The competition, for Chris Schmidt, is the golf course and not the other competitors.
"I don't look at the little scoreboards because I'm still playing the golf course," Schmidt said. "It's me and the golf course. I didn't really pay attention to the other guys."
Schmidt played a manicured Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club better than more than 100 competitors to win the Signal Mountain Invitational on Sunday just before sunset.
"I enjoy the competition, and it's about me against the course and how I handle myself and the internal battle," Schmidt said. "This win is going to give me a lot of confidence going forward in other events."
Schmidt bogeyed the last two holes, shot a final-round even-par 71 to finish at 8-under 205 and win the SMI by four strokes over Richard Spangler.
Philip Guess finished third at 213, Richard Keene was fourth at 214, while Matt Robertson and Tom Schreiner tied for fifth. Only two players broke par in the final round which was delayed about an hour due to thunder.
Robertson began the final round in second place and three behind Schmidt. Robertson fell out of contention after a triple-bogey on No. 6 and a bogey on No. 8. He dropped to nine shots off the lead and seven away from Spangler in second and finished with a 78.
"Have you ever been to a party that you weren't invited to?" Robertson said after No. 8. "That's what this is like."
Spangler began Sunday four behind Schmidt. He never pulled closer than three strokes. He trailed by six after a four-putt (the first from the fringe) double-bogey on No. 12.
"I wanted to take some chances and just didn't get it done," said Spangler, who was caddied by Andrew Black. "We had trouble reading greens on the back side, and I couldn't get comfortable with the putter."
Schmidt bogeyed three of his final five holes. But he had plenty of breathing room, and it would have taken a catastrophic collapse for him to lose grasp of the trophy.
"I didn't pay much attention to it, but I never felt a whole lot of heat," Schmidt said. "I finally looked [at a scoreboard] on 15 and figured I wasn't going to have to do something pretty crazy to lose."
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 ...