Overtaking Andy Zhang in the final round of the Azalea Invitational amateur golf tournament was going to take some help from the 18-year-old University of Florida commitment.
Zhang entered the final round at the Country Club of Charleston with a comfortable three-shot lead built on avoiding mistakes, and by the time he did make a couple of miscues Sunday, it was far too late.
After three straight rounds of 67, Zhang finished with a 3-under-par 68 Sunday and finished the tournament at 15-under 269, six strokes ahead of runner-up Trent Phillips.
Phillips, a University of Georgia signee out of Inman, finished at 70—275, while Christopher Hickman of Centerville, Md., and Andrew McCain of Brisbane, Australia, tied for third at 277.
“This is such an honor. I looked at the (permanent) trophy and saw all the great names who have won this tournament,” said Zhang, a native of Beijing who now calls Orlando, Fla., home.
It was his second win in as many starts for Zhang, who in February won an American Junior Golf Association title in Texas. Zhang is the youngest golfer to compete in a U.S. Open, competing in the 2012 championship at age 14.
Zhang began to distance himself from the field Sunday with a birdie on the par-5 ninth. He pulled his second shot left but was able to hit his third shot to a couple of feet for an easy birdie. Zhang’s closest challenger at that point, Patrick Christovich, parred the hole to fall four back. Phillips also parred the ninth and trailed by seven.
Zhang upped his lead with a par on the 10th hole, which Phillips bogeyed and Christovich double-bogeyed after his tee shot sailed out of bounds. Christovich also bogeyed the par-3 11th, opening the door for a pressure-free back nine for Zhang.
His only two mistakes were a bogey on the par-4 16th and a three-putt bogey on the closing hole, where he rammed a birdie try well past the hole in an effort to get the gallery gathered around the green excited, then missed the short comeback putt.
Andy Zhang, Beijing 67-67-67-68—269
Trent Phillips, Inman 67-70-68-70—275
Christopher Hickman, Centerville, Md. 71-66-71-69—277
Andrew McCain, Brisbane, Australia 70-71-68-68—277
Ryan Celano, Naples, Fla. 68-67-71-72—278
Patrick Christovich, New Orleans 66-68-70-75—279
Jake Kevorkian, St. Petersburg, Fla. 67-70-72-71—280
Jeronimo Esteve, Windermere, Fla. 68-68-69-75—280
Nathan Smith, Pittsburgh 71-66-71-72—280
Cole Hammer, Houston 73-67-73-68—281
Tyson Reeder, Edmond, Okla. 73-69-69-70—281
William Buhl, Fairhope, Ala. 66-73-71-71—281
John Augenstein, Owensboro, Ky. 68-77-67-70—282
Clancy Waugh, North Palm Beach, Fla. 70-72-69-71—282
Todd White, Spartanburg 71-69-69-73—282
Koichiro Ishika, Kalagawa, Japan 74-69-70-70—283
Eric Banks, Gainesville, Fla. 71-71-69-72—283
Alastair Tidcombe, Wolfville, Canada 73-68-69-73—283
James Yoon, Asuncion, Paraguay 71-70-72-71—284
S.M. Lee, Buford, Ga. 74-70-68-72—284
Jack Larkin Sr., Atlanta 74-74-67-70—285
Kaito Onishi, Tokyo 76-66-72-71—285
William Miles, Hilton Head 73-68-70-74—285
Conner Tendall, North Potomac, Md. 72-70-72-72—286
Jarryd Dillas, Hamilton, Bermuda 72-68-74-72—286
Joseph Deraney, Lexington, Ky. 71-68-75-72—286
Brady Exber, Las Vegas 71-71-73-71—286
Spencer Ralston, Gainesville, Ga. 69-75-70-72—286
Garland Ferrell, Greenville 74-68-72-72—286
Drayton Stewart, James Island 71-76-69-70—286
Jose Narro, Tampico, Mexico 69-68-74-75—286
Dan Falls, Gaithersburg, Md. 72-73-73-68—286
Logan Harrell, Huntersville, N.C. 71-66-74-76—287
Daniel Brennan, Shannon, Ireland 75-70-72-70—287
Kyle Nathan, Glenview, Ill. 72-63-77-76—288
Jamie Wilson, Mount Pleasant 72-70-71-75—288
Andrew Orischak, Hilton Head 72-66-73-77—288
Steven Brame, Henderson, N.C. 76-72-67-74—289
John Wright, Aurora, Ill. 72-69-74-74—289
Brett Rinker, Bowling Green, Ohio 73-67-75-74—289
Blake Kennedy, Campobello 76-70-70-73—289
Steven Liebler, Irmo 76-69-71-73—289
Joseph Cansler, Clemmons, N.C. 71-73-72-73—289
Kris Mikkelsen, Atlanta 73-71-72-73—289
Will Strauss, La Jolla, Calif. 70-70-76-73—289
Ryan Abbate, Weston, Fla. 77-69-71-72—289
Lee Palms, Greenville 73-70-74-72—289
William Nottingham, Kingsport, Tenn. 74-76-69-70—289
David Geis, Charlotte 71-70-72-77—290
Cody Proveaux, Lexington 72-72-75-71—290
Pablo Heriada Iglesias, Seville, Spain 72-72-72-75—291
Christian Salzer, Sumter 77-71-71-72—291
Christian Sease, Mount Pleasant 73-67-76-76—292
Chris Minton, Houston 69-75-76-72—292
Henry Shimp, Charlotte 73-70-75-75—293
Wil Sheppard, Mount Pleasant 71-72-76-74—293
Caleb Proveaux, Lexington 71-76-73-73—293
Jack Hall, Savannah 75-64-76-79—294
Mark Cusic, California, Md. 75-69-76-77—297
Carlton Forrester, Atlanta 76-74-70-78—298
Jonathan Rector, Clemson 71-74-75-79—299