Kaufman Blazes to Shriners Win

A player in his fifth-ever start on the PGA Tour led the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open all day Friday and Saturday.

Amazingly, a different guy making his fifth-ever start on the PGA Tour won it all on Sunday.

The aptly-named Smylie Kaufman blazed to a closing-round 61 to reach 16-under, nipping six different players, including Day 2 and 3 leader Brett Stegmaier, by one stroke for his first career PGA win.

Kaufman recorded eight birdies and an eagle 2 on the par-4 No. 15 to secure the shocking victory.

Kaufman is all of 23 years old, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, and a graduate of LSU.  He’s off to a heck of a start in 2015, having finished 10th at the Frys.com Open last week.

Brett Stegmaier, who had led for Rounds 2 and 3, had two bogeys in his first 12 holes that kept him at even par. He made a late charge by birdying 15 and 16, but Kaufman’s closing kick of an eagle on 15, and birdies on 16 and 18 was too much.

Another virtual unknown, 29-year-old Patton Kizzire, nearly stole the show, firing a final-round 63 with eight birdies, and would have forced a playoff if he had made a birdie putt on 18.

Also finishing a stroke back were Jason Bohn, Alex Cejka, Kevin Na, and Cameron Tringale.

Kaufman’s 61 came two hours before the end of the tournament.  The victory makes him an instant millionaire and earns him an automatic berth in the 2016 Masters.

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