Austin Smotherman waited three years to get his first win on the Korn Ferry Tour.
So he didn’t mind waiting through a nearly eight-hour round that included two rain delays en route to victory at the Simmons Bank Open in College Grove Sunday.
The former Southern Methodist golfer shot a 3-under-par 69 for the third straight day to win by three strokes over Carl Yuan and Paul Haley II at The Grove.
“I’m trying to let it all sink in,” Smotherman said. “The emotion is definitely high on that back nine. I knew I was up and around the lead all day. The delays did not make it any easier.”
It was Smotherman’s first win at any level since he triumphed at the 59th Mexican Open on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica in 2018.
He had a share of the lead after all four rounds at the Open. Smotherman was the co-leader after the first and third rounds, the solo leader after the second round and the champion at the end.
“It happened on Mother’s Day, so that’s pretty special,” Smotherman said. “All she’s given up for me.”
Smotherman was 16 under at 272 for 72 holes. He won a Les Paul guitar trophy.
Smotherman put an exclamation point on his weekend when he chipped in from 28 yards out when the ball bounced off the pin into the 17th hole.
“One hop and just dunked it,” Smotherman said. “I mean, what else are you going to do? I just fed off that and walked up to 18 tee with a little bit of swagger.”
His wife, Jessie, flew in from Dallas in the morning and got to be there for his big win.
Smotherman expanded his lead to two strokes after sinking a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-3 15th hole.
“I thought it was going to hang left edge and honestly, there were a couple shots today that I swear, golf gods were on my side,” Smotherman said. “Those little things happen to you when you focus on the good. The good seems better.”
He wrote another inspirational quote in his yardage book that seemed to bring him good luck.
“We are what we repeatedly do,” Smotherman read from his book, his voice cracking with emotion. “Excellence then is not an act, but a habit. And Happy Mother’s Day as well.
“So that was my mojo. I was just trying to focus on keeping the routine, no matter what was going on.”
Smotherman’s caddy said the champion’s composure was the key to victory.
“He told me that, like, 20 times today: great composure,” Smotherman said. “I can hear it ringing in my head.”
Brent Gant began the day as a co-leader, but a 2-over 74 dropped him into a fifth-place tie with Tour points leader Stephan Jaeger.
Smotherman’s win vaulted him 35 spots in the points standings to 20th. The top 25 finishers earn PGA Tour cards.
Dickson County junior Cameron Tankersley, 17, struggled with an 8-over 80 to finish tied for 73rd in his first pro event at 4-over 292.
Haley took third at 13 under for 72 holes and former Tennessee golfer Davis Skinns was fourth at 12 under.
Former Middle Tennessee golfer Kent Bulle tied for 25th at 5 under.
The tournament raised $250,000 for the Snedeker Foundation.