On his 54th and final hole, Drew Jones read the green perfectly and put his par putt on a perfect line to the hole. But instead of falling in, the ball checked up at the lip of the cup.
“I just needed a little more on that putt. I didn’t need even an inch for it to go in,” Jones said.
Jones tapped in for a bogey on 18, dropping a shot to finish in a four-way tie for sixth at the Byron Nelson Junior Championship at Northwood Country Club in Dallas. The Decatur junior shot rounds of 71, 71 and 72 to finish with 4-over par 214 over the three rounds.
“I did better than last year, and it’ll help my ranking on the Junior Golf Scoreboard,” Jones said. “It’s great to get top 10. It’s a very tough tournament.”
Huntsville’s Chandler Phillips won the prestigious amateur event with an 8-under par 202. Pasadena’s Michael Parras took second with a 3-under par 207. Phillips and Parras were the only golfers under par.
On the narrow fairways at Northwood, Jones used his imaginative short game and ability to chip around the greens to help him to the top-10 finish.
“I hung in there. I had trouble with my tee shots,” Jones explained. “I kept hitting left. I was able to grind it out and get a top-10. It’s a tough course and doesn’t set up well for me because I’m a long hitter.
“Getting up and down was a big thing for me.”
After a strong start on the front nine for a third straight day, Jones moved up to fourth place at 1-over par. For the week, he was 1-under on the front nine.
“I always play good on the front. Everyone says the back was easy, but I played better on the front,” Jones said. “A few of the holes are really hard.”
Jones birdied the 461-yard, par 4 sixth hole for the second time in the third round. It was one of two birdies on the front nine.
He gave a shot back on the ninth hole.
On the par 4 11th, Jones chipped the ball within a few feet to set up a par putt. He followed that up with a stellar tee shot on the par 3 No. 12, landing the ball within 10 feet. His birdie putt stayed to the left, and he tapped in for par.
Jones dropped a stroke at 13 after his third shot out of the sand went past the hole and he two-putted.
He almost got the shot back on 15 as his chip landed inches from the cup.
Jones bogeyed 17 and had the hard-luck five on 18.
After his sixth-place finish at the Byron Nelson Junior and placing second at the Texas-Oklahoma Junior, Jones will keep a busy schedule. He plans to play a tournament in the coming weeks in Abilene. He’s qualified for the AJGA Junior in Memphis, Tenn., July 28-31.