Matthew NeSmith made a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole to post a 19-under total and a one-stroke victory over Viktor Hovland and Brandon Hagy Sunday at the Albertsons Boise Open. With the win, NeSmith, who closed with a 7-under 64, moved to the top spot in The Finals 25 and secured his PGA TOUR card for the first time.
There was constant change atop Sunday’s leaderboard, as four different players held solo leads. Playing in the fifth-to-last group, Hagy took his turn as the leader when he birdied the last two holes to post a final-round 64 and take the clubhouse lead at 18-under.
Two groups later, NeSmith made two key up-and-downs – for birdie on the par-5 16th and for par on the par-3 17th – and approached the 18th tee tied with Hagy at 18-under. After pulling his drive into the left rough, NeSmith attacked the back-left hole location and hit a wedge to 15 feet, setting up his winning putt.
With NeSmith in the clubhouse at 19-under, Hovland still had a chance to force a playoff, as he birdied No. 16 to cut his deficit to two. After a par on No. 17, the Norwegian nearly forced extra holes with a heroic eagle on No. 18, but his approach settled three feet from the hole and he had to settle for a birdie and a T2 finish.
Hovland led by one through 54 holes, the second time he’s led/co-lead in The Finals (first round, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship). Though he didn’t break through for his first professional victory, Hovland backed up his T11 finish from last week and earned his promotion to the PGA TOUR next season.