week when they both qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship, fired a 2-under 70 on Thursday to finish in fourth place at 214. Galena High’s Bryson Young also shot a final-round 70, his best round of the tournament to finish in 11th place.
Carson High’s Daniel Timmons bounced back from an opening-round 80 to post two-straight 73s to finish in a tie for 16th place. Travis Whisman, another former Grizzly, struggled to a final-round 86 to finish in 51st place with a three-day total of 242.
Harvey’s tournament days in Nevada as an amateur are over. After the U.S. Amateur Championship, which will be held Aug. 20-26 at Atlanta’s Eastlake Golf Club, Harvey plans on turning pro. His first pro event could be the Utah Classic, a Buy.com event, held the weekend after the U.S. Amateur. Harvey then plans on playing in the Las Vegas Invensys Classic in October, which would be his first PGA Tour event. Both events he hopes to get a sponsorship exemption, which require an impressive resume, which he has.
“And this might help,” Harvey smiled referring to his second Nevada State Amateur Championship.