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Cameron Barzekoff captures Nevada State Amateur

Cameron Barzekoff had breezed through the first two rounds of the Nevada State Amateur at Las Vegas Golf Club. When he was finally challenged on the back nine in Saturday’s final round, he responded like a champion.

Barzekoff birdied four of his final seven holes during a final-round 66 to post a four-stroke victory over Jackson Parrish and Craig Erickson. The 21-year-old finished at 17-under 193 to claim the biggest title in Nevada amateur golf.

“The last five holes I really put it in gear and finished strong,” Barzekoff said. “I started rolling in some 12- and 15-footers down the stretch which allowed me to win by a few strokes.”

Barzekoff had led from the start on Thursday with an opening-round 63, then followed up with a 64 on Friday. But Parrish, the hottest amateur golfer in Southern Nevada, came charging on Saturday and briefly overtook Barzekoff with an eagle on the par-5 second hole, their 11th hole of the day.

Barzekoff didn’t panic.

“When he caught me, I knew there were still a few holes to go and I knew I could make some birdies,” he said.

And that he did.

Barzekoff birdied Nos. 3, 5, 7 and 8 to pull away from Parrish, the winner last month of both the Southern Nevada Amateur and Reflection Bay Amateur. Parrish helped Barzekoff out my making two late bogeys, allowing the final holes to be an easy stroll to the finish line.

It’s the biggest individual title for Barzekoff, who was part of the state championship team at Palo Verde during his sophomore year in 2016. His father’s job took the family to Arizona after that, where he finished high school. He then headed off to Boise State, where he played for two seasons before his father, Wayne, got sick and he chose to leave college to come home to Las Vegas.

His father is doing better now, but Barzekoff has no plans to return to college. Instead, he’ll focus on big amateur events for the next year with visions of turning pro next summer.

He called it the next logical step for him as his game and mental approach to golf have improved. It also helps to have his father around, who has been his only coach.

“He’s been my coach my whole life. He taught me everything from chipping to putting to ball striking,” Barzekoff said. “Whenever things start to go south, he tweets me up a little bit and I’m good to go.”

Dakota Gillman and Kamden Ganir tied for fourth at 11 under. Defending champion Josh Goldstein was in group of players at 6 under in a tie for seventh.

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@gmail.com.

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