Dave McDonald was due.
After playing in the Kiwanis Columbia Championship Golf Tournament for the past 10 years, McDonald won for the first time Sunday at Columbia Country Club.
McDonald held off nine-time champion Dee Sanders, finishing at 214 after a final- round 72 to win the 54-hole tournament by one stroke. Sanders took second at 215 with a final-round 71.
The par-4 15th hole proved pivotal in McDonald’s victory. Following a poor tee shot and trouble in some trees left of the fairway, McDonald made a long, breaking putt for bogey.
“That saved the day,” McDonald said. “If I miss it and make double, Dee still had a 15-footer straight up the hill for birdie and then I would have been two down going into 16.”
Sanders said he saw that putt as the defining point in the tournament.
“After where he had been and at that point it looked like he was going to lose the lead that he’d had all day long but he made the putt,” Sanders said.
It came down to the par-5 18th hole to determine a winner. McDonald, who led by a stroke after the 17th, was on the green in three, but Sanders sent his short pitch shot into the green-side bunker.
McDonald said he was careful not to be overconfident after Sanders put his ball in the trap.
“I was just thinking don’t let down here,” McDonald said. “He could still chip it in and I still have a putt to make.”
Sanders got up-and-down from the sand but his par was not enough.
Both players said putting kept them in contention, but it was McDonald who had the better stroke.
McDonald held a one-stroke lead after 11 holes on Sunday and increased it to two after a birdie on the par-5 12th hole. Sanders came right back with a birdie on the par-3 13th to move within one.
McDonald also escaped trouble on the par-4 16th. He popped up his drive and had about 100 yards more to the green than Sanders, but ended up making another long putt, but for birdie.
McDonald said he enjoys playing in the tournament because of the strong field.
“I love the competition and I think that’s what brings a lot of the guys out here,” McDonald said. “We’re seeing more kids playing which is awesome.
“To me, that’s the whole point of having a type of deal like this to get more juniors playing the game.”
The most notable performance by a junior golfer this year came from Hickman golfer Josh Brady who placed fifth at 221, including a 73 on Sunday. Brady said a strong finish was key to his success.
“I doubled 15 and bogeyed 16 and then I was kind of bummed so I birdied 17 and 18,” Brady said.
Brady has played in the tournament the past four years and said it is his favorite.
“I don’t know what it is,” Brady said. “Maybe it’s the competition, but I get up for this tournament and practice hard so it’s really nice to see the hard work pay off.”
Ryan Schultz was third at 217 with a final-round 70, David Watson shot 220 with a final-round 72 and Dave Teel shot 222 with a final-round 75.
The opening round was held at A.L. Gustin on Friday and the second round at Lake of the Woods on Saturday.