Oakland University Golfer Connor Jones Wins Michigan Publinx Medal Play Championship
CANTON – Connor Jones, riding a recent wave of confidence, wielding a trusty 3-iron and making an eagle-3 to finish won the 2017 Michigan Publinx Medal Play Championship in impressive fashion Sunday at Pheasant Run Golf Club.
The 21-year-old Oakland University golfer shot a 10-under 206 over 54 holes and two days, and won by five shots over Wayne State golfer Joe Biscaro and Henry Ford College golfer Jacob Kieronski, who each shot 5-under 211.
Jones finished second last week in the Horton Smith Championship at Detroit Golf Club, falling in a three-way playoff to Jimmy Chestnut, and said he came in thinking he should take the next step and win.
“It’s the first win since I was a senior in high school (Utica Eisenhower), our District Tournament,” he said. “This is just my third time playing in this. I was second two years ago. I grew up with all these guys. It feels good to win one, and being able to make eagle on the last hole was pretty cool. I was under par every nine holes I played this weekend. That’s what I was trying to do.”
Bill Zylstra of Dearborn shot a closing 112 for 220 to win the Senior title by one shot over Matt Wiley of Livonia, who shot a closing 108.
Jones said he hit his driver just four times over the two days, opting on most holes to go with his 3-iron, a Titleist driving iron/utility club.
“I hit it about 260 (yards), and I can get it low like a stinger, or high and I can move it both ways, so on this course I was able to hit it most of the time,” he said. “I hit most of the fairways and came up with good lies on the ones I missed. I’ve been struggling with my driver, but I’ve been pretty pleased with my irons and putting.”
On his last hole of the tournament, the closing hole on the West nine, he hit a final driver, and then a 6-iron to just seven feet on the 540-yard par 5 hole.
“It turns out I didn’t need it, but I stayed aggressive and it was just a great way to end it,” he said. “I didn’t have a good spring in college golf – just struggled. After the season was over I went back to square one. The last two weeks I’ve played really well.”
Francesco Ruffino and Larry Sterling Jr. each shot 214 to come in behind the top three. Mike Kinnie (217), Jake Kneen (218), Joshua Shaw (219), Austin Kreger (221) and Max Palmer (221) rounded out the top 10.
Zylstra, 65, said it always feels good to win, even if it is against the guys his age.
“There are so many good young players, so you know your place,” he said. “I did strike it pretty well. I made one bad swing and made a triple (bogey) and then finished just 4-over (220). I whine about my putting. If I listened to a recording of myself I would probably want to puke. I played pretty well really.”
Wiley, who closed with an even-par 108 over the final 27 holes, missed an eight-foot birdie chance on the final hole of his round.
“Right in the jaws,” he said. “I almost caught Billy.”
Keith Klemet shot 222 for third, and Bob Papp 224 for fourth. Mike Fedewa (227), Jeff DePew (228), Michael Harte (228), Thomas Magyar (230), Peter Ojeda (230) and Charles Worrilow (234) rounded out the top 10.