07/10/17 — WCMA: Atta boy! Jones claims Open Division title

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WCMA: Atta boy! Jones claims Open Division title

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on July 10, 2017 5:50 AM


As they shook hands on the 18th green at Walnut Creek Country Club nearly 365 days ago, Open division champ Jonathan Burke shook Dane Jones' hand.

"You're going to get you one pretty soon," he said.

It did Sunday afternoon.

As the sky darkened in the distance, Jones two-putted on the final hole in regulation and clinched his first-ever Wayne County Men's Amateur Open Division championship at Lane Tree Golf Club on Sunday evening.

Jones became the fourth golfer -- and second of the day -- in WCMA history to file three consecutive rounds under par. Senior Division champ Lionel Sutton also accomplished the feat that included an eye-opening final-round 65.

"Big, big relief," Jones said.

How big?

Jones held a two-shot lead over Nick Adams with five holes remaining to play. That advantage dropped one to one shot as they approached the final two holes.

Each parred No. 8 -- the 17th hole of the day.

Adams' putt lipped out of the cup on No. 9, which dropped him to 6-under and gave Jones a two-shot cushion. Minutes later, Jones' playing partners -- former Open champ Jeremy Joyner, Brad Jones and Ryan Campbell -- each finished to give Jones the last putt.

With one fluid motion, Dane's putt dropped into the cup.

"Atta boy!" yelled Joyner.

Jones became ninth different Open champion and 20th golfer overall to win a division title since the WCMA's inception in 1999.

"It felt good knowing that I could just hit onto the green and relax...stay in the moment," said Jones, who logged four birdies, two bogeys and 12 pars.

"It was a totally different golf course than Walnut Creek. I played the same...hit fairways and greens, had one little slip-up last year. This year, I made sure I didn't have that and took it one shot at a time. That was the main thing.

"Nick played a heckuva round, is a solid player. He stuck to his gameplan and didn't make many mistakes."

Adams finished runner-up for the third consecutive year. Brad Jones posted a three-day 4-under-211, followed by Campbell at 3-under-212. Joyner, the first-day leader, ended up at 1-under-214.

Sutton blistered the LTGC layout.

He easily retained his crown with seven birdies, including five on the last six holes. His nearest competitor was Randy Adams, who fired a 54-hole total of 217.

Jim Hosey secured third at 218, followed by Stan Adams (219) and Bill German (225).

"It just started to click, just started hitting it good," Sutton said. "I can't say I putted really great the first two days. Today I made a few, kept it in play, scrambled a few times, got up and down...seemed to get through with no bogeys.

"The way they set the course up, a little bit short...there's a lot of opportunities for birdies out there if you keep it in play. I was very fortunate."

Sutton is the first back-to-back Senior Division champ since Bill Brewer won consecutive crowns in 2004 and 2005. Brewer also won in 2007.

John Zambelli ended second-round play tied with Robert Brown atop the Super Senior Division leaderboard at 144. Still spurned by losing the title in a one-hole playoff last year, Zambelli posted a final-round 75 -- which gave him a three-day mark of 219.

Ben King jumped up to second place at 223. Brown tumbled to third at 224, followed by John Grice (226) and Leigh West (226).

Mickey Nance picked up his second Masters Division title with a 226-227 decision over Charlie Watters. The two entered the final round deadlocked at 144. Nance has won a total of four WCMA titles, including two in Super Senior Division action (2000, 2003).

Donald Shaver collected third-place honors with a 233. Bill Best (234) and Joe McLamb (236) wound up fourth and fifth, respectively.