Casey Adams holds on for Capitol City Amateur title

Casey Adams came to the 18th hole with a one-stroke lead, made a putt when his opponent didn’t, and won a golf tournament Sunday.

That’s the short story. The whole story is much more complicated.

Adams, 25, held a four-stroke lead after 13 holes of the second day of the Capitol City Amateur , gave up three shots on one hole, then righted himself and made a 20-foot bogey putt on the final hole to beat Jon McCaslin by one stroke for his first Cap City title, in the process denying McCaslin his fifth.

“It feels good, because Jon McCaslin is a great player,” said Adams, who reached 10-under after a birdie at 12. “To beat him speaks volumes to where my game is at.”

Adams lost in a playoff with Ryan Earl in the 2012 tournament, but avoided a playoff this year with his clinching putt, just after McCaslin — after a stubbed chip — missed his attempt that could have meant overtime. Adams shot 71 Sunday after an opening 68 for a two-day 139, 5-under par. McCaslin carded a 72 after an opening 68 to finish tied for second with Earl, who had Sunday’s low round with a 68.

“This is an important tournament for me,” said Adams, who works at Capitol City Golf Club and plays against McCaslin in regular Thursday afternoon games at the course. “It feels amazing to get over that hump.”

McCaslin made birdie on No. 15 to get to 5-under while Adams was taking a double-bogey, though he banged in a long putt to limit further damage. Adams later called that putt “huge, huge, huge” and a boost to his confidence with three holes left.

Both players parred 16 and 17 to set the stage for the final hole.

On 18, the long-hitting McCaslin launched his drive an estimated 340 yards, leaving only 50 yards in. Adams, meanwhile, found a fairway bunker on the left, and proceeded to punch out of the sand nearly straight right through trees across the fairway, leaving him a tricky 50 yards to the green.

McCaslin’s approach had come to rest against the fringe on the back of the green, and he didn’t get clean contact on the chip from there. He slid by the cup with his putt, leaving the door open for Adams to nail down the win.

The final putt was uphill, and Adams read it inside left.

“I said, ‘Just put a good stroke on it, and it’ll go in,’ ” Adams said. “I put a good stroke on it.”

McCaslin said: “I did exactly what I wanted to do — get to 18 down one. Casey played great, and that putt there was huge, obviously.”

Earl, who won last year as well as 2012, played a role in the back-nine drama Sunday, though Adams and McCaslin had no idea as they dueled down the stretch two groups behind.

Earl was sitting at 1-under for the round and the tournament (after an opening 72) heading to 12.

“I’ll try to make about six birdies coming in,” Earl said just before notching one with a short putt on 12.

He didn’t make six, but he did make three more over the final six holes. On 18, he played two balls while he waited on a ruling on his first tee shot. If the ruling had awarded him a par, he would have been, as it played out, in a playoff with Adams at 5-under.

Capitol City general manager Steve McNelly made the ruling, and Earl signed his scorecard for a 5 on the hole, leaving him one shot out of a playoff.

Earlier, on 13, Adams, who had been playing flawlessly, hit his first drive out of bounds to the left. McCaslin’s tee ball also went left, but he was a foot inbounds — but couldn’t get out of the trees, eventually taking a double-bogey. Adams scrambled for his own double-bogey to maintain the four-stroke lead.

“I missed some putts earlier,” McCaslin said, “and I didn’t take advantage of opportunities when they showed themselves.”

Adams’ title Sunday was his second conseuctive tournament win — he topped a field that included McCaslin the previous weekend at the Bremerton City Amateur.