As he approached his fourth shot just off the green at the par 5 18th hole Thursday at Sim Park, Kapaun golfer Jack Cantele had no idea that teammate Matthew Gilbaugh had already posted a 1-under par 70.
At 1-under himself, Cantele had a feeling that somebody in the field at the City League Championship had posted a score in red numbers. All he was hoping for was a chance at par and to possibly get into a playoff.
What fun would that have been?
Cantele chipped in for birdie on 18 to shoot 2-under 69 and win the individual title.
The Crusaders ran away with the team title, shooting 285. Along with Cantele and Gilbaugh, Kapaun had Sam Stevens' 71 and David Auer's 75.
"I figured somebody on my team went low," Cantele said. "I was just hoping to get up and down, but it was a pleasant surprise to win when I chipped in."
Cantele probably shouldn't have been in position to tie or win the tournament outright. Sitting at 1 over on the tee box at 16, Cantele's wayward drive ended up in an opening where he could fire at the flag.
He made the miraculous birdie and then followed it up with another at 17 and the chip in at 18.
"It took me a while but I finally started making putts toward the end that were outside three feet," Cantele said.
At the turn, Cantele led the tournament at 2-under, birdying the fifth, seventh and ninth holes. But that momentum was lost on the backside, as he made bogeys at 12, 14 and 15.
Meanwhile, Gilbaugh was playing steadily. He opened with a bogey at one, but followed with a birdie at two and then another at seven.
"When I had wedge in my hand, that was the signal to go for the flag," Gilbaugh said. "But if there was anything more than a seven iron, then I played for the middle of the green. I tried to keep my philosophy the same for the entire round."
After two-putting the par-3 15th for par, the closing stretch of holes was a grind for Gilbaugh.
His tee shot on 16 hit a tree and went short and right, but he found the green on his approach for a two-putt par. On 17 his tee shot went right, into the trees, but he again salvaged par. Then on 18 his approach shot found a divot but he managed to get up and down for yet another par.
"Toward the end of my round, the wind started picking up," Gilbaugh said. "But I played well. I was pleased with how it went."
Cantele's drive on 18 went a little right, but it found a small divot, and all he could do was hack it down the fairway. Instead, it went right, 60 yards from the hole.
He hacked his third shot out, which found the fringe just short of the green. Seconds after he hit his chip, he lifted his club up and knew the ball was going in.
All Gilbaugh could do was smile and tip his cap.
Top 12 — 1. Cantele, KMC, 69; 2. Gilbaugh, KMC, 70; 3. Stevens, 71, KMC; 4. Hoffman, BC, 74; 4. Leichner, H, 74; 6. Auer, KMC, 75; 7. Ayers, NW, 76; 7. Nimcharoenwan, H, 76; 7. Nguyen, H, 76; 7. Haight, H, 76; 11. Frankamp, N, 77; 11. Dreiling, BC, 77.
1. Kapaun 285 (Cantele 69, Gilbaugh 70, Stevens 71, Auer 75, Campbell 81, Glasgow 82)
2. Heights 302 (Leichner 74, Nimcharoenwan 76, Nguyen 76, Haight 76, West 84, Hutfles 94)
3. Carroll 313 (Hoffman 74, Dreiling 77, Hoefling 80, Koester 82, Peter 83, Hybl 83)
4. Northwest 323 (Ayers 76, Ray 78, LaFever 84, Pierce 85, Welborn 90, Gustafson 102)
5. East 332 (Shelley 81, Heiman 81, Charles 83, Wagner 87, Pepoon 96, Khan 97)
6. Southeast 342 (Rhodes 84, Clark 84, Burgess 85, Wiebe 89, Goodman 89, Mercer 94)
7. North 343 (Frankamp 77, Taylor 82, Ingram 90, Tatum 94, Von Fange 101, Corteville 116)
8. South 439 (Dontay 92, Davenport 115, Craytor 115, Taylor 117, Price 120, Claussen