Trailing by six strokes heading into the final round of the 24th Metropolitan Amateur Championship on Saturday, Teddy Jones of St. Louis needed a near miracle to get back into contention.
Instead, the 21-year-old Central Missouri State University junior settled for a lot of birdies.
Jones shot a 4-under par 67, then outlasted Patrick Riordan and John Anderson in a playoff to win the title at Westwood Country Club.
"I felt like I had a chance, but that I needed to get off to a fast start. I was able to do that and to be honest, it could have been even better than what it was," Jones said. "I had a couple of chances that I let slip away. Once in the playoff, I just tried to hit fairways and greens and it worked out for me.
"I won a college tournament last year in Oklahoma City and that was big. But this one is pretty big too. There were a lot of great players out here this week. To come out to a great venue and win here means a lot.''
Jones, Riordan and Anderson finished with 54-hole totals of 1-under-par 212. Riordan was eliminated in the four-hole playoff, while Anderson, who led after 36 holes, and Jones went into sudden death.
Both Anderson and Jones missed birdie putts on the first sudden-death hole, but when Anderson scalded a chip shot over the green for his third shot on the par-4 18th hole, Jones made a routine par to clinch the title.
"I'm sure John (Anderson) was nervous on that shot," Jones said. "He caught it thin and just hit it wrong. But I was nervous too. I'm just glad I was able to hold it together.''
Three players -- Belleville native Phil Caravia, 2013 champion Kyle Weldon and Skip Berkmeyer -- finished one shot back at even-par 213. Joe Migdal placed seventh at 215.
Three other metro-east players also played in the final round
Edwardsville High School junior Justin Hemings placed 12th. The 16-year-old Hemings shot a 74 to finish at 219.
Former Highland standout Brendan Bargetzi placed 20th with a 222 score. Steven Souchek of Columbia tied for 21st at 223.
Caravia, who opened with a 3-over par 74, recorded his second straight under-par round with a 70 and also maintained his 180-point lead over Berkmeyer in the battle for Metropolitan Golf Association Player of the Year.
"I'm pleased. I played very well the last two days out here,'' Caravia said. "It's just that first round really cost me. You can't afford to fall behind at this level because these guys are all really good players.
"But to tie for fourth, it was a good week.''
Hemings also will long remember this week at Westwood.
Playing in his first Metropolitan Golf Association event, Hemings showed he could hang with the top players in St. Louis on one of the more challenging courses in the area.
"Am I surprised I played this well here this week? Not at all. After seeing the golf course for the first time, I thought I would play well and that's what I did,'' Hemings said. "I played well today. I just didn't get up-and-down a couple of times like I had done the first couple of days.
"This was a good and a very enjoyable week. I had a lot of fun.''