J.D. Hoft's golf game was built for days like Sunday.
His low ball flight and sharp iron play solved Fripp Island's Ocean Point Golf Links as a storm chased the final group in with strong breezes.
Hoft, who entered the final round of the Beaufort City Championship with a five-shot lead, did not face a serious charge and finished with a 3-under-par 141 total to win the tournament. Beaufort's Rob Simmons finished runner-up, even par for 36 holes after an eagle on 18.
Hoft said Saturday he needed to play smart to protect his wide margin and win his first Beaufort City title. He made birdie on three consecutive holes on the front nine, kept his cool after a bogey and didn't face a big number until a double bogey at No. 16, after he hit his drive out of bounds.
Scores soared on the final day, as Ocean Point played longer and stiffer breezes threatened shots. Reed Weatherford finished 11 over to win the professional division, shooting 73-82.
Hoft led by as many as eight shots during his final round.
"You know it's going to play tougher," Hoft said. "If I shoot even par, I take my chances."
The 31-year-old Hoft is enjoying golf again after elbow surgery sidelined him for more than a year starting in 2008. Doctors took stem cells from Hoft's bone to replace missing cartilage in the elbow. Hoft waited eight months before he started chipping again, 10 months before hitting balls again.
Now the self-described weekend warrior is winning golf tournaments again and this weekend will compete in the S.C. Amateur at the Country Club of Spartanburg, a course he has enjoyed in the past.
Simmons, the defending Beaufort City champion, will take a couple weeks off before competing in the U.S. Amateur in Colorado. His hectic schedule this past week included a victory at the Hilton Head Amateur, qualifying for the U.S. Amateur in North Carolina and driving back to Beaufort to defend his title on Fripp Island.
He said he thought before the final round that 3 under -- 141 -- would win. He made birdie at No. 2, but a triple bogey at the par-4 third halted his momentum. The adventure included a wayward drive right, an unplayable lie left of the green and blasting out of a footprint in a greenside bunker.
"That was kind of the undoing of the day," Simmons said.
Simmons held off Hoft in 2011 on Fripp Island's Ocean Creek Golf Course. Both rounds of the tournament this year were held at Ocean Point, which suited Hoft fine.
" He's got a really good ball flight for this golf course," Simmons said. "He hits a low, knockdown draw every shot."
Hoft received his trophy and pro shop gift certificate just before a storm swept in and closed the course for the day.
"I did what I needed to do," he said.
Beaufort City Championship
Final round at Ocean Point Golf Links, par-72
J.D. Hoft 67-74-- 141
Rob Simmons 72-72-- 144
Benji Gecy 75-73-- 148
Keith Potts 70-80-- 150
Josh Fickes 72-79-- 151
Joe Bryant 75-77-- 152
Patrick Mitchell 77-76-- 153
Alex Totusek 77-76-- 153
Brian Rizzo 76-81--157
Tommy Earl 75-86--161
Paul Robinson 78-85-- 163
Dennis Robinson 77-87-- 164
Second flight placers
Stone 81-75-- 156
Don Johnson 79-81-- 160
Russ Fickes 80-81-- 161
Marcus Byler 81-82-- 163
Third flight placers
Bobby Gecy Jr. 89-83-- 172
Bob Bicknell 87-88-- 175
Wayne Wicker 87-90-- 177
Brian Gecy 90-91-- 181
Senior flight placers
Phil Weber 75-70-- 145
Jon Verity 72-75-- 147
Belton McCarty 78-74-- 152
Dan McCormick 75-78-- 153