Zac Blair wins first title at Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae
August 04, 2019
By Preston Smith, PGATOUR.COM
- August 04, 2019
- Zac Blair used a bogey-free final round to secure his first-career Korn Ferry Tour victory. (Katie McBee/PGA TOUR)
HAYWARD, Calif. — Entering the day one stroke off the lead, Zac Blair posted a final-round 3-under 67 to win his first Korn Ferry Tour title at 17-under at the Ellie Mae Classic at TPC Stonebrae. The win catapulted Blair to 10th in the season-long points standings and secures his return to the PGA TOUR for the 2019-20 season.
“I’ve been playing really well these last few weeks, so I felt like I was close,” Blair said. “It was nice to get it done and lock up my card. It’ll be great to get back out there.”
Blair tallied five top-10s and 15 top-25s on the PGA TOUR from 2015-18 before returning to the Korn Ferry Tour for the 2019 season. He entered the week on a hot streak, posting top-10s in three out of his last four events, but was still outside The 25 with two weeks remaining in the Regular Season.
“I knew after last week that if I had a top-five finish over the next five weeks that it was going to be close, and this week I obviously came through,” Blair said. “I definitely got my game back on track over the last couple of months. I tried to keep things really simple and clean up my attitude a little bit. I was getting down on myself and a little negative, which isn’t when I’m at my best. I just got back to how I like to play.”
While players ebbed and flowed around him during the final round, Blair held steady with a bogey-free round, his second of the week. Though he claimed birdies at Nos. 3, 5 and 14, he credited several par saves with keeping his momentum during the round.
“I made a couple of big par saves on the front nine,” said Blair, a Brigham Young University product. “I hit a great one on the fourth hole after a really bad lag putt and then made a 10-footer at the seventh. Again at the eighth I had about a 12-footer that I made. Those are the kind of putts that you need to make to keep the round going.”
Blair, who ranked in the top 10 in both fairways hit (T3) and greens in regulation (T1), looked to be in control with a couple of holes to play, but playing competitor Brandon Crick birdied the par-4 17th to pull within one with one hole to play. Crick’s birdie attempt missed at the 18th but the tap-in par put the pressure on Blair to par the final hole.
“The last putt was a little longer than I wanted for sure, I was just trying not to do something stupid and three-putt on the last hole,” Blair said. “My first putt was probably 35 feet and then three feet or so on the last one. Not really the putt you want on poa greens being the last group in, but at the same time any putt to win is a good putt. I’m glad I made it.”
With the win, Blair becomes the 13th first-time champion of the year on the Korn Ferry Tour. The win is also the first for the 28-year-old on any PGA TOUR-sanctioned Tour. Crick, who finished as the solo runner-up at 16-under, clinched his spot in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.
Stanford University alum Maverick McNealy finished in solo third at 15-under, rising to No. 20 on the Korn Ferry Tour points list with one event remaining. Four players tied for fourth at 14-under: Joshua Creel, Todd Baek, Ethan Tracy and Tyson Alexander.