Patrick Newcomb saved his best for last and wound up winning the 100th Appalachian Wireless Kentucky State Amateur golf title at Kearney Hill Links on Thursday.
"I'm still in shock," the Murray State junior-to-be said after he rallied to beat Chris Morris by two shots.
After the biggest victory of his life, Newcomb got a bear hug from his father, Monty, his caddy all three days.
"Having my dad on the bag was big for me. It was awesome," Newcomb said.
"He really pulled me through. He kept telling me, 'You're still in it, don't give up, and we'll make some putts.' "
Morris, a recent Centre College graduate and newly crowned NCAA Division III champion, led Newcomb by one with three holes to go.
But just like last year, Morris let a late lead slip away.
He pulled his drive at No. 16 into the lake, and wound up taking a double bogey.
"Just a bad shot that came out of nowhere," Morris said. "Just straight-out pulled it. No excuses."
Newcomb had trouble of his own at the 16th, but he got away with a bogey to tie for the lead at 5-under.
He then seized the moment, and the momentum, at No. 17. He stuck his 132-yard approach 8 feet from the cup. After getting a read from his dad, Newcomb rolled in the birdie to retake the lead.
"That felt pretty sweet," he said, "because I hadn't made a putt all day."
Newcomb clinched it at the par-5 18th by rifling his second shot — a 217-yard 4-iron — to within 8 feet. He missed the eagle but tapped in for birdie to finish the day just as he started — 7 under par and two strokes ahead of Morris.
Newcomb finished at 68-69-72—209.
Morris shot 69-70-72—211 to come up short for the second year in a row.
"Bridesmaid again," the Maysville native said.
"I didn't have my best stuff today. It's rare if you're firing on all cylinders.
"But I want to give a lot of credit to Patrick. He hit some great shots the last two holes. He hit them when he had to."
Dan DePasquale finished third at 72-70-72—214. Playing in the next-to-last group, he birdied the 14th and 15th to get to 4 under. He had no idea he was so close to the lead at that point.
But he dropped out of contention when he hit a ball out of bounds at the 16th and took a triple bogey.
"I had no idea what was going to happen behind me, so I was trying to keep the birdie train going," he said.
"I'm very happy with how I played this week."
Dave Snyder of Somerset, a freshman-to-be at Kentucky, began the day in third, four shots out of the lead. But he never got anything going and shot a 76 to tie for seventh.
Bruce Walters II of Pikeville, who battled leukemia last year and was the surprise first-round leader with a 68, shot 83-77 the last two days to finish tied for 64th.
Newcomb, who played on Marshall County's 2007 state high school title team, was no doubt the happiest golfer at Kearney Hill on Thursday afternoon.
And his caddy was no doubt the proudest dad.
"I've got an older son, Nicklaus, who was OVC (Ohio Valley Conference) champion twice," at Murray State a few years ago. "And now Patrick's won the State Am," Monty Newcomb said.
"It's wonderful, and it sure makes me proud."