LAFAYETTE TWP. —After missing a 1-foot putt late in his round Monday afternoon, the last thing on Colin Miller’s mind was the possibility of having a shot at the Southwest Junior Golf Tour’s Founders Cup Championship.
But as it turned out the Litchfield Township resident wasn’t out of contention as he went on to win a sudden-death playoff in the 16-18 division championship at Medina Country Club.
“After I missed that putt, I was like ‘pressure off,’” said Miller, who posted rounds of 37, 38 and 37. “I thought I was going to lose after that because I went on to double (bogey), then had a par and then went on to bogey and I was like ‘I just gained three strokes in three holes.’ I then birdied and pared out to stay at 5-over (par).”
Miller and Brunswick’s Nick Schley finished the new 27-hole format tied at 5-over 112 and headed back onto the course to decide the title.
Schley went on to bogey the hole after hitting his tee-shot to the left into the trees, while a relaxed Miller went on to par the hole and clinch the championship.
“When you playing this many holes, it’s about keeping your head into it,” the incoming Buckeye senior said of the win. “The whole time you have to be thinking, ‘I have to make this putt, this putt is important,’ and if I would’ve made that footer I wouldn’t have gone into a playoff.
“When you go into the playoff, you just have to hit the shots the way you normally do and you can’t think anything different. This definitely gets me rolling for high school and gives me a lot of confidence.”
Schley got off to a fast start with rounds of 37 and 36 to sit one shot off the pace of Jackson Farling with nine holes to play.
The incoming Padua senior continued that consistent play through 21 holes to be at 1-under but then found himself battling more than the course.
“I hit my tee shot left on the 22nd hole and I’m standing over my ball when I feel a bee and it stung me in the back,” Schley said. “There was a huge beehive above me and I got stung four times. I was like ‘Are you kidding me?’ I made a six on that hole, but it was fine.”
Brunswick resident Jared Toom was eighth overall in the 16-18 division.
Miller wasn’t the only county champ as Hinckley Township residents Madison Butler and Karly Alexander won the 13-15 and 16-18 age brackets, respectively.
For Butler, it was a perfect end to a dominating season that saw her win her third Player of the Year honor in the last four years.
The incoming Highland freshman bounced back from a 4-over 40 on the Blue Course to finish with rounds of 36 and 37 on the Green and Red, respectively to finish with a 6-over 113 and beat out Hinckley resident Alicia Porvasnik (119) for the title.
“I pushed myself so I would play better, because I really wanted this one to cap off the season,” Butler said. “It usually takes me a couple of holes to warm up and even when we only play 18-hole matches, it takes me the second nine and that’s when I come back. Fortunately we had two second nines today.”
Alexander capped off her summer campaign with her first Founders Cup crown, helping the Highland senior to end second overall in the POY standings. And like Butler, Alexander came back from a rough go through nine holes to turn in a pair of sub-40 rounds, which included a near-eagle on the second to last hole.
Not too shabby for a player that before Monday had never played more than 18 holes in a single day.
“I enjoyed it and I’m actually playing in a 36-hole event tomorrow, so this should get me ready,” said Alexander, who will be joining Highland teammate Jessica McRae today in a Ryder Cup event in Alliance.
“My iron shots did well and I had some good birdie putts. I got into trouble in the beginning with my drive, but had some good up and downs to bounce back.”
Hinckley’s Hallie Schuld was runner-up in the 16-18 age group, while Medina’s Nicole Sherman was fourth.
Tyler Grabowski of Medina finished seven shots off the winning pace in the 14-15 boys group, placing third overall with a 10-over 117. Hinckley’s Chad Dubiel tied for sixth with a 121.
In the 12-13 bracket, Medina’s Ross Scherler led area golfers with a 137.
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.