Despite his third solid round of the tournament, Caron still didn't realize he was the new Connecticut Open champion.
It wasn't until he was informed by members of the media that Caron knew he accomplished something special.
Shooting a 1-under-par 71 Wednesday, Caron won the CSGA 78th Connecticut Open Championship, finishing the three-day tournament with a 2-under-par 214.
"I'm still kind of shocked that my score was good enough to win," Caron said. "It's real surprising. Now I can say I won a tournament."
Indeed, the victory was a long time coming for Caron, whose last tournament win came in 1999. An assistant PGA Professional at Siwanoy Country Club in Bronxville, N.Y., Caron turned pro in 1994, playing on the PGA Tour for two years and enjoying a long stint on the Nationwide Tour, posting several runner-up finishes.
"It's been a while since I won a major event like this," said Caron, who earned $10,000 with the victory. "I've won some one-day tournaments, but not a major event."
Kyle Gallo made a fierce bid to win his fifth Connecticut Open title, carding a 3-under-par 69--the best round of the day. But the Kensington resident finished one shot behind Caron at 1-under 215. Danny Balin, an assistant PGA Professional at Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, placed third (even-par, 216), while defending champion Frank Bensel (Norwalk), Bobby Gage (Torrington) and Jeff Hatten (Farmington) tied for seventh at 2-over-par 218.
Consistency was the key in the final round for Caron, who registered two birdies, 15 pars and just one bogey. At even-par after a bogey on the first hole, Caron birdied the par-4 second hole, then parred the next seven holes before sinking a birdie putt on No. 10.
"After that bogey on the first hole I kept telling myself to keep working on my routine," Caron said. "I wasn't even nervous today. Playing on tour so many years the butterflies are real strong, but I wasn't nervous at all."
Caron, who posted rounds of 73 and 70 the first two days of the tournament, concluded Wednesday's round by parring the 18th hole.
"I asked my caddie Jimmy if I needed to make the putt and he said, `I wouldn't mind seeing you make it,' " Caron said. "My brother said that to me in Q-School in 2002. I had a 30 or 40-footer and he told me it would be great if I made it and I did and got my card."
The 40-year-old Caron, who was hampered by a finger injury in 2008, focuses most of his attention to teaching these days, but his game is still in top form.
"I don't have to grind every day, so I feel fresh," said Caron, who is married to West Hartford native Liz Janangelo, a former Duke University standout and LPGA/Futures Tour competitor. "On Tour, you have to grind every single week."
Balin, who entered the final round tied with Hatten for the lead at 2-under 142, shot a 2-over-par 74 Wednesday.
"It was tough for me right off the bat, but I played back strong and played well," said Balin, who had three birdies, one bogey and two double bogeys in the third round. "It could have been worse than it was. I just didn't have my whole game today, but I kept it going."
Balin, who finished his round with a birdie, is now focused on competing in his third straight PGA Championship.
"I'm leaving Saturday and I can't wait to get down there," Balin said. "This was a good tune-up for it and helped me try to find my game. I'm real excited for it to begin."
Gallo, who began the day at 1-over-par, recorded five birdies en route to shooting 3-under Wednesday.
"I'm a little disappointed, because I thought I had a chance to be at the top of the leaderboard after being 4-under through 10 today," Gallo said. "But I had my chances on 15, 17 and 18 and didn't convert them. I'm happy for Jason (Caron), he deserved to win this tournament."
Hatten, who shot a 69 Tuesday and a 74 Monday, was tied with Caron and Gallo for the lead at 2-under for most of the day. Yet a 41 on the back nine put him at 2-over in the final round.
Sam Bernstein (New York) placed seventh (219), Nick Torrance (East Lyme) and Andrew Gruss (Trumbull) tied for eighth (220), and Raymond Floyd Jr. of Old Greenwich, Steve Sokol of Milford and Mike Ballo Jr. from Stamford each finished 10th at 5-over 221.
Ballo, who was the early leader with a 3-under 69 in the first round, carded a 77 Tuesday and a 75 Wednesday.
"I only missed six greens and five fairways this week, so I'm hitting the ball as well as I can," said Ballo, who plays out of Woodway Country Club. "But I three-putted nine times, which hurt me. This course can be very unforgiving and it was frustrating for me at times. But finishing in the top 10 in a tournament like this is always a positive."