Blair Captures 2015 Sand Hollow Open
PGA Tour professional Zac Blair left nothing to doubt.
In a spectacularly efficient final round, Blair posted a 6-under 66 Saturday to win the Sand Hollow Open presented by the Leavitt Group. Blair finished at 18 under for the 54-hole tournament and finished two strokes ahead of Joe Parkinson, three better than Davis Garner.
“I knew that if I went out today and shot another 5- or 6-under-par, then someone was going to have to go low to catch me,”” Blair said. “I tried to go out there and take care of my business, keep the ball in play, and get as many looks as I possibly could.””
Blair, the 25-year-old former BYU star who recently finished his rookie season on the PGA Tour by advancing to the FedEx Cup’s BMW Championships, didn’t record a bogey on Saturday until the 18th hole, when he knew he had a comfortable lead.
Fortunes headed Blair’s way early, after he got up and down from a bunker on the par 5 second hole. After Blair drained a 15-foot putt for birdie, his playing partners Jim Knous and Phil Reedy, who started the final round just two strokes behind Blair, each let out a sigh, as if they knew what was to come.
“I was in a really bad place in that bunker, so I just wanted to pop it out. It rolled down the hill,” Blair said. “But I hung in there and made the putt. I think that was the key to this tournament, I made a few putts the last few days.””
Blair made a 12-foot birdie putt on the fifth hole, then hit a solid chip to within a few feet on the par 5 seventh hole to set up another birdie. His fourth birdie of the day at the par 5 10th — Blair slid a 25-yard chip from the left side of the green to within two-feet of the pin — essentially gave him enough cushion to win the tournament.
“I’ve had a lot of success here, I know the course well,” Blair said. “The key is to just keep it in play. I just want to get it close here. I know I can make some putts when I do that.”
Blair’s efficiency was tested a bit at the 12th when he left his approach shot short and in the bunker. However, he knocked the bunker shot to two feet and carded a par. He followed on the 13th — a short, uphill par 4 — by hitting his tee shot to eight feet above the hole. Blair nearly missed a testy, downhill putt for eagle, but easily holed another birdie to move to 5-under on the day and 17 under for the event.
Another birdie at 15 — a 15-foot sliding putt on a par 3 — secured a comfortable lead. For good measure, Blair carded one more birdie at the par 5 17th.
“I bogeyed my second hole and my last hole of the tournament, so that was a very solid stretch of golf in between,” Blair said.
Blair posted rounds of 67, 65 and 66 to earn the winner’s check of $15,000. Blair said he plans to donate the money to charity.
Parkinson, who began the day two strokes back of Blair, carded a final round 66. He made a charge with three consecutive birdies to close the front nine. But he failed to birdie either of the par 5s on the back nine, and three-putted after driving the green on 13 to eliminate his hopes.
“I knew (Zac) was going to play well, so I knew I had to put up a number,” said Parkinson, making just his second start as a professional. “I played a solid front nine, but on the back, I struggled putting. I still went bogey-free but I just wasn’t hitting shots or making putts that I should.”
Parkinson earned $6,250 for his second-place result. Garner made it a 1-2-3- finish for Utah golfers by carding a final-round 65 to finish at 15 under and earn $4,300.
Colorado pro Jim Knous finished fourth at 14 under, while Kurt Kitayama and BJ Staten tied for fifth place at 13 under.
Brady Bingham is a frequent contributor to Fairways Media