Triston Elston survived three rounds of match play, and then outlasted his challengers Sunday afternoon at the Baton Rouge Amateur.
Elston fired a 1-under par 71 in the afternoon stroke play final to edge Robert McCusker by a shot and win his second BREC tournament of the summer.
Connor Johnson finished third at 1-over after hitting every fairway and green on the back nine. Ed Mitchell was next at 2-over, followed by Wendell Akins (3-over) and Dustin Mire (4-over).
Held at Santa Maria golf course, the tournament uses a format that requires golfers to shift gears for the final round. It almost didn’t happen for Elston, who was pushed to the limit in the third round.
“The whole time, I was thinking, it doesn’t matter how you get there, the important thing is getting to Sunday afternoon,” Elston said.
Shawn Kjar was 1-up through 15 holes. Elston got up and down for par at 16 to stay alive, and then won 17 and 18 with pars.
“I got in (the final round) by the skin of my teeth,” said Elston, a recent graduate of Catholic High who will continue his golf career at Louisiana-Lafayette in the fall.
In June, Elston won the Baton Rouge Open with a two-round total of 4-under. Santa Maria officials were checking records to see if a golfer had previously won both tournaments in the same calendar year.
Elston’s local coach and caddy, Travis Coxe, was the title holder for both tournaments at one point in 2008. His “Coxe Slam” featured wins at the 2007 Baton Rouge Amateur and the 2008 Baton Rouge Open.
“Travis made some great decisions for me, and he really helped me,” Elston said.
Playing in a foursome behind Elston’s group, McCusker trailed by a shot until making birdie at 14. He stayed tied with Elston until a bogey at 17.
McCusker still had a chance to force a playoff with an eagle at the par-5 18th. His drove into a fairway sand trap and was forced to lay up. His third shot into the green landed a foot from the cup.
“This is the first time I’ve played in this tournament, and I’m very happy where I finished up,” said McCusker, who will defend his LGA Senior Amateur title later this month at Lake Charles. “Of course, I’d like to win, but I met a bunch of good guys and that made it better.”
Elston was 1-over through five holes including a bogey at the par-3 second. At No. 6, a pinpoint wedge shot led to a tap-in birdie. He topped that by draining a 20-foot eagle putt at the par-5 seventh, and made the turn at 2-under.
Johnson made the turn at 3-over, but rolled in a 40-footer for birdie at 10. He then missed birdie putts inside of 10 feet at 11, 13 and 14.
Triston Elston def. Shawn Kjar 1-up; Robert McCusker def. Matt Decell 2-up; Wendell Akins def. Wade Gautreau 2-1; Connor Johnson def. Mike Drury 2-up; Dustin Mire def. Corey Artieta 8-6; Dennis Brown def. Landon Covington 5-3; Scott Haynie def. Danny Nelson 3-up; Ed Mitchell def. Danny Heyward 1-up.
Triston Elston 71; Robert McCusker 72; Connor Johnson 73; Ed Mitchell 74; Wendell Akins 75; Dustin Mire 78; Scott Haynie 80; Dennis Brown 80.