Zakhai Brown wins San Juan Open title
FARMINGTON – Amid a tough field in the San Juan Open leaderboard, Zakhai Brown finally ascended to the top for his place in history - winning the 2019 professional title today at San Juan Country Club.
"I didn't want to just throw in the towel right there (after the second round). I made some good birdies and eagles. That helped me come back and just rally," said Brown, who won his first-ever SJO title here in Farmington. "I'm excited to win this tournament."
Brown, who turned pro in 2012, had a previous best of fourth place in 2017, but couldn't quite get over the hump.
Then came some key strokes on the seventh and 10th greens today, which shifted the momentum in his favor.
"I made some really big putts," Brown said.
Brown's key shots included a 40-foot birdie on the seventh hole and a 28-foot birdie on No. 10.
Brown, who entered today trailing Jesse Mueller by four strokes for first place, started climbing up the standings with his 10th-hole birdie.
At that point, Brown realized it was his moment.
"I looked back at the leaderboard and the group behind me, and I'm like 'wow, I'm only a couple (points) back.' It kept me going," Brown said. "I tried to drive the (10th) green the last few days."
On the 11th hole and onward, Brown, who shot 268 (16 under par), hit plenty of solid shots down the fairways and set up some nice vantage points getting ready to putt.
Brown, who's now won five pro titles in 2019, eventually padded his lead for good with a 25-foot eagle on the 14th green.
Brown, fought through the top-five, featuring players within five strokes of each other, and secured his place in history.
Trey Diehl wins amateur championship
The Piedra Vista graduate shot 283 (one stroke under par) to win the title today, giving the home crowd a parting gift before heading down to New Mexico State University to play college golf.
"This tournament means a lot to me because it's at my home course," Diehl said. "I didn't make a lot of putts, but I managed my game pretty well. I hit the ball to the center of the green a lot."
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or on Twitter at @MattH_717.