Dan McIntyre likes where his shot is headed on No. 12 at Ottawa Park, where his only stumble came on No. 1.
For anyone who might be taking notice in bluegrass country, Perrysburg's Dan McIntyre is a young man on a mission.
The sophomore-to-be at the University of Kentucky will attempt to make the Wildcat golf team as a walk-on in a few weeks, and his 3-and-2 victory over Jay Mullett in the championship-flight finals of the S.P. Jermain Memorial match-play tournament yesterday at Ottawa Park certainly won't hurt as a tune-up for that bid.
Playing in his first Jermain tournament, McIntyre was also the medalist by two strokes with a 4-under-par 67 in the July 12 qualifying round here. He credits his improved play to two years of working for and hitting countless balls at The Practice Tee, a driving range near Perrysburg.
“I was just trying to make pars, put it on the green, give myself a chance and make him do something,” said McIntyre, who earned a 3.0 grade-point average in his first year as a business and political science major at UK.
“I've usually had junior events I play during this [Jermain] week, but this will be one I'm playing from now on. I'll be back next year. This is a big deal to me. There were 180 or 190 people in this [entered for qualifier], so it's good to be the champion. I had a great time.”
McIntyre, 19, a 2002 Perrysburg High graduate, began poorly yesterday. His tee shot on No. 1 flew well right up a hill and amid a cluster of trees, which he struck on each of his next two shots on the way to a bogey-6 and a quick 1-down deficit.
“I wasn't really loose and I blocked my tee shot to the right,” McIntyre said. “I had a side-hill lie and tried to hit something out to the fairway and I chunked it.
“But I hit all 15 greens [in regulation] after No. 1, and I had a lot of birdie chances. I got the long ones close and I made the short ones.”
It was the only trouble McIntyre would find before closing out the 1984 Van Buren High grad and former Wright State University player.
McIntyre - the 2001 Toledo District Golf Association's junior boys player of the year - responded with birdie 3s on the next two holes and took a 1-up lead.
He then smacked a 320-yard drive on the 473-yard, par-5 fourth hole before landing a 9-iron approach seven feet from the pin. When Mullett missed his par putt, he conceded the eagle to McIntyre, who was suddenly 2-up.
“I got my timing with my driver and hit it really well down the middle there,” McIntyre said.
McIntyre never made another bogey, added a birdie-3 on No. 11, and closed the title run with a five-foot putt for a birdie-3 at 16 after Mullett missed his own 30-foot birdie putt by inches.
Mullett, 37, whose furthest advancement in six Jermain events was the second round (last year) in the 64-player championship flight, did little wrong in the final.
His only bogey of the day came on No. 4, and he carded a birdie-2 with a four-foot putt on the 96-yard 14th hole to pull within 2 down.
“That was a good momentum swing,” Mullett said of No. 1. “I started off how I wanted to. But Dan just played real good. The only mistake I made all day was pushing a drive on 4 behind a tree, and that was more Mother Nature than a mistake.”
“You never want to see anybody start off like that, but [McIntyre] just came right back. There weren't really that many [scoring] chances for me. The only other chance I had was on No. 9 when I didn't get it up and down [for birdie]. Over 16 holes, when you only hit two bad shots, you can't be too upset with yourself.”
Mullett's even-par play could not counter the consistently accurate McIntyre, who ended the front nine at 3-under 33 and was 5-under after 16. All four of his successful birdie putts came from within five feet.
Hole No. 7 was special for Mullett, who scored his second career ace in a first-round Jermain match on July 13 - a 124-yard sand wedge.