Wildwood’s Teddy Jones showed he had the right stuff by winning the area’s top amateur golf tournament.
Jones began the final round of the 24th Metropolitan Amateur at Westwood Country Club six shots behind leader John Anderson. When the day ended, Jones captured the tournament with a playoff victory that will put his name on the prestigious Jim Tom Blair Trophy.
Jones, a Eureka graduate who is a junior at the University of Central Missouri, shot a final round 4-under 67 to complete 54-holes at 1-under. He ended the 54 holes tied at 212 with Anderson and Pat Riordan.
“This is my biggest victory to me because I’m able to share my name on the Jim Tom Blair Trophy with so any other great players like (Kyle) Weldon, (Skip) Berkmeyer, (Don) Bliss, and (Jim) Holtgrieve,” Jones said. “It is really a special win to me, and also (for) my mother, father and sister who watched the whole day Saturday.”
Going into the tournament, Jones was not expecting much.
“My expectations going into the Metro were not so high,” he admitted. “I had been playing some inconsistent golf up to the tournament. I had more confidence going into the Metro than previous tournaments this summer, because of my play the previous week at Sunset Country Club in the Griesedieck District Championship.”
This was his third time competing in the Metro Amateur.
“My first time I don’t think I made the cut. The last time however I played really well and I believe tied for third,” Jones said. “I had only lost to Kyle Weldon, a good friend of mine who won for the second time, and also Phil Caravia, another great player and friend. Plus, I had beat some really good players such as Skip Berkmeyer, and good friend Joe Migdal, who qualified for the U.S. Am this year along with Kyle Weldon.”
Jones opened the tournament with a 75, and followed with a 70 on the second day.
“After the first two rounds, I was happy with my play,” he said. “The first day it took me five shots to get on the 12th green, my third hole of tournament. I sunk a 10-footer to make a triple, but wasn’t mad because I knew my putter was working. The second day was better, but I had some really good breaks off the tee to keep me in it.”
That brought him into the final round, down by six strokes.
In a fast start to the final round, Jones got to 5-under after No. 10 and 2-under for the championship. He would bogey the 13th and 16th holes on the inward 9, but a birdie on 18 would post a 1-under total with the last five groups on the course.
“Before I started the last round, my intentions were to make lots of birdies by hitting as many greens as possible, which I did,” Jones said. “I hit lots of greens that day. I really wanted to birdie hole one to get some momentum and take advantage of the easiness that hole offers. That putt and the really long birdie putt I made on hole 3 is what pumped up my momentum.
“After I missed a short putt on hole 5 for birdie, I knew that I could get on the leaderboard. And even though I missed it, I knew that I had a chance if I kept hitting greens.”
That he did.
“I played well that round and birdied my last hole to make the playoff,” Jones said.
Jones, Anderson and Riordan went to the 10th tee to face the 4-hole aggregate playoff. It was the first playoff to decide the tournament since Darren Lundgren captured his championship in 2007 at Boone Valley Golf Club.
Anderson and Jones made their way through 10, 16, 17 and 18 at even par. Riordan would bogey 3 of the 4 holes to fall short.
That sent the playoff to a hole-by-hole format to decide the champion.
After sharing pars on the 10th hole, Jones would par the 18th again to complete the playoff and capture the championship.
“When it was over I was absolutely overjoyed,” Jones said.