The East Texas Open ended in dramatic fashion as Scott Kelly drained a long putt to edge out Austin Smotherman in a one-hole playoff.
Kelly, of Austin, sank the putt on the 18th hole after Smotherman failed to make his birdie putt.
"I had to birdie 16 and then I made a nice up and down on 17 which I did and 18 is a tough tee shot," Kelly said. "[I was thinking] maybe you can make birdie. You never know. I was nervous for sure. I was just trying to breathe and just try to get some good breathes and just try to get good putts."
Kelly received a first-place prize of $20,000 while Smotherman collects a $10,000 check. Each finished at 14-under-par. Kelly grew up in Kingwood and played several tournaments at Crown Colony while in school. Kelly mentioned that the course is good for professional events.
"It was in great shape," Kelly said. "I mean the greens were great. If you hit it in the fairway, you can make birdies. They are not super long. You just have to keep it in the fairway. You can definitely have some scoring opportunities."
Marco Maldonado, an amateur from Lufkin, finished in a tie for 10th at 6-under. Sam Fidone, of Lufkin, finished in 13th place at 4-under and gets a check of $2,635. Will Griffin, of Lufkin, finished at 8-over and collects $627.50.
Fidone entered the final round at +3, but a rally on the final day brought him to -4 after Fidone had his best round of the tournament at -7.
"When you can stay loose you definitely give yourself maybe not an advantage but you deffinently take the pressure off you shoulders and today was nice," Fidone said.
Maldonada had a great tournament on the course he works for. He finished the highest out of all of the East Texas talent. He almost didn't get to finish his tournament on Thursday after getting in a wreck. The former TJC Apache will enroll at the University of Little Rock in the fall.
"It deffinently gives me a lot of motivation and lets me know I can come out here for four days and compete with players that are doing this for a living," Maldonada said. "It just lets me know I can go out and compete with college players a little better now."
The tournament also benefited the Lufkin Education Foundation.
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