Sounds like you got screwed by locals! About 4 years ago, I experienced some shady locals in Louisville. There was a really bad culture of shaving strokes and not counting the +4 per hole of each hole missed (late local yokels) in Rec. The co-TD was even debating what to give his buddies for the first 7 holes they missed. Pissed me off so bad. There's no debate when it's clearly in the rulebook! Chattanooga puts on some great events. Sorry to hear about that situation, but it doesn't surprise me. The farther you go south the more questionable people's ethics get!
I tied at Mt. Airy last year. It shows as a first place finish on my PDGA record even though I lost the playoff. So, you should be able to still tell people you won!