Defending champion Chris Wilson was once stroke off the leader after Saturday’s opening round, but the Shawnee native found his groove and turned a second-day lead into his third consecutive Elks Invitational title Monday at Shawnee’s Elks Golf Course.
It’s Wilson’s sixth Elks championship overall.
“Today was tough,” Wilson said just moments after the final results were tallied. “The wind was big. You second-guess yourself on every yardage and club. It makes it tough.”
Wilson trailed leader Mike Cook by one stroke Saturday, but held a two-stroke lead of 141 to 143 over Cook on the second day. Wilson finished with a one-stroke edge over runner-up Robby Komahcheet III (216 to 217) Monday.
Cook fell to fourth place after facing Tyler Hargus in a playoff for third.
Wilson said recent rains made for a much better course this year. Recent droughts made for a dry course the past couple of years.
Wilson, a 1996 graduate of Shawnee High School, praised the competition, saying “there were some good players.”
“The guys played well,” he said.
Wilson said Komahcheet and Cook “had me chasing them.”
“There were some nerves down the back nine,” he said with a smile. “But I think that’s why we play… to have those nerves.”
Wilson’s parents were present for the three-day, 54-hole tournament, which celebrated its 53rd year this year.
“The course looks good,” Wilson said. “It’s always fun to come here and compete. I love this tournament.”
Wilson was recently promoted from assistant coach to associate head coach of the men’s golf program at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Wilson notched scores of 70, 70 and 75 during the three-day invitational. Komahcheet was tied for ninth after the first round, and was third on day two after being the only member of the championship flight to record a day-two round of under 70.
Komahcheet shot a 72 in the final round.
Cook shot an opening-round 70, and dropped to second place with a 73 on Sunday. Tyler Hargus notched a third-round 68 to tie Cook at 218, and it was Hargus that prevailed in the sudden-death playoff for third place.
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Chad Lawrence finished fourth at 223, and Jerod Niles was fifth at 225.
Jake Nicely was B flight’s champ with a 224 on rounds of 72, 74 and 78. Mark Inman was second at 227.
Zack Larman won C flight at 240 (77, 84, 80), and Bill Walden was runner-up at 245 (85, 80, 80).
D flight’s Billy Lawrence turned in a top score of 249 on rounds of 84, 85 and 80, and Jim Christian was second at 251.
Leslie Morris (254) won E flight, with Tim Tillery (259) coming in second, and Bo Starr (275) was F flight’s winner. James Palinkas (282) finished second in F flight.