Austin Schoonmaker birdied three of the last four holes at Dayton Country Club Sunday afternoon to emerge from a four-day battle between two members of the Wright State University golf team with the Miami Valley Metropolitan Golf Championship.
The 21-year-old Schoonmaker, who is going into his senior year at WSU this fall, went into the final round with a four-stroke lead but got a strong challenge from Haney.
Schoonmaker had rounds of 65, 71, 67 and 70 for a 72-hole total of 273. Haney posted scores of 68, 68, 71 and 69 for a 276 total. Jeff Scohy finished third with a 281 total.
The best score of the day was the 65 turned in by Frankie Morgan, who finished fourth with a 282 total. Pete Samborsky’s 68 lifted him to fifth place.
Schoonmaker is a 21-year-old Springboro High School graduate who now lives in Maineville. Haney, also 21, is a Wayne High School product from Huber Heights.
“This is my first win since I went to college,” said Schoonmaker, who was never certain he could win this one. “I was hitting my drives terrible this week,” he said.
He thought about his performance for a moment and said, “I didn’t make a par on the back nine.” What he didn’t say was that he made six birdies in that stretch.
It was a warm and breezy afternoon that made club selection difficult.
Haney and Schoonmaker, who tied for third place in last year’s Metropolitan, had a two-way struggle after Scohy, the third member of their threesome, faded from contention late on the front nine.
Schoonmaker didn’t give up the lead until he hit a 6-iron approach over the green and out of bounds on the 297-yard, par 4 13th hole (DCC’s No. 4) and took a triple bogey seven.
It gave Haney, who was 7 under par, a two-stroke lead with five holes to play. Haney couldn’t hang onto it. On the 15th hole he drove his ball out of bounds and Schoonmaker birdied to tie for the lead with three holes remaining.
Schoonmaker then put the pedal to the metal, birdieing the 16th and 17th holes while Haney bogeyed both.
Haney and Schoonmaker played well in all four rounds of the Metropolitan, which was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first Dayton City golf championship.
Haney was individual runner-up in the recent Horizon League Championship in Florida, and he broke the course record at Twin Base Golf Club in a casual round eight days ago when he made nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under-par 61.