At 4 over par with four holes left, Drew Jones knew he needed a big shot as he walked up the 18th fairway at Tanglewood Golf Resort in Pottsboro Tuesday afternoon.
He found it, landing the ball within 8 feet of the cup from 100 yards out to set up an eagle.
“With my approach shot, I tried to hit the back of the hill and give it a chance to roll in,” Jones explained. “I left myself a weird fast putt, but luckily, I made it.”
The eagle started a 4-under finishing run on the final four holes to get the Decatur sophomore back to even par for the round and into a playoff for the Class 3A Region II silver medal. Jones took the medal with a par on the second playoff hole against fellow sophomore Bill Ramage of Irving North Hills.
“I had a triple, and it rattled me a bit,” Jones said. “It was an up-and-down day. Luckily, it ended well.”
It ended with Jones earning a trip to the Class 3A state tournament April 28-29 at the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop. Jones, Ramage and the Region II champion Tanner Napier of Paris advanced to state as the three medalists. Napier won the tournament with a two-round total of 144 that included a second-round 68.
Jones and Ramage finished at 149.
“I’m really happy. This year has been tough, especially earlier in the year,” Jones said. “I finally found out how to play this course. I’m really looking forward to state. The greens are a lot easier to putt on there.”
It will be Jones’ second trip to the state championship tournament.
Going into Tuesday’s second round, Jones’ journey south was far from guaranteed after a first-round 77 left him a shot back of Ramage and two other golfers.
“I knew I had to throw up a number of even par to get in the top three,” Jones said.
After a triple bogey on 15, Jones birdied the par-5 16. He finished his second round 6-under par on the four par 5s with two eagles.
“I wanted to take advantage of the par 5s,” Jones said. “Two eagles helped.”
Jones bogeyed 17 before getting his second eagle on 18. He then sank a 6-footer to birdie the first hole and had a birdie chance circle the hole on the second.
At 1-over on his final hole, the 450-yard par-5 third hole, Jones came up short off the tee. But he nailed a 3-iron from 230 yards away and landed the ball on the backside fringe of the green. He chipped the ball within 5 feet and drained the putt to get back to even par.
In the playoff, Jones and Ramage, who shot a 1-over 73, went back out to the par-5 18th. Jones had a putt to win it go by the hole.
The two then went to the 10th for a second playoff hole. Both players hit their drives to the right. On his approach, Ramage came up short of the green. Jones threw a dart to the left-center of it.
Ramage’s chip then checked up short of the hole.
“When I saw he hit his third shot short, I knew I could two-putt it to win,” Jones said.
Jones did just that, tapping in to gain the silver medal.