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Golf: Jones rebounds like champ

By Racey Burden | Published Saturday, April 30, 2016
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Finishing Up

FINISHING UP – Decatur’s Drew Jones walks off the 18th green after the final putt of his high school career. Jones shot a 71 on Tuesday in the second round, help the Eagles to rally for a third-place finish at the Class 4A state tournament at Onion Creek Golf Club. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

Decatur senior Drew Jones found himself in a position he never could have envisioned Tuesday afternoon – teeing up in the No. 3 spot for the Eagles in his final high school tournament.

For a round Monday, Jones’ usual brilliant game disappeared along with any chance of him garnering the state title with his score of 82. After three state top-10 finishes, Jones found himself 16 shots behind the leader and eventual state champion Sam Bennett of Madisonville after the first round.

“It was a disaster. Everything that could have went wrong went wrong,” Jones explained. “Everyone has those days. Jordan [Spieth] had it at the Masters – that’s the most recent example that I could think of. It sucks it was this week and my last [state tournament.”

With the hopes of an individual gold medal gone, Jones still had something to play for in the second round – as his teammates picked him up Monday with strong rounds to put the Eagles within reach of a state team medal.

Cade Lamirand blistered Onion Creek Golf Club on Monday with a round of 73 to get into third place. Bryce Elder also put together a round of 76. The Eagles as a team finished the opening round three shots back of third and 11 off the lead.

With that incentive, Jones did not sulk and instead went back to the range Monday night to find his touch.

Tuesday from the opening tee, the senior showed a determination to help the Eagles get on the medal stand. He shot a 2-under 33 on the front nine. After a double bogey at 10, he quickly pulled it back together to finish with a 1-over 71.

“I tried to reel back and take the big numbers out of play,” Jones said. “I got four birdies in a row on the first six holes. It felt better. I didn’t hit it great today, but it was a ton better.”

A last putt on 18 just drifted left to keep him from an even par round. But after shaking hands with his playing partners and walking off the green for the last time at a high school tournament, Jones knew he did his part to grab the carrot in front of him and his teammates.

“It’s good we got third. We haven’t got third or medaled at all at state,” Jones said. “It’s good to do that my last year at state and with this group of guys. A lot of them are my close friends.”

Almost 12 hours and 300 miles later, Jones was back on the course in Wichita Falls, playing in the Texas Amateur state qualifier. Jones shot a 72 to finish runner-up, showing his special ability on the golf course.

As he moves his address to Austin as a Longhorn for the next few years and makes headlines for contending and likely winning impressive amateur events on the way to trying to earn a PGA card, Jones’ 82 from Monday will long be forgotten. What won’t be is how he responded and the medal he helped secure for his four teammates, which is what champions do.

“Drew went right back to work. He went back to the range and worked hard,” said Decatur coach Fernando Escobar. “He knew what to do to help himself and the team. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

CLASS 4A
BOYS GOLF FINALS
ONION CREEK GOLF CLUB

TEAM

1. Argyle … 301 … 304 … 605
2. Pl. Grove … 305 … 309 … 614
3. Decatur … 315 … 307 … 622
4. Monahans … 312 … 313 … 625
5. Fredricksburg … 319 … 314 … 633

INDIVIDUALS

1. Sam Bennett, Madisonville 66 … 72 … 138
2. Joseph Wolcik, Tarkington … 75 … 70 … 145
3. Tommy Parker, Argyle … 75 … 70 … 145
4. Alex Isakson, Argyle … 75 … 70 … 145
5. Braxton Watkins, Pleasant Grove … 71 … 76 … 147
6. Kellen Gray, Wimberley … 76 … 73 … 149
T7. Cade Lamirand, Decatur … 73 … 77 … 150
T7. Blake Socia, Carthage … 78 … 72 … 150
T7. Aaron Robledo, Seminole … 75 … 75 … 150
T7. Jake Leatherwood, Snyder … 75 … 75 … 150

DECATUR

T19. Drew Jones … 82 … 71 … 153
24. Bryce Elder … 76 … 78 … 154
T46. Hayden Bennett 86 … 84 … 170
T55. Mason Hudson 84 … 87 … 171

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