After Calvary’s Nathan Jeansonne watched his tee shot on the penultimate hole of Tuesday’s Division III state golf championships drop into the cup, he didn’t dance; he didn’t scream and holler.
As a gallery including Tour star David Toms went bonkers, the Cavaliers sophomore calmly said, “Now let’s see if I can birdie 18.”
He’d been playing golf with Sam Burns for too long. Jeansonne knew.
Even though word of struggles by Burns, Calvary’s ace, trickled around East Ridge, Jeansonne likely sensed what would happen.
A par by Jeansonne at the final hole capped the best round of the day — a 4-under 67 — and a 1-under 141 total.
With the team title well in hand for Calvary, Burns shook off a balky putter and recorded four straight birdies on the back to shoot 70. Paired with Monday’s 70, Burns edged his buddy and teammate by a single stroke for medalist honors.
“It’s awesome. I didn’t think I was going to win the individual after I three-putted from inside 10 feet twice,” Burns said. “But I made a 20-footer for birdie on number 11 and got some confidence back.”
The sub-par totals from the pair who’ve played together since the age of 7 helped the Cavaliers to a 47-stroke victory over Loyola College Prep.
“It was pretty cool,” Jeansonne, said of his third career hole-in-one, an 8-iron from 155 yards. “Our goal coming in was to get three individuals in the top five.”
Calvary, playing without a senior, swept the podium, as Ryan Alford finished third at 147.
“We should be stronger every year,” Jeansonne said. “We have the same group and a couple of guys coming up. It isn’t going to get any worse.”
In the Division I contest, St. Paul’s rallied past Barbe to score an eight-stroke victory.
As the conditions, and perhaps the pressure of the final round, began to wear on opponents, St. Paul’s posted another pack of consistent scores.
Led by Brandon Pierce’s 2-over 73, all five Wolves shot 78 or better Tuesday.
The Buccaneers were forced to use one of two 88s, including one posted by Shane Fontenot, who torched East Ridge one day earlier with a 66.
Even though Tuesday’s team score for St. Paul’s was 15 strokes higher, the Wolves turned a two-day total of 27-over 595 into a victory.
The individual competition featured a dramatic finish. Captain Shreve’s Blake Traweek stood on the 18th tee as the leader, but hit his drive in the trees to the right. After not being coached on or advised of the situation, Traweek tried to take a direct line at the pin. His attempted recovery caromed off a tree and out of play. A quadruple-bogey 8 handed the trophy to the clubhouse leader, Logan Hayes of Barbe.
When Hayes learned of the turn of events on 18, he burst into tears.
“As an individual, you can never wish for anything more in a lifetime,” said Hayes, a senior, who posted an even-par 142 (70-72) total. “When you grow old and have kids, you want to tell them you were good when you were in high school. It’s something that will never go away. This is one of the greatest things I’ve ever done and I’m unbelievably happy about it.”
Pierce, Byrd’s Jeffrey Berry (75-69) and Peyton McCullouch (76-68) of Zachary finished second at 144. Traweek finished fifth at 145.
The Yellow Jackets finished fourth as a team. Freshman Carter Toms shot his second straight 74 to finish seventh.