Owen Chivers was pretty sure it was going to be his day when he ran off a string of birdies early on the back nine in the Goshen Golf Classic on Sunday.
The 58-year-old Evans golfer was positive of it when a break on the 17th green helped him stay in the lead.
The shot on No. 17 turned out to be the difference. Chivers went on to par No. 18 and shoot 3-under-par 69 for a 1-under 143 total and a one-shot victory in the senior division over North Augusta’s Jim Brisson.
Chivers, who birdied Nos. 11, 12 and 13, had just come off a bogey on No. 16 when he faced a 30-footer for birdie on the par-3 17th.
“I hit it too firm, it hit the hole dead center and it must have popped up 8 inches in the air and landed next to the hole,” Chivers said.
If the putt hadn’t hit the hole, Chivers said it would have rolled off the green.
Chivers was off on the speed, but he knew the line on the putt from his 25 years as a Goshen member. He dropped his membership two years ago when his family moved to Jones Creek, where he is now a member.
“I’ve got 2,000 rounds here. That helped tremendously,” said Chivers, who spent his first 24 years in Dundee, Scotland, but didn’t take up golf until he moved to the States.
After his par on No. 17, Chivers still had to make a 7-footer for par on No.18 to win for the first time on the Regions Bank Amateur Series.
There was also a first-time winner in the regular division. Former Evans golfer Jacob Tilton, who will be a senior on the Armstrong Atlantic State golf team in the fall, shot 70 to win by five shots over Chase Epting (75 on Sunday).
“I finally won one – I finally got the monkey off my back,” Tilton said.
Tilton, 20, started playing in the series at age 15. He guessed he’s played in at least 30 events. He had finished as a runner-up four times.
Improved iron play and a hot putter helped Tilton strike for early birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6 and pull away for good.
“I made four putts outside of 20 feet,” said Tilton, who led by four shots after the sixth hole and never lost that advantage.
Chivers started this season with the goal of making the six-man Georgia Regions Bank team.
Chivers made the regular division team in 1995, but never played enough tournaments as a senior to make that team. Since players made the teams on points earned from top 20 finishes in the tournaments, Chivers is playing a full schedule this year.
His win came in the fifth of the nine events this season, where he has now won, finished second, tied for sixth and tied for 10th twice.
The victory was worth 75 Regions points, and he took over the points lead from Jeff Roberts, clinching a spot on the team.
“Next year I’ll go back to my old schedule (of a few tournaments a year),” Chivers said.
Chivers beat a field that included Augusta’s Kenny Larry, a 20-time winner who tied for third.
“I’ve been telling him his game is good enough to contend out here and play with us if he played more,” Larry said. “I’ve played a lot of golf with Owen. He’s a tough man to beat. I knew he had the talent; now he’s showing everybody else.”