Ryan Jones, a rising junior at Canton Central School, continued his successful summer golf campaign on July 9, shooting a 78 at Malone Golf Club and qualifying for both the New York State Men’s Amateur Championship and the New York State Junior Amateur Championship in the process.
Jones will travel to Soaring Eagles Golf Club in Elmira on July 26 and 27 for the Junior Amateur Championship, and will tee off Aug. 9 through 11 at Onondaga Golf and Country Club for the Men’s Amateur Championship.
While he has qualified for the Junior Championship the past several years, Jones’ trip to Onondaga will be his first trip to the Men’s Championship.
Jones has set lofty goals for himself for both competitions. He hopes to place in the top 10 in the Junior event, while aiming to make the third day of the Men’s Championship by remaining in the top 40.
“I have been qualifying for the junior ever since I was 11 and have made it every time. I tried for the men’s last year and missed it by two strokes in Watertown,” Jones said. “It feels great (to qualify) because it’s such a great tournament, and my dad can caddie for me.”
Jones’ father, Aaron, also competed in the Men’s Championship qualifier in Malone, falling short of the cut – and his son’s score – by one stroke.
“I am proud of him during the qualifier because he made a 9 on a short par 4,” the elder Jones said of his son’s round. “In the past he would let it bother him for many holes afterwards, but I think he is starting to mature more mentally and forgets about his bad holes sooner than he had done in the past. To shoot a 78 with a 9 on a par 4 and double on #16 is a very good round.”
Aaron Jones said his failure to qualify was bittersweet after he bogeyed four of his final five holes. His dismay turned to joy, however, once his son finished his round and had made the cut.
“I will now get to caddie for him and that will be a first. I am definitely looking forward to it,” he said. “Hopefully, I can help him with some decision making, but most of all I want to make sure he enjoys himself as he plays against the best amateurs in the state.”
For the younger Jones, he looks forward to having his father’s deep knowledge of the game on his side throughout the competition.
“Sometimes I don’t listen to him but he’s been around golf so much and knows what he’s talking about,” he said. “I think his advice will be very helpful.”