Luke Wilson

Luke Wilson is pictured.

Luke Wilson has won more than his fair share of golf tournaments.

Some were easy, some were hard.

None of his previous victories, however, came close to matching the excitement and craziness of Sunday.

The 2016 Cullman graduate nursed a three-shot lead at Windance Country Club as he stepped to the 18th tee looking to close out his first professional win on the Emerald Coast Tour.

Unfortunately, disaster struck at that very moment.

A car door slammed during his back swing, and Wilson blasted his tee shot left and out of bounds.

After taking a drop, he hit his next drive left and faced a 164-yard approach from the rough and trees.

Making matters worse, the player who was three shots behind had a 6-foot birdie putt awaiting him.

"I'm thinking he's definitely going to make that, and I've to get up-and-down to avoid a playoff," Wilson said. "The crazy thing is ... I had an eight-shot lead after nine holes. And that guy birdied five of his next seven to get closer."

As it turns out, Wilson didn't need to worry about a playoff.

He hoisted an 8-iron up onto the green, and the ball eventually rolled into the cup for a par.

Just like that, the tournament was over.

"The guys I was playing with said it was a good shot, and then they stopped and looked at each other in disbelief," Wilson said. "I had holed it. One of them told me it was the greatest par he's ever seen. When it went in, I was just like, 'Oh, my God.' It was crazy and awesome all at the same time.

"I'm still in shock about what happened."

Wilson won by three strokes, finishing 10-under over three days at the par-72 course in Gulfport, Miss. and garnering a $3,500 prize.

He opened with a 69 and followed that up with a 67 to take a three-shot cushion into Sunday's final round.

Wilson's adversity en route to the win didn't start on the 18th hole.

He had to replace his longtime driver shaft the day before the tournament, and he admittedly contemplated giving up his professional dream after a rough stretch of golf earlier this year. 

"Around July, I didn't touch a club for a week," Wilson said of his struggles. "Then I came back and started playing well. This was my first tournament in two months. I worked more on the mental side of it. I knew I had all the shots, but I always got in my own way with the way I thought on the golf course and how I thought myself around the golf course. It still hasn't really sank in, but it's awesome. I'm happy it's behind me.

"I proved to myself I can play with these guys. I don't need to quit yet (laughs)."

Winning golf tournaments is nothing new to the Wilson family.

Luke's older brother, Blaise, picked up an Emerald Coast Tour title back in June at the Dancing Rabbit Golf Club.

The 2009 Cullman graduate currently has three wins on the tour.

"It'd be nice to pass him," Wilson said. "But if not, oh, well. I've said it before, and I'll say it again — he's probably the best golfer I've ever been around."

Jake Winfrey can be reached at 256-734-2131, ext. 236 or at jwinfrey@cullmantimes.com.​

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