Barzekoff Picks Up AGA Championship Victory
By Brianna Gianiorio
LAVEEN, ARIZ- Cameron Barzekoff shot a final-round 69 Sunday at Aguila Golf Course to overtake second-round leader Jacob Letman and win the 2021 AGA Championship by two strokes. Barzekoff combined his opening-round 69 and second-round 70 to finish 2-under 208 for the tournament, the only player under par for the weekend.
“This win means a lot – this is my first tournament since early November,” the first-time AGA Major winner said. “I took a long, long time off – just been working on my game. I have not won a tournament since maybe this past summer.”
Evan Chien turned in the low round of the day, an impressive 3-under 67 to finish tied for second with reigning AGA Player of the Year Bryan Hoops at even-par.
Prevailing through rain, wind and cold weather during the first two rounds of the championship, Letman was the only player to record both rounds under par. Entering the final round 3-under, Letman started the day with a narrow one-shot lead ahead of Adam Walicki and a two-shot lead ahead of Barzekoff.
Barzekoff, a 20-year-old Las Vegas resident, found himself one behind the lead after he birdied the first hole. When Letman and Walicki turned in bogeys on the par-4 5th hole, Barzekoff jumped into his first lead of the tournament. After a birdie on hole 8, Barzekoff made the turn with a 1-under 34, two shots ahead of Hoops and Zach Smith.
It was an up-and-down back nine for Barzekoff, who still managed to hold the lead through the final stretch. He recorded two bogeys and a birdie on his first five holes to drop his lead to one. It was a clutch eagle on hole 15 that made for his two-shot win..
“Today it was a little bit more wayward off the tee, I made some clutch holes coming in, like the eagle and 15,” Barzekoff said. “I think I went driver driver off the deck and then made a 30-foot for eagle. That was what kept me kind of in the tournament.”
He finished out his final three holes bogey, birdie, bogey to claim the win.With tough hole locations and weather, he was the only player to turn in three rounds of par or better.
“I didn’t have much confidence coming into the greens this week after the first two rounds,”he said. “Trusting your line is probably the biggest thing – a couple of my longer putts I trusted and I happened to make a few when they counted.”
This marks Barzekoff’s first tournament and win of his 2021 amateur season. The champion gave up D1 college golf at Boise State University to return back home to Las Vegas after his father was diagnosed with cancer but hopes to return to college golf soon.
“I played two years there (at BSU). I decided to come home for my father’s health in Vegas- he has been battling cancer for the last two and a half years, so I wanted to come closer to him and hopefully I’ll be on UNLV’s roster next semester.”
2021 marks the 32nd year of the AGA Championship since its inception in 1989. Formerly known as the AZ Publinks, the Championship is one of seven championships conducted by the Arizona Golf Association. Held over a three-day period, the 54-hole event with a cut after 36 holes, is the first AGA Championship of the year. The next Championship is the Arizona Stroke Play Championship hosted by Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Course set for April 22-25, 2021.