Smith rolls to Rex Hospital title

The Sports NetworkMay 25, 2014 

Raleigh, NC ( - Byron Smith carded a 5-under 66 on Sunday and cruised to a 4-stroke win at the Rex Hospital Open.

Smith, who won for the first time on the Tour, finished at 16-under- par 268 at TPC Wakefield Plantation.

"This means everything. It's a long time coming. They say golf is a game of mostly failures and I've had plenty of that," Smith stated. "This is what makes it all worth it. It's amazing. It's the biggest moment in my golf career up to this point by far."

Harold Varner III, who had share of the second- and third-round lead, shot 1- under 70 in the final round and tied for second at minus-12. He was joined there by Scott Gardiner (69).

Brad Fritsch (66), Tony Finau (67) and Roberto Diaz (70) shared fourth place at 11-under 273.

Hunter Haas shared the third-round lead with Smith and Varner. Haas wrapped bogeys on two and six around a birdie on the fourth. He faltered to a double- bogey on the ninth to slide to minus-8, and he was unable to get back in the mix from there.

Varner dropped one back as he bogeyed the first, but Smith bogeyed the second and they were again tied at 10-under. Both birdied the third, but Smith followed with birdies on four and six as well.

Smith ended the front nine with three pars in a row, and Varner birdied the ninth to move within one. Varner traded a bogey for a birdie from the 10th, but dropped two back as Smith birdied the 11th as well.

The 33-year-old made it two in a row as he birdied the 12th. After a par on 13th, Smith birdied the Nos. 14 and 15 to move five clear. He stumbled to a bogey at the last to trim his winning margin to four.

"I hit it amazing for four rounds and finally got the putter working on the weekend. I stayed patient and didn't try to force anything. I just kept hitting quality iron shots and giving myself good looks. Thankfully a couple started to drop," said Smith.

"I took glances at the board, but I didn't want to mess with how it was flowing out there. After I hit the tee shot on 18, I asked my caddie how many shots we had to work with. He told me five and that's when I thought let's just get it over the creek and wiggle it in."

Varner closed with seven consecutive pars.

Gardiner had two birdies and two bogeys on the front nine as he made the turn at 10-under. After tripping to a bogey on the 11th, Gardiner poured in four birdies in a five-hole span from the 13th. He stumbled to a bogey at the last to end four behind.

NOTES: Smith, who has four wins on the PGA Tour Canada, earned $112,500 for the win ... He became the eighth first-time winner in 10 events this year ... The Tour is off next week, then returns to action with a new event, the Cleveland Open.

The Tribune is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service