After posting the low round of the tournament Wednesday, 69, Drew Jones continued his climb back into contention Thursday at the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament.
The Decatur junior, who started the final round seven strokes back, was within striking distance at 2-under par through 13. An errant shot into the water led to a double bogey and eventually a round of 1-under-par 71.
Jones finished tied for second with a four-round total of 294. Mason Overstreet of Laverne, Okla. won the Open Championship by two strokes over Jones and three other golfers with his 292. Overstreet also won the tournament in 2013.
“I knew if I played good [Thursday] I’d have a chance,” Jones said. “After the 69 in the third round, I was tied for fourth seven shots back. I was 2-under then hit it in the water and hit it out of water and over the green. I chipped and putted for a double and lost by two.
“Overall, I didn’t play good. I was missing with the driver all day and wasn’t hitting great. It showed Tuesday. But I ended well.”
Jones won the 14-15 division at the tournament last year and continued a four-year streak of top-five finishes at the event that featured golfers from across Texas and Oklahoma and a handful of players from other states and nations.
Playing in the open division for the first time, the 16-year-old Jones opened with a 74 on the windblown course at Wichita Falls Country Club.
Jones fired an 80 in the second round and was 12 strokes off the pace set by Overstreet.
Jones said the course played especially tough with the wind during the first two rounds.
“It was a tough week with the wind,” he said. “It was blowing at least 25 mph. A couple of times it pushed my putter and made me miss some putts. It’s tough especially on fast greens in the wind.”
After the 80, Jones set his sights on getting in the top five. A shower softened the greens Wednesday. Also with lighter winds, Jones made a charge, shooting a 3-under-par 69 to trim five strokes off Overstreet’s lead and get to a tie for fourth.
At the Texas-Oklahoma Tournament, Jones finished ahead of Class 3A runner-up Tanner Napier of Paris, who shot a 299.
“It was nice to play against some of the other top golfers around,” Jones said.
Jones will continue to play against elite competition this summer. He will tee off in the HP Byron Nelson Junior Championship Tuesday at the Northwood Club.
“It’s a fun tournament. I didn’t play as well as I’d hoped last year,” Jones said. “I did get to meet Peggy Nelson (Byron Nelson’s widow).”
Jones also wants to attempt to qualify for the U.S. Amateur later this summer.
William Reed of Runaway Bay and Blake Boyd of Bridgeport also played in the Texas-Oklahoma Tournament Open division and missed the cut. Reed shot rounds of 91, 86 and 83. Boyd posted 98, 89 and 101 in his three rounds.
Decatur’s Bryce Elder shot a 256 over three rounds in the 14-15 division. Hayden Bennett fired a 284 in the same class.
In the girls event, Bridgeport’s Lexi Read finished tied for 17th with a 322. Read scored rounds of 83, 78, 84 and 77. Burkburnett’s Sarah Moore won the tournament with a 289.