Cole Thomas came into the Lima City Men’s Golf Championship with a lot of confidence and left with even more after a 2-up win over Spencer Stubbs in the championship flight title match on Sunday at the Shawnee Country Club.
The University of Northwestern Ohio golfer from Arlington High School won the city championship in his first year in the tournament and is the first college golfer to win it since Dillon Klein in 2013.
“Confidence. That would be the only thing I would take away from this week. I have been working on something in my swing the last couple weeks and it has finally turned into something positive. I knew I had the game to play everybody else in the field and play them well,” Thomas said.
Thomas’ confidence was more than a feeling. He had some numbers to back it up.
“Coming into the tournament I was nine over (par) through the last 127 holes I’d played or something like that. I just know I’m playing good golf. Nine over through 127 holes tells me I made a lot of pars and I’ve played some pretty consistent golf,” he said.
The numbers went Thomas’ way on the course, too, on Sunday when he built a four-hole lead by the seventh hole of the championship match.
Stubbs, a Lourdes University golfer from Bath High School, made it interesting by winning No. 8, No. 12 and No. 14 with birdies but couldn’t overcome Thomas’ early lead and an uncooperative driver.
“I was down four with five to go. I just wanted to make it a competitive match and see if I could put a little pressure on him and the end of it. I’m definitely tipping my hat to Cole today. He was fantastic off the tee. He probably missed only one or two fairways all day,” Stubbs said.
“I was terrible off the tee. I found myself having to invent shots. I had no open shots, no open lines. I did a lot of punch shots and had to try to shape them,” he said. “It’s tough to score well, it’s tough to keep in a match when you’re not putting yourself in a good position off the tees. But I had a really nice run at it, I made three birdies coming down the stretch.”
Thomas built his big early lead by winning No. 3 with a par, No. 4 with a par, No. 5 with a par and No. 7 with a birdie.
“He just didn’t hit the shots he wanted to. For me, all I was doing was parring,” Thomas said. “That’s what you have to do in match play is just keep making pars. I made one birdie all day and he made like three coming down the stretch.”
“I jumped out that early lead, which was great for me because you don’t have to force yourself at the end. You don’t have to keep pressing and keep pressing. You can play conservative and kind of hit cruise control at the turn.”
Seven other flight championships were decided on Sunday.
Greg Bunn defeated Collin Rambin 2-up to win the first flight. Josh Gaines won the second flight 1-up, 20 holes, over Thomas Nolte. Kirk Slusher was the third flight champion with a 2-up win over Keenan Newland.
Brian Norton won the senior championship flight 1-up over Dennis Medeiros. Jeff Harris defeated Jim Sherrick 4-and-3 to win the senior open flight.
Mike McGough won 1-up over Mike Allen in the super seniors 1 flight and Denny Thompson beat John Gronas 2-up in the super seniors 2 flight