Ryan Alford recorded the first professional win in his golf career on Tuesday, taking the APGA Tour Scottsdale at TPC Scottsdale’s Champions Course.
It’s the third APGA event in a row that someone new came out on top. Alford, of Shreveport, Louisiana, shot a three-under 68 for a two-day, nine-under 133 to beat Marcus Byrd of Knoxville by 3 strokes.
Alford, 24, said the key for his success was his renewed mental state. He was among the leaders last week in Las Vegas before blowing up with a six-over performance on the back nine.
“I changed my mindset,” Alford said. “Told myself to erase the bad and keep going with the good. Talent is not the issue. It’s just a matter of getting it done.”
Alford entered the second round just one stroke ahead of Byrd. But a tap-in birdie on the 17th hole provided a cushion, and he went on to claim the first-place prize of $7,500 from the $25,000 purse that the APGA offers at every event.
The two-day, 36-hole tournament Monday at the Champions Course was the sixth event on the APGA’s 10-tournament season. The tour’s mission is to bring greater diversity to the sport of golf.
The other first-time APGA winners this year are Jarred Garcia, who took the Black History Month Classic at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida, and Rovonta Young, who won the APGA Tour at World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida.
Tim O’Neal, the 2020 APGA Tour Player of the Year, was third at -5, with Tommy Schaff of Ridgeland, South Carolina another stroke back in fourth. Willie Mack III of Flint, Michigan, and Aaron Beverly of Fairfield, California, tied for fifth at 3-under. Mack is headed for Korn Ferry Tour’s Huntsville (Alabama) Championship next week.
Phoenix resident Doug Smith led a group of five players tied for seventh at even par. Kamaiu Johnson of Orlando finished in a tie for 12th (1-over) after winning in Las Vegas last week.
The next stop for the APGA Tour is Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky, set for May 23-25.