Kamaiu Johnson, whose journey against adversity amidst mutliple PGA TOUR sponsor exemptions captivated golf fans this winter, shot a final round 70 to overcome a top-tier field and capture the APGA Tour Las Vegas tournament Tuesday at TPC Las Vegas.

The 28 year-old from Tallahassee, Florida, started the day in a three-way tie for first place and managed his way at even par around the 7,081-yard, Par 71 TPC layout until carding a birdie three on the 14th hole to eke out the one-stroke victory over Nyasha Mauchaza of Port St. Lucie, Florida, with a two-day total of 138.  The players navigated winds estimated at 25 MPH in pursuit of the title as the APGA Tour made its debut at the prestigious PGA TOUR-owned course.

Tommy Schaff of Ridgeland, South Carolina, was another stroke back at 140 after his three-under 68 with Marcus Manley of Kissimmee, Florida, and Rovonta Young of Huntsville, Alabama, tied for third at 141.  In fourth place were APGA Tour stalwarts Willie Mack and Landon Lyons at 142.  Young and Lyons have APGA Tour victories this year and longtime APGA Tour star Mack played as a sponsor exemption in two PGA TOUR events this winter.

Johnson was selected for a sponsor exemption into the PGA TOUR’s Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January but his dream was shattered when he contracted COVID-19 and had to withdraw.  The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and the Honda Classic responded with exemption invitations later that week and Johnson was able to compete on the big stage in those events.  International media picked up on the narrative of dream shattered and revived, introducing Johnson to golf fans around the world.  He sank a 15-footer for the birdie at 14 and then knocked in an eight-footer at 18 to avoid a playoff with Maukaza and pocket the $7,500 top prize out of the $25,000 purse.

“The whole experience of playing at the PGA TOUR level has been a great process,” said Johnson, who dealt with 40 MPH winds in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Emerald City Classic last month.  “I went back to all those events and relied on what I learned. It all has made me believe in myself and it helped me today.”

The APGA Tour title is his first since winning the APGA Tour Championship tournament last September, leading to his sponsor exemption adventures.  Johnson and the full field of the APGA Tour’s top players will now travel to Arizona next week for APGA Tour Scottsdale April 18-20 at TPC Scottsdale. The APGA Tour then travels to PGA of America-owned Valhalla Country Club for APGA Tour Louisville in May before playing two more PGA Tour-owned prestige venues, TPC New Orleans and TPC Deere Run (Silvis, Illinois) in June and July.

The 59-player field included Alfonso Ribeiro, the TV personality and host of America’s Funniest Home Videos, who supports the APGA Tour’s mission of bringing greater diversity to the sport of golf.  Ribeiro is a top-notch celebrity golfer and he represents the PGA TOUR as a Brand Ambassador for the PGA TOUR Champions circuit.

The tournament was conducted under social-distancing and health/safety guidelines in conjunction with regional authorities.

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