GREENSBORO, N.C. - Matthew NeSmith of North Augusta, S.C., carded an even-par 70 and a tournament total of 4-under-par 276 to win the FJ Invitational, earning a sponsor's exemption into the PGA TOUR's Wyndham Championship. Motin Yeung of Orlando, Fla., shot a final-round 67 and finished one shot behind in second with a tournament total of 3-under-par 277.
Conducted by the American Junior Golf Association, the FJ Invitational was a 72-hole stroke play competition played on the par-70, 6,909-yard Cardinal Golf & Country Club. The 84-player field featured boys from 21 states and 9 foreign countries. For the fifth consecutive year, the winner of the FJ Invitational will receive a sponsor's exemption into the PGA Tour's Wyndham Championship in August. Following the third round the field was cut to the top-50 and ties.
NeSmith and Yeung fought for the top of the leaderboard through all four rounds. In the final round, NeSmith came off the front nine with the advantage over Yeung, carding three birdies for 2-under-par 33 and a four-stroke lead. Yeung rallied at the turn, recording birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 to cut his deficit to one with seven holes remaining.
"I figured before I teed off today that if I could shoot even-par, I'd make him come and get me," NeSmith said. "All of a sudden I had a one-shot lead going into 12. It was just mind-blowing honestly."
Yeung birdied No. 15 to match NeSmith's score heading to the final holes. Both players felt the pressure on No. 18 with a chance to play in the Wyndham Championship on the line. NeSmith left the door open for Yeung to force a playoff as he parred, missing a birdie putt from 10 feet.
"You want to win and you know he wants to beat you, and I want to beat him," NeSmith said. "It's definitely tough and not a position I'd want to be in, but I'll take it."
Yeung missed the green with his approach and failed to save par, finishing the tournament at 3-under-par and one shot shy. This sealed NeSmith as the winner and he will return to Greensboro, N.C., in August to play in the Wyndham Championship.
"I can't wait. It was my No. 1 goal starting this entire season," NeSmith said. "That's all I've ever wanted to do since I was a little kid, play in a TOUR event."
Michael Pisciotta of Alpharetta, Ga., Dylan Wu of Medford, Ore., and Sam Burns of Shreveport, La., placed in third at 3-over-par 283.
AJGA/WFMY News 2 Sports