It seemed, and felt, like Tyler Wassell’s moment had arrived Saturday.
Wassell, 20, a junior at F&M, had won a junior golf tournament on this same course, Crossgates, three years previous.
He had fired a brilliant final-round 66 in the final round to finish second in the Lanco Amateur at Tanglewood in June.
But he had never finished first against adults.
And now he crouched over a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the final match of the Brent L. Miller Jewelers Lanco Match Play, holding a one-up lead with one hole left over Chris Fieger.
And a car alarm went off. Wassell hesitated for a minute. Some casual players gabbed loudly in the parking lot (“I’ll see you next week ...’’) and he backed off.
Then, quiet. No drama. Wassell’s putt rolled three feet past. Fieger’s 15-footer slid by. Wassell stroked in the par putt and collected his first Lanco trophy.
It probably won’t be his last.
“I was just thinking, you made it this far, finish it off,’’ he said afterward. “I feel like this summer, my game has really turned a corner. Chris Fieger is not an easy guy to beat.’’
Indeed, Fieger is a four-time Lanco Golfer of the Year and two-time winner of this event. He destroyed his first- and second-round opponents Friday, 7&6.
Saturday morning’s semifinals were nothing like that.
Fieger edged West Chester University sophomore Brock Fassnacht, one up. Wassell needed an extra hole to get past Greg Osborne, 64. The clutch 10-footer he made for a birdie on that extra hole, the 18th, may have laid the groundwork for the final.
“That gave me some momentum,’’ he said.
Wassell was two up after just two holes of the final. The golf got wobbly soon after that, and the middle of the front nine was dense with ball searches and penalty shots. Fieger drew even through five holes, and again with a two-putt birdie at the par-5 ninth.
“I knew I was all square,’’ Wassell said. “The back nine, I settled in.’’
The golf was very solid the rest of the way. Each player made one birdie. Wassell otherwise parred in. Fieger made one mistake, a pulled 8-iron that left him short-sided and led to a bogey at the par-3 17th.
That was the difference.
“I was between clubs,’ Fieger said. “I tried to hit the eight hard and pulled it. I probably didn’t need to. And I just couldn’t get a putt to fall.’’