The thing felt good coming off the clubface, a golf shot with magic and no little history attached to it.
Michelle Smith watched it go and sensed a fifth city women's golf title riding with it.
Karley Dobis watched it land a foot from the pin and sensed the birdies she'd left on the table were finally going to cost her.
In the end, Smith's tee ball on the par-3 16th vindicated both players' sense of things, as it led to a tap-in bird that gave Smith a 1-stroke lead and doomed the three college kids pursuing her to mere witness status.
Smith parred out, defending champion Dobis and Sarah Dusman parred out, and Smith had her fifth Fort Wayne Women's City Golf Tournament title, shooting even-par 72 at Chestnut Hills to finish with a 218 total, one stroke better than Dobis, who led Dusman by a stroke and Smith by two heading into Monday.
Dobis and Dusman – Ball State and Indiana, respectively – both shot 75. IPFW golfer Allison Curtis, the first-round leader, shot 73 to tie Dusman at 220.
“Age doesn't matter,” said Smith, who was 19 when she won her first city title and is 39 now. “I played well all three days, hit the ball well all three days. (Monday) I made a few mistakes on the front. But all in all it comes down to the last hole and the last putt.”
Plus that gorgeous strike on 16, which gave Smith all the breathing room she needed on a day when breathing room was at a premium, the lead swapping hands freely among Smith, Dobis and Dusman.
“That was really nice,” Smith said. “It was less than a foot and could have gone in easily. As soon as I hit it I just watched it and knew that that was a good shot.”
Dobis and Dusman only knew what might have been.
“Never really had great birdie opportunities until 16 and 17,” Dobis said. “But I didn't really play myself out of it. It was really close all day, which was a lot of fun. Michelle played really well today, really consistent.”
Dusman, meanwhile, was leading by a stroke before a double-bogey at the par-3 11th hole took her out of it.
“That was the thing that really got me today,” she said. “My second shot, I flew the green on the left side and I had no green to work with. Then I bladed my next chip and two-putted. It was unfortunate series of events. I was 2-over at the time and hit a double and went 4-over, and could never get a birdie putt to drop.”
Smith got two to fall on the back side, playing the last nine holes at 2-under. That made up for a rocky front nine in which she bogeyed Nos. 1, 4, 5 and 7 and had two birdies.
A younger head might not have survived that. But as Smith pointed out, she's not 19 anymore.
“I knew it was gonna be a shootout today, and obviously I'm a little bit older so things don't rattle me like they would when I was in my early 20s maybe,” she said. “So I think a little bit of the veteran in me pulled me on.”