Sylvania's Kevin Kornowa reacts after missing a birdie putt on the ninth hole at Findlay Country Club in Findlay on Wednesday during the second round.
Randy Roberts / AP Enlarge
FINDLAY - These are uncharted waters, at least as far back as Kyle Coconis can remember.
The Zanesville native shot his third straight 2-under 69, outdueling playing partner Ethan Tracy to take a one-shot lead through three rounds of the 102nd Ohio Amateur golf championship.
Asked the last time he won a tournament, Coconis was stumped.
"Hmmm. The last win in an individual tournament? That's a good question," he said. "Let's just say, too long."
Coconis, a second-team All-Big Ten golfer for Ohio State this past season as a senior, is 6-under 207 through yesterday's round with 18 holes remaining at Findlay Country Club.
He said he won't be nervous, but at the same time he realizes how tenuous his advantage is.
"As close as it is, this could all turn around on one hole," said Coconis, who may be playing in his final amateur tournament.
Kyle Coconis reacts after making a putt on the ninth hole at the Findlay Country Club on Thursday.
Randy Roberts / AP Enlarge
He started the day two shots back of Tracy, an Arkansas recruit from Hilliard. He caught him on the second hole and took a two-shot lead when he made a nine-foot birdie putt at the sixth hole while Tracy was failing to get up and down from the thick rough left of the green.
Tracy had a 72 and was at 208, with Alex Martin, an Indiana University golfer from Middletown, shooting a 72 to get to 211 for third place.
Coconis announced after the second round that, if he were to win the Ohio Amateur, he planned to turn pro immediately. That would enable him to play in the Ohio Open next week at Little Mountain Country Club in Concord and Acacia Country Club in Lyndhurst. He said after playing in a few events in the region, he intended to head for Florida to compete on the Hooters Tour, which begins in October.
Coconis hung on despite not playing well down the stretch. He hit an errant pitching wedge at 13 and made a bogey, then had another at 16. He reached the par-5 closing hole in two shots but three-putted for par.
"Just as long as I'm playing solid, I know I can win," he said.
Sharing fourth were Ohio State's Vaughn Snyder from Massillon, who shot a 70 and is at 211 along with Florida Southern's Matthew Stauch from Dublin, who had a 72. Blake Furgerson, a former Loyola (Md.) player from Concord, shot a 70 and was at even-par 213.
Among those making the cut was 13-year-old eighth-grader Alec Tahy from Dayton, who shot a 75. Tahy is believed to be the youngest player to ever play in the tournament.
Also making the cut were Tyler Riley (Findlay/UT, 75-217), John Powers (Bowling Green/BGSU, 75-218), Kevin Kornowa (Sylvania, 77-218), Alan Fadel (Toledo, 75-222) and Steven Drake (Findlay, 75-223).
Findlay CC, par 71
Kyle Coconis, Zanesville 69-69-69 207
Ethan Tracy, Hilliard 67-69-72 208
Alex Martin, Middletown 67-72-72 211
Matthew Stauch, Dublin 69-71-72 212
Vaughn Snyder, Massillon 71-71-70 212
Blake Furgerson, Concord 73-70-70 213
S. Anderson, Hobe Sound, Fla. 69-74-71 214
Kyle Cobb, Strongsville 67-77-71 215
Bo Hoag, Columbus 69-74-73 216
Brad Wright, Cambridge 76-72-68 216
David Becher, Dublin 71-73-72 216
Michael Drobnick, Hilliard 70-71-75 216
Tyler Riley, Findlay 70-72-75 217
Dan Rush, Avon 75-69-74 218
Jeff Mallette, N. Canton 71-76-71 218
John Furlong, Medina 72-72-74 218
John Powers, Bowling Green 70-73-75 218
K. Grabeman, Springboro 74-71-73 218
Kevin Kornowa, Sylvania 67-74-77 218
Jonathan Bowers, Columbus 74-71-74 219
Peter Samborsky, Dayton 76-72-71 219
Tim Gusweiler, Loveland 73-74-72 219
Andy Schillig, Pataskala 71-75-75 221
Ben Cavey, Wadsworth 74-75-72 221
Joe Kastelic, Cincinnati 74-68-79 221
Ross Beal, Uniontown 79-68-74 221
Alan Fadel, Toledo 73-74-75 222
A. Montooth, Columbus 74-70-78 222
J. Yarbrough, Powell 73-75-74 222
R. Gerwin II, Cincinnati 74-74-74 222
Sean Keating, Cincinnati 74-74-74 222
Aaron Crist, Miamisburg 74-76-73 223
Alec Tahy, Dayton 75-73-75 223
Ben Boyer, Dayton 75-76-72 223
Jeff Nieman, Maineville 75-72-76 223
K. Tournoux, Lakewood 73-74-76 223
Rob Chappell, Cincinnati 77-75-71 223
Steve Paramore, Ashland 77-75-71 223
Steven Drake, Findlay 72-76-75 223
C, Burger, Cincinnati 76-70-78 224
David Haley, Hilliard 77-75-72 224
M. McLaughlin, S. Heights 72-74-78 224
Vincent Cahill, Hilliard 78-74-72 224
Z. Glassman, Highland Heights 72-74-78 224
Missed Cut (local)
Brian Gerken, Waterville 77-72-80 229
Craig Soule, Port Clinton 78-74-79 231