Up the Creek

Smith paddles his way to record win in WACO

Smith paddles his way to record win in WACO

August 12, 2002|by BOB PARASILITI

Kenny Smith knocked one of the items off his "Things I must do before I die" list and did it by drawing from an old lesson.

"I've been trying to win (the WACO Open) for four years," the Waynesboro, Pa., resident said. "I came close one year, but I choked in the second round."

This time, Smith found a remedy for that "choking" problem. He took the second round out of the picture and rendered it to nothing more than a formality.


Smith fired a 2-under 70 to back up his tournament-record 67 of the first round for a two-day score of 137 to win the 19th annual WACO Open in record-setting fashion Sunday by six shots over Chuck Ingram and Charlie Narciso at Beaver Creek Country Club.

Smith started the final 18 with a five-stroke advantage over five players tied for second. In essence, all the 27-year-old had to do was play par golf and let someone try to mount a charge to catch him.

Many tried, but none got within his five-shot cushion to make a serious challenge. In fact, Smith wasn't about to settle for par and just glide into a title.

"I wanted to go out and play aggressively," he said. "A friend told me to be aggressive on the course and it worked well. This course isn't set up for birdies. That's why 2-under has won it so many times."

In Saturday's first round, Smith scored five-under on the course's four par-5s and enhanced it with consecutive birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 14 to put the rest of the field in chase mode.

Smith kept the pressure up by shooting 2-under 34 on the front nine and was up to a tournament-record 9-under after a birdie on No. 15.

Smith's 137 broke the record of 2-under 142 set last year by Bill Wingerd, who won the title but didn't return to defend it because of a previous committment.

Ingram and Narciso matched Smith's 70 in the second round to finish 1-under, setting the record for the most players to finish under-par in the tournament.

Ken Lampard finished fourth at 145, followed by Greg Henry and A.J. Bachman, who played with Smith in the final group, at 146. Finley Benjamin, who was tied for second after the first round before carding a 80 on Sunday, also set a tournament record with eight birdies in a round.

WACO Scoreboard

Kenny Smith 67 70 - 137

Chuck Ingram 73 70 - 143

Charlie Narciso 73 70 - 143

Ken Lampard 72 73 - 145

Greg Henry 73 73 - 146

A.J. Bachman 72 74 - 146

Scott Lourdon 75 72 - 147

Adam Frank 72 75 - 147

Kevin Peterson 74 74 - 148

Tim Steiner 73 76 - 149

Chad Bricker 72 77 - 149

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