Luke Tanner may not have left Hillcrest Golf Club with the fattest pockets Sunday, but no amount of money can buy what he now owns: the Navajo Trail Open tournament record.
"It would be nice to be able to take the first-place money, but it's OK," Tanner said. "Hopefully that'll come."
An amateur who just recently wrapped up play for Fort Lewis College and plans to go pro after attempting to qualify for the U.S. Amateur Championship in July, Tanner appears to have chosen the right career path.
"We're very proud of Luke, not only what he's done this tournament but in his career as an amateur," Hillcrest club pro John Vickers said. "It's great stuff."
Tanner was tied with ex-champion Jay Osmon heading into the par-5 No. 17, and it looked like the steady, big-hitting veteran from Alamosa might have some leverage with his calm nerves.
That leverage went by the wayside with a hop, skip and a plop, as Tanner drained a 35-foot chip shot from the left fringe that gave him an eagle and a two-stroke lead he would maintain to become the first-ever amateur champion in the open's history.
"I was thinking, if there was ever a chip in the whole tournament to give a run, that was it," Tanner said. "It was uphill, and making the chip had entered my mind. Right when I hit it, I hit it solid and saw it going toward the hole, and I knew that it was in."
The 17th was especially cruel to Osmon, who recorded just one bogey but watched his Professional Flight lead fall just moments after his overall lead, when Viboch sank a 30-foot, swinging eagle putt on the very same green.
"It got crazy there on 17," Osmon said with a chuckle. "I was thinking I was right in there.
"It's good to see Luke win, he's a great kid," Osmon said. "He's a good player, and he deserves it."
Farmington's Tanner - who had just three bogeys all tournament - got off to an excellent start by draining three birdies in the first six holes to pull within a stroke of Viboch, the two-day leader at 10 under.
Osmon and Tanner both made birdies on No. 10, then Tanner bogeyed, Osmon made birdie, and Viboch went out of bounds with a bogey to leave the trio knotted at 9 under after No. 11.
Viboch snapped the tie in unfortunate fashion, hitting his tee shot into a creek on the left of No. 13 and suffering a double bogey to drop two back.
The three golfers were all pars until No. 17, where Tanner moved to 11 under and Viboch sank his dramatic putt to split the winner's paycheck at $4,000 apiece (under rules that reflect those in the U.S. Open, if an amateur wins, there is no playoff for the professionals).
"The eagle was awesome," Viboch said.
"That put the exclamation point on the round."
All three leaders parred No. 18 in front of a delighted gallery, many of whom made a personal point of congratulating Tanner on beating not just Sunday's field, but history's.
"The course didn't seem easier, I didn't think, than in years past," Tanner said. "If anything, it seemed harder to me, just because the greens were hard and quick."
California's Viboch, who plans to return next year after his first swing at the Navajo Trail Open, was a little disappointed with his final-day letdown.
"I'm not really that upset with how I played, some of those putts that were dropping just didn't go in," Viboch said.
Jeremy Lederer, another former FLC golfer, shot a 68 to finish alone in fourth with a 204.
Bobby Kalinowski finally felt comfortable with Colorado yardages after making the trip from Arizona and shot 66 to finish 7 under in fifth. He was 5 under on the back nine Saturday.
Ex-University of Colorado captain and recently turned pro Pat Grady was 6 under, getting one shot better each day with a 70, 69 and 68.
Cortez's Micah Rudosky, playing in the final group, saw a handful of birdie attempts touch the lip of the cup and roll away as he ended up seventh with a 208.
Derek Tolan finished two behind CU teammate Grady at 4 under, and Keystone's Remington Post and Arizona's Josh Wilks wrapped up at 3 under.
Dusty Fielding followed Saturday's 68 with a 67 to rally to a 2-under total.
Devin Schreiner was second to Tanner in the Championship Flight with a 211.
Aside from a few showers, golfers had few complaints about the conditions over the weekend.
"The course was great," Vickers said. "(Superintendent) Ken Kirby and the staff did a great job. The greens were fabulous: firm, fair and very quick."
Vickers said most of the top pros complimented the immaculate care and expressed a desire to return next year.