PARKERSBURG – A similar groundswell from Caddyshack would have helped Michael Sams immensely.
Instead, his putt attempt from the fringe on the final hole of Tuesday’s stop of the Mid-Ohio Valley Junior Golf Association stopped short of the cup by mere inches and enabled Zach McKenna to earn medalist honors by one stroke in the 16-18 age division.
McKenna captured his second title on the MOVJGA tour after carding a 3-under par 74. His playing partners Steve Farley and Sams, along with Sam Petty, finished in a three-way tie for second place at 75.
“My driver is my only downfall right now,” said McKenna, who will join Farley as an incoming freshman this fall at Methodist University in Fayetteville, N.C. “I play this course a couple times a year, so a 74 is not bad.”
McKenna’s group started on the 18th hole. The Warren High School graduate did not record his first birdie until the 365-yard ninth hole.
“I just put a long drive down the middle on the 18th hole,” McKenna said. “The green is elevated and kind of hard to hit, but I just put a little flop shot up on there within 10 feet and made the putt.”
With one event remaining on the MOVJGA schedule Friday at Woodridge Golf Club in Mineral Wells, Farley maintained somewhat of a cushion for first place at 119 points. He has been the model of consistency with four runner-up finishes and three third-place showings. The Warren graduate is still searching for his first individual title.
Sitting in second place in the point standings for the 16-18 age division is Williamstown’s Mac McCormick with 108 points. First place receives a $1,000 scholarship, while runner-up earns a $500 scholarship. Both McCormick and McKenna, who has accumulated 95 points, still can shake up the standings.
The field could have their hands full with 13-year-old Alex Easthom being thrown into the mix. Now that he has clinched the outright title for the 13-15 age division, Easthom has elected to join the older age division for Friday’s tournament.
The eighth grader from Ravenswood has put together an impressive resume with wins at Mingo Bottom Golf Club, Lakeside Golf Course and South Hills, along with second-place efforts at Worthington Golf Course and Golf Club of West Virginia. His 80 on Tuesday was eight strokes better than runner-up Cameron Bosner.
“I hit probably all but two fairways, but I just couldn’t putt,” said Easthom, who counted at least seven three-putts. “On No. 17, which is a 369-yard, straight par 4, I had like 50 yards left after the tee shot. I hit the green on my next shot, but three-putted.”
Through eight MOVJGA tour stops, Easthom has scored 121 points. Next in line for the 13-15 age division is a logjam consisting of Cameron Bosner (78), Logan Clegg (69), Trevor Gorrell (60) and Adeena Shears (60).
“I always play well at Woodridge, so I am looking forward to it,” Easthom said.
Blake Snyder earned medalist honors in the 12-and-under division after shooting a 62 over nine holes. Wes Jenkins is the points leader at 101 points, with Snyder (97) and Zach Redmon (91) following closely behind.