TRAVERSE CITY – Scott Hebert nearly had quite a story to tell.
But it was Brian Cairns who had the last word.
And last shot.
Cairns, 49, sank a 12-foot birdie putt on 18 Wednesday to edge Hebert by a stroke in capturing the Michigan PGA Professional Championship on the Katke course at Oakland University.
Cairns, who birdied four of the last five holes, finished with a 3-under 69 on the day and a 7-under 209 for the three-day event. Hebert, the head professional at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, rallied with a 66 to close at 210.
Hebert was six shots off the pace starting the final round. He made a charge with nine birdies in the first 14 holes to put himself into position to defend his title.
“I got myself back in it,” Hebert said. “It would have been some kind of story if I had pulled it off.”
Hebert said he let his opportunity slip away when he was unable to birdie any of the last three holes, especially 17.
“I had a real nice look at 17, similar to the putt I made to win it last year,” he said. “I just misread it a touch.”
It was putting that kept Hebert, who has won six of the last eight Michigan PGA Professional Championships, in contention. He only had 23 putts on the day.
“I can’t remember putting less,” he said. “I didn’t drive it real well, which is normally a strength of mine, so to shoot 66 that way, I’ll take it.”
Although he finished with nine birdies, Hebert also had three bogeys.
“It was a rollercoaster ride,” he said. “But I’m proud of the way I played.”
Hebert started the tournament with a 74, which put him six shots back. He fired a 70 on Tuesday.
“I had a real bad first day, an OK second day and a pretty good final day,” he said.
Cairns won the event for a third time, earning the $6,000 first-place check.
Matt Pesta, who was the co-leader entering play Wednesday, was at 8-under-par through 12 holes of play, but then had a pair of double-bogeys. He finished at 211. Brent Goulding was 9-under-par with six holes to play, but had five bogeys down the stretch to end at 212.
Hebert earned $3,000 for taking second.