Tournament Information and News
The 2017 Wayne County Men’s Amateur Golf Championship Dates Are Set
July 7, 8 & 9
SWCC, GMGC, LTGC
Wayne County Men’s Amateur
Jonathan Burke couldn’t seem to adjust to the speed of the greens and missed numerous putts inside 10 feet a sunny, sultry Sunday afternoon.
The savvy golfer, instead, used the slow and steady approach.
Burke grinded out 15 pars and two bogeys on the tricky Walnut Creek Country layout and hit a remarkable shot to set up a dramatic finish on No. 18.
Tied with opening-day leader Dane Jones at 1-under, Burke hit a perfect sand wedge that dropped within 12 inches of the cup. Jones was just below the pin and to the right which just a slight curve on the undulating green.
Jones misread the putt and tapped in for bogey.
Seconds later, Burke posted a birdie and claimed his record fifth Open Division championship in Wayne County Men’s Amateur history.
“If you had told me at the start of the week that I would have been tied going into the last hole, I would have taken it in a heartbeart,” Burke said. “It was an awesome way to finish there.”
Burke’s phenomenal effort capped a day of comebacks in three divisions.
Four-time champion Lionel Sutton obliterated a six-stroke deficit to win the Seniors Division with a 3-under-par 141. Jim Alford upended reigning Super Seniors champion John Zambelli on a one-hole playoff. Mickey Nance emerged as the Masters winner with a 7-over 222 that included a final-round 76.
The gallery began to grow as Burke, Jones and playing partners Nick Adams and Jared Delveaux approached No. 15. Burke two-putted for par and seized a one-stroke lead after Jones and Adams each bogeyed the hole.
Burke kept his advantage through 16 holes.
On the 17th, Jones gave Burke a “gift” when he missed a birdie putt from about six feet. Burke settled for a bogey after dealing with an unplayable lie on the dogleg right hole.
“I couldn’t afford a birdie-bogey swing at that point,” Burke said.
Burke stepped up to the 18th tee box and hit a driver on the par-4, 401-yard hole that landed 109 feet from the green.
“A one-in-a-thousand shot,” Burke said.
The Barton College grad, who regained his amateur status barely six hours before he teed off Friday, polished off his championship run with a 5-under 139. Adams claimed runner-up honors for the second straight year with a 4-under 140.
Jones took third at 2-under 142.
“Nick is a great player. I will tell you that right now,” Burke said. “Nick Adams is a better golfer than me, that’s a fact. His time is coming…he’s going to win one. I was super fortunate that he didn’t pull it out today.
“Dane is just as solid as they come. He’s going to win one, too. It’s just a matter of time for both of them.”
While the Open Division experienced its own drama, a two-player race heated up on the final nine holes. First-day leader and 2015 Seniors champ Stan Adams held a two-shot advantage with two holes to play.
Sutton birdied No. 8.
Adams hit into the water on No. 9. Sutton capitalized on the break and two-putted, which gave him his fifth WMCA title.
“This is the fifth one of these I’ve won… never one won when I was leading (and have) always won coming from behind,” said Sutton, who ended the tournament at 3-under 144. “It’s easier to play when you’re pedal down rather than trying to protect the lead. Anybody in golf knows that.”
Adams registered a 2-under 142.
Earlier in the day, Jim Alford and reigning Super Seniors champ John Zambelli walked off the course and signed their respective cards. Zambelli appeared to have won his seventh WCMA title over the past nine years, but the official scorer noticed an incorrect total score on the front nine.
Each golfer compared their cards and realized they had the same hole-by-hole account. They headed off to the par-5 No. 11 for a playoff, won by Alford when he sank a birdie.
“I’ve heard about his reputation, I really have,” Alford said. “He had me kind of concerned on the front side because he made three birdies in a row. I was upset.”
Zambelli posted two bogeys on the back side and that allowed Alford to creep back into contention. Despite three birdies and three bogeys, Alford pressured Zambelli during the playoff.
After a decent drive, Alford hit a 3-wood from the fairway that left him shy of the green. He chipped onto the green, logged a birdie and pried the trophy from Zambelli’s fingers.
“I hadn’t made anything all day,” said Alford, who overcame three bogeys and recorded three birdies during his even-par 72 effort.
“I made it at the right time.”
Tournament official Parker King thanked everyone for their patience after inclement weather washed out scores from three divisions on Friday. He also lauded the support of primary sponsor Kenny Moore of Highway 55 Burgers, Shakes and Fries.
The WMCA rotation changes next season. Opening-round play takes place at Goldsboro Municipal Golf Course. Southern Wayne is the second-round site and the Amateur champions will be crowned at Lane Tree Golf Club.