Diaz holds off late push, wins first professional tournament

Roberto Diaz 2021 LA Open Winner.jpg
Posted at 8:40 PM, Mar 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-22 00:51:58-04

BROUSSARD — It was all going so well for Roberto Diaz until it wasn't. After holding a four-stroke lead at the turn, Diaz and Peter Uilhein were tied at -18 heading into the 17th hole, but Diaz had a little luck stored away in his pocket.

"I had a tee with me the whole day. It says my kid's initial. And when I started going through tough holes or something I just looked at it and it's, it's awesome," Diaz said. "You know, I can't describe it and it's just great."

In December, Roberto Diaz had a son. He said it's changed the way he's viewed life. The outlook helped Diaz stay calm as things tightened up on the final six holes.

On the 12th, leading by four strokes (-19) Diaz played a conservative 5-iron as Peter Uihlein (-15) went for broke.

"I was aiming at the flag," he said. "I was just trying to give myself good looks the last four holes."

Uihlein recorded a 3, an eagle, pulling within two. He'd move to one off the lead at 13 when Diaz bogied. He'd tie it at 15 with a birdie. But on the 17th, a couple missed putts cost him a stroke.

"17 was a three-putt, the first one of the week. Kind of a bad time, but, it is what it is," said Uihlein.

"It is bad for me to say this but he was great that they started pressing on towards me," said Diaz. "Because if I would have had a four shot lead coming down, down the last couple holes I probably wouldn't concentrate as much as I did."

After the bogey at 17, Uihlein hit his tee shot into the water at 18. He'd save for par, but stood back as Diaz two-putted for par himself, winning his first professional tournament in 193 tries. The win came just weeks after putting woes at Suncoast Classic led Diaz to tell his putting coach that he didn't think he could win a tournament.

"I'm never gonna win. I'm not a winner," he told his putting coach. "I'm just here to make money, it's my business and I want to take it as a business, I'm not gonna take it as a competitor and here I am, you know it's it's been awesome."

"This win means a lot for me, for my family, for my team, for different reasons, not only for the sentimental part of it. But like I told you, the monkey on my back is off," he said. "I feel a lot of relief, I feel a lot of weight off me. There’s only one thing that I wanted, it was to win. When my kid came along, I kind of put that off my mind, and now I have two things off my mind now.”
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