Chris Ewert had come close before, but had never captured the top prize at Hollytree.
That changed on Sunday.
Ewert, playing steady golf during the final round, won the Men’s Club Golf Championship of Hollytree Country Club.
The 55-year-old, who had been competing in the tourney since about 1990, held off defending champion Reggie Howell by three strokes. The duo was tied entering Sunday’s final round of the 54-hole event.
“For me, at 55, it is special,” Ewert said. “… I didn’t play college golf; and I kept working at it and hoped someday to win it.”
Ewert had a final round of 2-over 74 for a three-round total of 221. After bogeying the second hole, he had consecutive pars from No. 3-17 before a bogey on the 18th. By the final hole, he had a five-stroke lead.
Howell, a two-time winner, had a final round of 6-over 78 for a 225. John Hammond finished third at 234.
Ewert and Howell distanced themselves from the field after sizzling opening rounds — Howell had a 6-under 66, while Ewert carded a 3-under 69.
Ewert felt the match may have turned on No. 13. Holding a three-stroke advantage, Ewert hit in the bunker while Howell chipped near the pivotal hole. Ewert got his ball within about “15-20 feet” and sank the par putt.
“If I didn’t make the putt, it could have been 10-feet past the hole,” Ewert said.
James Mills won the Presidents Flight, which was also 54-holes. He fired a 76 in the final round to overtake Jeff Skrocki.
Winning the 36-hole flights were: John McKinley (First Flight); Steve Cannon (Second Flight); David Melton (Third Flight); Doyle Dorsey (Fourth Flight gross) and Drew Coatney (Fourth Flight net).
2012 Men’s Club Golf Championship
Hollytree Country Club
Championship Flight — Chris Ewert, 69-78-74—221; Reggie Howell, 66-81-78—225; John Hammond, 76-84-74—234; Wes Alexander, 78-83-74—235; Joe Taylor Smith, 84-78-74—236; Jeff Keith, 79-82-76—237; John Carlton, 79-84-80—243; Jerrod Dickens, 84-82-79—245; Trey Webb, 79-80-86—245; Brandon Johnston, 90-78-80—248; Joe Freeman, 82-80-87—249.
Presidents Flight — James Mills, 84-85-76—245; Jeff Skrocki, 87-81-81—249; Dr. David Bright, 87-85-78—250; Dray K. Sikes, 94-86-89—269; Mark Waldie, 89-93-91—272.
First Flight — John McKinley, 79-74—153; Jim Vaughn, 79-78—157; Ed Barret, 80-79—159; Wesley Hill, 78-87—160.
Second Flight — Steve Cannon, 78-83—161; John Holland, 81-83—164; Carl Gray, 79-86—165; Ryan Freeland, 84-82—166.
Third Flight — David Melton, 82-87—169; Don Whitmer, 82-90—172; Scott Eckert, 86-88—174; Brent Allen, 85-89—174.
Fourth Flight — Gross: Doyle Dorsey, 95-85—180. Net: Drew Coatney, 68-65—133; Don Graham, 74-70—144; Zach O’Neal, 82-68—150.