Beating The Odds

500-1 longshot wins mini tour event with final-round 62

Nothing has been normal during the coronavirus pandemic, and this week’s Scottsdale Open was no different. The mini tour event, which might feature one or two current or former tour pros in a non-corona time period, featured more than 10 this year. With no other professional golf event to compete in, some well-known names made the trip to Talking Stick Golf Course to compete for a $20,000 winner’s check.

After 36 holes, pre-tournament favorite Joel Dahmen, who won the Scottsdale Open in 2017, was near the top of the board, having shot 65 and 63 to reach 12 under. Recently retired Colt Knost was also in the mix thanks to his rounds of 65 and 66. Brandon Harkins, Kevin Streelman and former Northwestern standout Dylan Wu were all in contention as well.

And then there was Zach Smith, a 500-1 longshot who the Las Vegas Westgate SuperBook did not receive a single ticket for pre tournament. Smith, a recent college graduate of UC Santa Barbara, opened with rounds of 62 and 67, which put him at 10 under, earning him a spot alongside Dahmen in one of the final groups. Dahmen, coming off back-to-back top 5s on the PGA Tour before the season stopped, got dusted by the 24-year-old Smith, who shot a final-round 62 to Dahmen’s 71. Smith’s incredible final round earned him a three-stroke victory over Carson Roberts, and the massive, $20,000 winner’s check that came with it. No, seriously, it was one of those huge ones from “Happy Gilmore:”

“This is awesome,” Smith told Golf.com’s Alan Shipnuck. “I’m still in shock a little bit.”

So are all the degenerates of Golf Twitter that devoted all their energy to this event. Dahmen was the popular pick, but Knost was an enticing play with triple-digit odds as well. Nobody was on Smith, who was as high as 750-1, but closed at 500-1. For those wondering, a $10 bet on Smith would have won you $5,000. A $40 bet would have won you the same winner’s check as Smith, $20,000, though we can guarantee it wouldn’t have been as big.

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