Ben Wolcott didn't own a five-shot lead at the end of play Wednesday like he had at the conclusion of Tuesday's round in the Choo Choo Invitational men's golf tournament at Council Fire.
The one-shot lead he owned was good enough to make him champion.
Midway through the back nine, the lead Wolcott brought into the third day of the tournament was gone. But he recollected himself in the closing stretch, and his birdie on No. 18 gave him a 3-under-par 69 for the day and a three-day total of 16-under 200. Playing partner Michael Nagy shot 7 under in the final round and finished runner-up at 201.
Wolcott, who played at Dickson County High School and will be a senior on the University of Mississippi's golf team next school year, played the front nine in 2 under Wednesday. But he saw his lead over Nagy, a Michigan native who recently completed his college golf eligibility at Tennessee, reduced by three strokes.
"It disappeared quickly," Wolcott said. "On the front nine, I just wanted to stick to my game plan and do what I do. Nagy was holing putts from everywhere. I think he shot 5 under. It's hard to keep up with that."
A Wolcott bogey and a Nagy birdie on No. 10 left them tied. Then Nagy's tap-in birdie on No. 13 gave him a one-shot lead.
Wolcott got the stroke back the next hole when he got up and down for par from left of the green on the par 3 while Nagy registered his only bogey of the round.
With the two still tied coming to the finishing hole, Wolcott seemed to have caught a break when Nagy's tee shot on the par 5 drifted left and out of bounds. Even so, Nagy parred the hole.
With Wolcott's second shot having landed in a greenside bunker, he hit his third to within a foot of the hole. His putt from there clinched it.
"I didn't really want to go to extra holes with the momentum he had," Wolcott said. "I hit a good shot and was fortunate enough for it to go that close."
Wolcott, who shot 5 under Monday and 8 under Tuesday, said he drove the ball well all three days of the tournament. And he made a lot of key putts.
Seventeen of the 80 participants wound up shooting under par.
"You look and there are so many red numbers on the board," said Wolcott, who also won the tournament in 2013. "I knew it was going to take getting pretty low to get it done."
The third member of the final group was Knoxville's Wes Gosselin, who is entering his senior season at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
"To see Mikey play that well and still see Ben keep the pedal to the metal and close it out, it was great to watch both of them play," Gosselin said. "It was awesome."
Gosselin finished third with a total of 205. He capped his 3-under final round with an eagle.
"I played well," Gosselin said. "I hit it really good. I just had some putts run right over the edge.
"It was nice to make that last one, especially after not making many putts today."
Contact Kelley Smiddie at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6653. Follow him on Twitter @KelleySmiddie.