LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, Ga. - Caleb Roberson won't be short on confidence today when he tees it up at Council Fire Golf Club in the Tennessee Golf Association State Amateur qualifying tournament. Not after closing out a five-stroke win in the Chattanooga Men's Metro on Sunday.
Roberson shot a 69, his second of the weekend, to finish at 2-under 208 on the challenging Lookout Mountain Golf Club course. The 23-year-old was the only player to finish under par, and a big reason why was he didn't three-putt during either of his final two rounds.
"I had three three-putts in a row the first day and then on the weekend I didn't have any three-putts," Roberson said. "I really think that ended up making the difference in the long run."
A former Lee University golfer, Roberson said the win was his first in the Chattanooga area, after a bunch of close calls in recent years.
"It was good to finally close one out," he said.
Chris Schmidt shot a third straight 71 to finish at 213, five shots back. Schmidt rolled in some long putts and put the pressure on Roberson a couple of times.
"I kept putting the heat on him and he responded," Schmidt said. "Like I told him up here [after the round], he putted like a champion."
Roberson started the day with a three-shot lead and the margin never got below two strokes Sunday. Roberson said he knew that if he played smart he would be tough to catch.
"Coming into today up three, I figured, just play the game, make par and if I shoot even, he has to shoot 4-under to beat me," he said.
Winston Brown, playing in the group ahead, was 2-under on his round and two off the lead after 14 holes, but a double bogey on 16 killed his chances.
Brown shot 70 Sunday and finished in third at 214, two strokes ahead of fourth-place Walt Moffitt (216).
It was between Roberson and Schmidt for most of the day. A Roberson bogey on 10 - he tried to reach the green from a fairway bunker more than 200 yards out - and a 30-foot birdie putt by Schmidt on 11 signaled a possible momentum swing.
Instead, Schmidt three-putted on 12. Schmidt buried another long putt on 15, only to see Roberson stick his tee shot to about 5 feet for a birdie on the par-3 16th. That all but sealed the win and Roberson didn't even seem to mind putting out on 18 in a driving rain.
Contact John Frierson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6268. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MocsBeat.