MONTVILLE TWP. — That sigh of relief heard Monday at Medina Country Club came from Mark Maynard.
The recent Medina graduate had numerous putts just miss throughout his round, but found himself needing only a two-putt to win a second consecutive Southwest Junior Golf Tour Founders Cup championship.
“My putts just weren’t dropping,” Maynard said. “I had a lot of birdie putts that sat right on the lip and were halfway over. I was waiting the 10 seconds for them to drop in.”
After a quick glance at the scoreboard, Maynard calmly sank a birdie putt that gave him a two-stroke victory over Stephen Slocum of Olmsted Township and a second straight title in the 16-18 age division.
“I looked at the scores and realized that all I had to do was two-putt to win,” he said. “So I made sure to hit my birdie putt real light, because it’s a straight downhill drop.”
Maynard bounced back from a 3-over-par front nine to finished with an even back nine for a winning 3-over 75. Slocum carded a 77, while Rocky River’s Tim Smith and Medina’s Austin Schreiber had 78s.
With just three birdies on the day, Maynard was pleased to be crowed champion in the final tour event of his career.
“I’ll take a win here any day,” he said with a grin. “This was some pretty competition.”
The county had three other division champions in Medina resident Patrick Luth (14-15), Sharon Township’s Lauren McKinzie (16-18) and Liverpool Township’s Kaitlin Neumann (13-15).
Neumann, who attends Avon High, used a consistent round to card a career-low 78 and beat Jillian Hulls of Rocky River by a stroke.
It was the first sub-80 round of her career and her best day on the links since she carded an 80 in an event on Sweetbriar’s Legacy Course earlier this summer.
“Low 80s is usually normal for me, but this was really exciting,” Neumann said. “This was a big confidence booster for high school.
“My chipping, putting and driving were fantastic. It was really fun today.”
Chloe McKinzie of Sharon Township was three strokes off the pace set by Neumann and placed third in the 13-15 age group.
Older sister Lauren — a Highland junior-to-be — won the Founders Cup for the second year in a row. Last summer she won the 13-15 title.
This year in the next bracket up, McKinzie shot a 3-over 75 to beat the field, which included Hornets teammate Stephanie Horvath (81).
“I had an eagle on the par-5,” McKinzie said. “I got on in two and made the putt, and then I had a really bad bogey. Otherwise, I was parring a lot.”
Through nine holes, Luth was trailing Columbia Station resident and Southwest Tour points leader Joey Krecic by four strokes, but shot 36 on the back to record a 77 and win by two strokes.
“I knew I had to buckle down and shoot a big back-nine score,’ Luth said.
Also placing high in the 14-15 division were Mark Komives (Medina) and David Reiter (Brunswick), who finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Medina’s Tyler Grabowski shot a 48 to place third in the nine-hole, 10-11 age bracket, while Hinckley’s Chad Dubiel (50) finished in a tie for fourth.
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