After a day that was full of ups and downs and several lead changes, Fulton Smith, of Pinehurst, came out on top after shooting a 1-over-par, 73 to win the 4th Carolinian Amateur Championship by one shot.
“I went in with the same game plan today,” said Smith, who attends the O’Neal School. “Towards the middle of the round it turned into a match play tournament with me and Brett. It was really one v one. We were both playing really well in the beginning but it got sloppy towards the end. I was just trying to pick my spots. I thought I played okay today. I could have hit some better shots here or there but overall pretty satisfied.”
Smith started the final round in a three-way tie for the lead with Brett McLamb of Coats, N.C. and Mark Olbrych of Columbia, S.C. A birdie on the par 3, No. 3 gave Fulton the early lead but it didn’t last long.
On the very next hole, McLamb took his first lead of the championship when he was able to make a birdie on the par 4, No. 4 and Smith bogeyed.
That birdie was the first of three in a row for McLamb. He took a three-shot lead into the back nine but a double bogey on No. 10 led to a three-shot swing when Smith was able to make a long putt for birdie.
“It was a big birdie on ten,” Smith said. “That was a big momentum boost. Then [Brett] bounced back and I knew he would. We kind of went back and forth and I guess I was lucky enough to come out on top at the end but it was a lot of fun today.”
There was another lead change on the par 5, No. 13 when McLamb birdied and Smith bogeyed.
McLamb started No. 16 with a two shot lead but found trouble to the right. He finished the hole with a triple bogey and a one-shot deficit. Smith gave one back on the par 3, No. 17 and the players came into the final hole tied at the top.
Both McLamb and Smith were going for the par 5, 18th green in two but neither were able to reach the green. A par by Smith was good enough to capture the win.
Smith finished the championship at 7-under-par, 209 total.
Sam Echikson of Charlotte, N.C. finished in a tie for second with McLamb at 6-under-par, 210 total.
Defending champion, Harry Reynolds of Greenville, S.C. finished in solo fourth at 5-under-par, 211 total.
Brady Hinkle of Lancaster, S.C. had the low round of the day at 6-under-par, 66. He finished in fifth place with a 4-under-par, 212 total for the championship.
This is Smith’s third CGA championship win with victories at 2016 and 2017 Dogwood State Junior Boys’ Championship.