The 2019 LaFayette Chicken Dinner Golf Tournament came down to the 36th and final hole and this year's version produced similar late Sunday drama.
Defending champion Gage Smith and Alabama golfer Thomas Looney both began the day tied at 5-under-par and when the dust finally settled late Sunday afternoon, it was Looney earning his first Chicken Dinner title by a single shot in the 84th edition of the annual event.
Thomas enjoyed a three-shot swing on the very first hole. His eagle on the par-5, combined with a bogey 6 from Smith, put Thomas at 7-under for the tournament and dropped Smith to 4-under.
Smith would record three birdies and five pars to finish out the front nine, but Looney would put up birdies at Nos. 3, 6, 8 and 9 to record a frontside 30 and take a four-shot lead into the final nine holes.
However, the defending champion would make a charge to start the back nine. Three straight birdies would put him at 10-under after 12 holes, while Looney bogeyed No. 10 before coming back with a birdie at No. 12 to maintain a slim one-shot lead.
Smith took a step back with a bogey at the par-4 13th hole, while Thomas delivered a clutch birdie to push his lead back to three shots. He would extend the advantage to four with another birdie at No. 15, putting him in sight of the championship trophy with just three holes to play.
Smith, however, showed his championship pedigree with birdies at Nos. 16 and 17 to put the pressure on. Meanwhile, Looney went bogey-bogey at Nos. 16 and 17 and suddenly the pair went to the tee on the 18th and final hole, knotted up at 11-under.
But after coming up with a birdie on No. 18 last year to win by a single shot, Smith had to settle for a bogey 5 on Sunday, allowing Looney to put up a par 4 and win the tournament by a single stroke. Looney finished with a 66 on the day for a two-round total of 133. Smith would finish 67-67 for a 134.
Keaton Stanfield followed up a first-round 72 with a 69 on Sunday. He would get third place in a scorecard playoff against Ethan Dendy, who shot rounds of 69 and 72 to tie Stanfield at 141.
Levi Shelton (70-72), Ty Cole (69-73), Matthew Cleary (67-75) and Grant Langford (67-75) all finished at 142. Shelton would finish fifth in the championship flight on a scorecard playoff with Cole ending up in sixth place.