Miguel Carballo ran away with the Children's Hospital Classic -- by two strokes.
The final round of the Nationwide Tour event lived up to its tradition of an action-packed, fast-paced last day with nine golfers having a chance to win $90,000 and a huge crystal trophy.
Miguel Carballo beat them all.
Carballo, who grew up in Argentina, shot 5 under par on his last five holes to finish with an 8-under 64 on Sunday to win the tournament at 24-under 264.
"I can't describe the emotion that I'm feeling," Carballo said through his caddie and translator David Walker. "It's absolutely spectacular. When I go to sleep tonight, maybe I'll think about it more."
Carballo and runner-up Brice Garnett played in the next-to-last group but provided the closing drama.
They arrived at the 18th green with Carballo at 23 under and Garnett at 22 under with the rest of the field in the clubhouse or out of contention.
Garnett's approach into the par-5 hole landed on a grassy spot in a hazard beside the green. He played his third shot as if he were playing from a bunker. The ball landed and rushed to the hole.
It hit the flagstick and trickled away. Had it dropped in, he would have surged to 25 under. Instead, he caught a bad bounce and followed with a two-putt for par.
Carballo safely hit out of a bunker. He sized-up his winning putt, struck it with the same precision that led him to tie for third in putting this week.
It dropped, he gave a slow over-hand fist pump and waved his cap to the ever-growing gallery. Then he embraced Carlos Lezcano, his instructor for the last nine years.
"We have a very good relationship," said Carballo who last won in 2007. "He's like my father. He knows how I go on the golf course. He's a good influence for me."
Carballo's win propelled him to No. 5 on the Nationwide Tour money list and a guaranteed spot on the PGA Tour next year.
A runner-up finish for Garnett -- who Monday-qualified into the Classic -- propels him to the next tournament. But placing second here easily tops his wins on the mini-tours.
"Every mini-tour player wants to be on this tour, and this is just awesome," Garnett said. "I'm so happy with my finish. I'm so happy with the way I held up on the back side.
"This is something to build on."
Aaron Goldberg shot 7 under on Sunday to finish in third place at 21 under. Matt Every finished fourth at 19 under, B.J. Staten claimed fifth at 18 under.
Justin Bolli, John Mallinger, Billy Hurley III and Doug LaBelle II tied for sixth at 17 under.
All but LaBelle, who teed off early, either had the lead at some point on Sunday or were within two shots of it at some point on a perfect day for golf.
Mallinger had the best opportunity when the afternoon began. He started the day at 20-under with a two-shot lead and pushed it four shots through three holes.
But Mallinger's tournament essentially ended nine holes early with his ball in the drink instead of a celebratory drink in his hand.
He doubled-bogeyed Nos. 6, 7, and 9 to shot a 41 on the front and take himself out of contention.
"I just didn't hit good shots, and once that happened I was starting to doubt myself," said Mallinger, played on the PGA Tour this summer. "I was pretty flawless for three rounds and today is just a shocker. It's just not acceptable."
Goldberg had a chance after reaching 20 under through 14 holes. Every was 19 under through 14 holes.
Bolli had his score at 20 under through 15 holes, and Hurley sat at 17 under through 14 greens.
"I was really trying to make birdies because I thought Mallinger would run away with it," Goldberg said. "Once I got going, it was fun and I realized where I was and it was fun. I wish I could have got a couple more birdies."
Despite their best efforts on the birdie-friendly course, nobody could quite catch Carballo.
"We came to play really well, and that's what we did," Lezcano said. "I have no words for how I feel."
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...