O’Connor, a Mingus Union High School graduate who now lives in Scottsdale, edged 2003 Sedona Open champion Andrew Getson by one stroke at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course.
He took home a nice sports coat and $10,000 – the largest purse he’s ever won in a single event.
O’Connor’s three-day total – 70, 72 and 69 (211).
Just a month earlier, O’Connor missed the cut for the U.S. Open by two strokes.
In 1996, O’Connor finished third at the 4A state high school tournament, which gave him statewide recognition. After graduating from Mingus, he attended Paradise Valley Community College on a scholarship.
He stayed at PV for two years before transferring to Arizona State University. He tried out for the team as a walk-on and made the cut with solid rounds of 64 and 68.
Although O’Connor majored in business management, he has his sights set on pursing a professional golf career. He has won a few events on the mini-tour, but nothing like the Hilton Open.
Once O’Connor gets enough experience by competing in the Pepsi and Gateway Tours, he plans to go to qualifying school to earn his PGA Tour Card.
“I always knew he had the ability to do something exciting,” John Uidenich, O’Connor’s high school coach, said. “He was a natural and believed in himself. That’s the most important thing. I’m just lucky to be a part of it.”
Uidenich receives emails from O’Connor on a regular basis about his status. His next major tournament will be held in Colorado next month, and Uidenich plans on attending.
O’Connor was seventh in last year’s Sedona Open. He currently holds the course record at the Ocotillo Golf Club in Chandler, a 61. He graduated from ASU in 2001 and was an Academic All-American.