Sean O’Donnell Wins Arizona Stroke Play Championship
Sean O’Donnell won the 2021 Arizona Stroke Play Championship Sunday, turning in a final-round 3-under 69, and edging the 54-hole leader Chris Kamin by two shots at Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club.
Four-time AGA major Champion Jake Chanen and 2021 AGA Championship winner Cameron Barzekoff finished tied for third at 4-under, respectively, five shots shy of the champion.
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After matching third-round 68’s with Kamin, O’Donnell headed into the final round three shots back.
“I started three back and just really had to stay patient,” said O’Donnell, the 2020 AGA Championship winner. “I knew I wasn’t going to go out and make seven birdies today (like his third round).”
O’Donnell shrunk Kamin’s lead to two strokes after converting one of his three birdies on the day at the par-4 second hole. Kamin responded with birdies on holes 3 and 5, increasing his lead to four shots – the largest lead of the tournament. With a bogey on hole 6, Kamin finished the front nine with a 1-under 35, still managing a three-shot lead at the turn.
But steady play from O’Donnell who see him vault Into the lead soon after, as Kamin carded a bogey on 12 and a triple on 13.
“I had a lot of easy pars today – didn’t have to struggle too much,” said O’Donnell. “I minimized mistakes and kind of let everyone else make a couple mistakes.”
Kamin went on to mix two birdies with a bogey, finishing his round at 2-over 74. With a pair of birdies on holes 13 and 18, O’Donnell finalized his two-shot victory, finishing at 9-under (69-73-68-69–279).
“I didn’t really have my best stuff today – I felt like I hit it significantly better yesterday and really plotted myself around and avoided bunkers,” O’Donnell said about his third under-par round of the four-round event. “The last two or three holes, I put some good shots together to close it out. I didn’t make a bogey, so really good up-and-downs. Anytime I missed a green I made sure it was in a good spot.”
The win adds to and already impressive amateur résumé for the Glendale, Ariz.-native.
“In Arizona, definitely No. 1 for sure,” the champion said, referring to where this win ranks amongst his other victories. “I’ve been wanting to get one of these Kachinas for a while – it’s been on my goal list for three or four years and I’m very pleased to finally get it done.”
He picked up his first major victory at the 2020 AGA Championship after a tournament-low round 5-under 66. The 2021 Short Course Champion, O’Donnell has already picked up two top-10 finishes and two wins in the four events recorded this season. The five-time USGA qualifier credits his improved course management skills for his consistent superb play.
“I’ve just really been working on course management a lot – really knowing when to pick my spots and when not to try to take on too much,” said O’Donnell. “For me, it’s just minimizing mistakes.”
by Brianna Gianiorio