Ben Kohles secured the Dogwood Invitational on Saturday with a five-foot birdie putt on No. 18 at Druid Hills Golf Club.
He shot a 5-under 67 to finish 17 under to edge Bruce Woodall, the third-round leader who shot a 71 on Saturday, and Michael Kim, who both shot 15 under.
But Kohles said he won the tournament on No. 15 with a flop shot off an uphill lie that stopped eight feet from the pin. He made the par putt to stay at 16 under, one shot ahead of Woodall, his former Virginia teammate who was one shot behind and playing one group behind.
"That was a big momentum shift, right there," Kohles said.
As Kohles made the turn Saturday, he calculated that 17 under would win. A bogey likely would have ruined that possibility and forced him to change his strategy. Kohles said he doesn't practice the high, soft shot off an uphill lie, but he needed that shot because the pin was placed in the back left close to him.
"That was a big tournament moment," he said.
Woodall pressured Kohles with a birdie on the 352-yard 16th hole in which he hit a knock-down wedge to two inches. The tap-in tied him with Kohles at 16 under.
Kohles stuck his tee shot into the center of the green on 225-yard par-3 17th hole, but couldn't make the birdie putt.
Kim, who ran off three birdies between Nos. 13 and 16 to reach 15 under, also missed his birdie putt on 17 that would have moved him into a tie at the top.
Kohles and Kim moved to No. 18, a 579-yard par 5, while Woodall climbed up the hill to the tee box on 17.
Woodall said he knew he was tied with Kohles. His 4-iron sailed slightly left, one of the few greens he missed Saturday. The ball nestled into a sidehill, downhill lie in the rough, leaving him a tough chip.
Woodall played the green's contours, throwing his ball to the left, where it followed the ridge and slammed into the pin. It stopped some eight feet away.
"I was kind of trying to do that to stop it because there was no other way," said Woodall, who shot a 71.
He missed what he said was an easy, uphill par putt, dropping to 15 under.
"That's the way it went the whole back nine," he said. "I had really good looks at it, but couldn't quite get them to fall today."
Kohles hit two solid shots on No. 18, but couldn't reach the green in two. Kim, who still had a chance to tie Kohles, also couldn't reach the green in two. Kim's chip stopped six feet away; Kohles' stopped five feet away, but they were on the same line. Kim missed his birdie putt, but it gave Kohles a read. Kohles said he played it about two inches outside. The ball gently rolled in.
But Woodall wasn't done. An eagle on 18 would have forced a two-hole playoff. The hole had given up just two eagles during the tournament.
After a long drive, he hammered a 3 wood up the left side of the fairway. The ball stopped in a collection area just off the left side of the green, leaving him an uphill chip. The ball couldn't stay high enough, securing the victory for Kohles.