Cameron Barzekoff had come through the first two rounds of the Nevada State Amateur at the Las Vegas Golf Club. When he was finally challenged on the back nine in Saturday’s final round, he responded like a champ.
Barzekoff birdied on four of his last seven holes in a final round 66 to earn a four-shot win over Jackson Parrish and Craig Erickson. The 21-year-old finished 17-under 193 to claim Nevada’s biggest amateur golf title.
“The last five holes, I really turned it on and finished strong,” Barzekoff said. “I started riding in 12 and 15 footers on the stretch which got me a few strokes back.”
Barzekoff had led from the start on Thursday with a 63 in the first round, then followed that up with a 64 on Friday. But Parrish, Southern Nevada’s hottest amateur golfer, came charging on Saturday and briefly passed Barzekoff with an eagle on the par-5 second hole, their 11th hole of the day.
Barzekoff did not panic.
“When he caught up to me I knew there were still a few holes to go and I knew I could birdie,” he said.
And he did.
Barzekoff birdied Nos. 3, 5, 7 and 8 to get away from Parrish, winner of the Southern Nevada Amateur and Reflection Bay Amateur last month. Parrish helped Barzekoff make two late bogeys, allowing the final holes to be an easy walk to the finish line.
It’s the biggest individual title for Barzekoff, who was part of the state championship team at Palo Verde in his sophomore year in 2016. His dad’s job then took the family to Arizona, where he finished high school. He then moved on to Boise State, where he played for two seasons before his father, Wayne, fell ill and he chose to drop out of college and return to Las Vegas.
His father is better now, but Barzekoff has no plans to go back to college. Instead, he will focus on big amateur events for next year with visions of turning pro next summer.
He called it the logical next step for him as his game and mental approach to golf improved. It also helps to have his dad around, who was his only coach.
“He’s been my coach all my life. He taught me everything from chipping to putting to hitting the ball,” Barzekoff said. “Whenever things start to go south he tweets me a little bit and I’m good to go.”
Dakota Gillman and Kamden Ganir are tied for fourth at 11 under. Defending champ Josh Goldstein was in a 6-under field in a tie for seventh place.
Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be contacted at [email protected]