Published on May 30, 2014

Victory Well-Positions Smith to Make the PGA Tour

RALEIGH, N.C. – Byron Smith, from Palm Springs, Calif., won today’s Rex Hospital Open by four strokes, ending five-under 66 on the final day and 16-under par for the four-day tournament. Fans at TPC Wakefield’s 18th hole watched as he accepted the winner’s trophy. He also earned the $112,500 first place purse.

“It’s probably the biggest moment of my golf career,” Smith said. “I’m going to enjoy this one for a while, hang out with my gal and the dog; then get back to work for the next one.”

The Rex Hospital Open was the first Tour victory for Smith, who turned pro in 2003.

Australia native Scott Gardiner and Harold Varner III, an East Carolina University alumnus who lives in Gastonia, tied for runner up at 12-under. They will each take home $55,000.

“Byron gave the fans an impressive performance at yet another memorable tournament,” said Carson Gilbert, tournament director of the Rex Hospital Open. “Going into the final day there was a three-way tie for first; it was an exciting day ending with great things.”

Sunday capped an eventful week of activities at the Rex Hospital Open. As part of the tournament’s Service Appreciation Day, active and former military, police, fire and EMS personnel were granted free admission.

The tournament also featured several events during the week, including Family Day at the Open, three different pro-ams and First Tee of the Triangle’s free youth golf clinic.

As the Triangle’s premier charity golf event, the Rex Hospital Open has raised more than $8.5 million for patients in need since its inception. Funds from this year’s event will benefit Rex Heart & Vascular services and programs.

The Tour is the path to the PGA Tour. The top 25 earners on the Tour money list are contenders for a PGA Tour card the following season.

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Alan Wolf, UNC REX Healthcare

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