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Ryan Emery (Surprise, Ariz.) held a two-shot lead heading into the final round, and while not spectacular on day three, his 2-under 68 was enough to stay ahead of the pack, finishing at 12-under par to win the 2021 Desert Financial Open Present by United Rentals, his first professional victory.

Emery shot back-to-back 65’s in the first two rounds and had the second-round lead at 10-under par. In the final round he got off to a slow start, carding two bogeys and a birdie to go 1-over on the front and drop to 9-under par. He found himself one shot back of new leader Jon Trasamar (Blue Earth, Minn.) who was 2-under on the front nine as they made the turn.

“My thinking going in with the lead, the way this golf course was playing tougher and tougher, just play my game and make sure to hit fairways because the greens were firm and fast,” Emery said. “Wasn’t happy with my front nine, but was only down one to Jon, who was in my group.”

Both players made birdie on the 10th and gave it back with bogeys on the par-3 11th, then Emery tied things up with a birdie on the par-4 12th.

“That was big there, I wanted to get even with him as soon as I could to put a little more pressure on,” Emery said.

Trasamar had a costly bogey on 13 to drop a shot back, and Emery made another clutch birdie on the par-4 14th to get to 11-under and a two-shot lead with four holes to play. Trasamar then put the pressure on and cut Emery’s lead back to one after a birdie on the par-3 16th, but Emery answered with a strong birdie on 17 to get his lead back to two shots, with just one left to play.

“The 16th hole was pretty crucial, Jon made a great birdie and I missed the green, but was able to get up-and-down to save par,” Emery said. “Then after my birdie at 17, I wasn’t totally sure but thought I may have a two-shot lead. With how difficult 18 was playing I was feeling pretty good, but still had to finish it.”

Both players made par on 18, and Emery earned his first professional victory and more importantly, the $20,000 first place prize.

“It’s a great feeling, I gotta say, really great feeling right now,” Emery said. “I am happy with how I played all week, kept playing my game and didn’t worry about what others were doing. I hit the ball well and putted extremely well, which was key.”

Trasamar shot 2-under 68 in the final round and finished T-2 at 10-under, along with 2019 Desert Financial Open winner Brady Calkins (Scottsdale, Ariz.), who made a late run with four birdies in six holes on the back nine but couldn’t quite catch Emery.

Mac McClung (Fremont, Calif.), Samuel Saunders (Albuquerque, N.M.) and Lukas Euler (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished T-4 at 9-under; JD Fernandez (Mexico City, Mexico) and Jhared Hack finished T-7 at 8-under; while Grant Booth (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Griffin Wood (Scottsdale, Ariz.) and Eddie Stewart finished T-9 at 7-under par to round out the Top-10.

“While this not a PGA-affiliated tour, we’re grateful to attract so many great pros each year,” said Ron Amstutz, Executive Vice President at Desert Financial Credit Union. “A week like this one is a win-win-win all around; players get to compete and everyone enjoys a beautiful spring day while we raise funds to benefit Phoenix Children’s Hospital. What could be better?”

Amstutz actually played a key role in Emery’s win. Emery turned pro in 2018, and the last three years has played minimally while holding down a job as assistant golf pro at Arrowhead Country Club. Amstutz ending up awarding Emery one of Desert Financial’s two sponsor exemptions for 2021.

“We are happy for all of our winners, but especially happy for this one as Ryan earned one of our sponsor exemptions for the 2021 tournament,” Amstutz said. “We met about six months ago, started to talk golf and told me he was making a go of playing professionally. I told him to reach out to me later in the year, he did, and we wanted to give him an exemption so he could play in the tournament this year. Looks like that played out pretty good for him.”

The timing of the win couldn’t be any better, as Emery had been thinking about going to a more full-time schedule, but he didn’t know if he could do it financially.

“Oh yea, I’ll take a win anytime, but this will really really help as I try to start playing in more tournaments this year,” Emery said. “I had been thinking I want to gear up my schedule, obviously this will help, both financially and for confidence.”

It was a great week at Talking Stick for the 5th Desert Financial Open, a deserving winner was crowned, and more importantly, the tournament raised $7,500 for Desert Financial Foundation and Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s 1 Darn Cool School Program.

“First of all, congrats to Ryan, what a great three rounds and what a win,” Tournament Director Ryan Pray said. “I also want to say thank you to all of our supporters, especially Desert Financial Credit Union and United Rentals. “Without them and all of our sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to put on this great tournament and we wouldn’t be able to donate money to the Desert Financial Foundation. We will see you all next year!”

Final results for the 2021 Desert Financial Open Presented by United Rentals can be found HERE.

Entering its fifth year and Presented by United Rentals, the Desert Financial Open features a 54-hole tournament with a field of 156 players, with a cut to the low 50 players and ties after 36 holes. The tournament has a guaranteed purse of $125,000 – with $20,000 going to the winner. For more information visit the tournament website at



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