ST. ALBANS, Mo. — By his own admission, former Texas Christian University golfer Drew Stoltz wasn't at as his best this week at the eighth annual Metropolitan Golf Championship.
But an eight-year veteran of various mini-tours around North America, Stoltz was good enough Saturday afternoon at the Country Club at St. Albans.
The 30-year-old Stoltz made all the shots down the stretch, finishing with a two-under-par 68 to post a one-stroke win over local favorite Shawn Jasper and Chris Thompson.
Steady all week, Stoltz made a pair of birdie putts over his final six holes to finish at 4-under-par 216, then watched nervously as both Jasper, a two-time champion, and Thompson missed birdie putts on 18.
"I knew where I was coming in. I just wanted to finish at 4-under and if either one of those guys made birdie to tie, I was fine with that. I was ready for a playoff,'' Stoltz said. "I just played steady golf all week. I shot 68, 70, 68. Not great scores, but this (St. Albans) course wasn't one where you were going to make a lot of birdies this week. It was playing tough and that's the way I like it. It wasn't a birdie-fest this week."
The victory, the seventh of his eight-year professional career, was worth $13,500 for Stoltz who began the final day tied for second with Belleville native Christian Heavens, one stroke behind Jasper.
Heavens, who shot 29 on the back nine at St. Albans on Friday, struggled from the outset in his final round. The former Belleville East standout finished with an 81 and well back in the pack with a 54-hole total of 218.
Jasper and Thompson tied at 207.
Jasper, who won the tournament in 2010 and 2011, shot 71, while Thompson had an even-par 70.
Tim O'Neal finished fourth at 208, while former PGA Tour player Jay Delsing was at 209. Former Edwardsville standout Chris Brant shot 70 and tied with Thomas Buran for sixth at even-par 210. Brant finished third a year ago.
"It was a good week. The course was playing much tougher this year,'' Brant said. "Other than a couple of hiccups, I was consistent and played good golf.''
Unfortunately for Heavens, a graduate of Georgetown (Ky.) College, one bad day, put a damper on an otherwise very good week.
"It was just one of those days where I got off to a bad start and it didn't get any better. Nothing went right,'' Heavens said. "My goals coming into today were to win or turn this into a learning experience. What could I learn from a day like today? It's disappointing, but I'll bounce back. I'm not going to let a day like this sidetrack me from working toward playing on the PGA Tour someday.''
Former Waterloo player and 2012 champion Mitchell Gregson shot 74 to finish at 221. Mark Gardiner of Mascoutah shot 76 and finished at 222, while former Edwardsville standout Devlin Keenoy shot 79 and finished at 223.
Waterloo native Collin Neeman struggled to a final round 87 and finished at 231.