From the middle of the fairway on the par-5 18th at Tanglewood Golf Resort, Drew Jones crushed his second shot. But the ball flew long and right of the green before coming to rest in the rough.
“My second shot I pulled too much and went off the side of the hill,” explained the Decatur sophomore. “I didn’t have a great lie. I just wanted to get on the green, get a putt and make a par.”
Jones did just that, saving his par from the rough with a chip onto the fringe of the green and two shots later capping an even-par round of 72 Wednesday in the first round of the District 9-3A tournament. The par round gave the defending 9-3A champion a six-shot lead over Bridgeport’s Ty Reed, heading into Monday’s final round at Turtle Hill Golf Course in Muenster.
“To shoot par on this course is like shooting under par anywhere else,” Jones said of his trip around Tanglewood. “The wind blows every day here.”
Behind the strong round by Jones, the Decatur Eagles posted a first-round total of 349. They lead second-place Bridgeport by 13 strokes. Sanger is in third with a 370. Decatur’s second team fired a 418 for fourth place.
The par round for Jones was his best this spring.
“The other ones were preparation for this tournament,” he said. “I’ve had a couple of rounds here and know the course.”
Jones came out and birdied the 351-yard, par-4 first hole.
“That gave me a boost of confidence,” he said.
Jones got to 2-under with his birdie on the 450-yard, par-5 third hole. He gave the two shots back with bogeys on four and seven to finish the front nine with a 36. He fired nine straight pars on the back nine.
“I didn’t hit that great,” Jones said. “I hit a few good shots. I never really hit it where I was in trouble and could have a bad score. On the two bogeys, I lipped out putts.
“My goal was to make 18 pars. I’m happy with a 72.”
Reed sank three birdies in his trip around the Pottsboro course. He birdied the par-5 sixth hole, par-4 13th and par-5 16th. He shot a 40 on the front nine with five bogeys. On the back nine, he shot a 2-over 38 even with a double-bogey on 14 and bogey on 18.
“It was not bad. I didn’t play great,” Reed said. “I hit my drives good and made some putts when I needed to. There were three to four putts that I missed. I feel good and set myself up good for the next round.”
Of Decatur’s top team, Jones was the lone player to break 90. Cade Lamirand finished at 90. Bryce Elder hit 91. Brendan Kerby shot 96, and Hayden Bennett 100.
Bridgeport’s Brayden Garrett shot a 92, playing in Jones’ group. Blake Boyd finished at 93. Austin Lennard fired 99, and Brazier Talley 102.
Playing on Decatur’s second team, Charlie Shannon fired an 85. He owns a two-shot lead over Sanger’s Brendon Cochran for the advancing medalist.
Lawson Harris hit 107 for Decatur’s second team. Jackson Bearden hit 111, Ethan Sij 115, and Dawson Thompson 117.
Playing as medalists, Clay Gillispie shot 93, Kale Bronniman 108, and Drew Graves 112.