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Tynan Jones hit his first hole-in-one in seventh grade. He stepped up to the tee on the 15th hole at the Skaneateles Country Club, a small par three, with the green elevated and tucked away.
Swinging his club, Jones hit a straight shot that he and Brian Sevey, his coach, watched sail into the distance and out of sight. All they heard was “tink, tink” — the sound of the ball hitting the flagstick and then the cup. Jones and Sevey looked at each other, assuming that sound meant good news.
The two walked up the green to confirm, finding the ball lying in the hole.
Six years after his first hole-in-one, Jones, now a senior at Skaneateles High School, has won back-to-back NYSPHSAA Section-III Championships. After COVID-19 delayed sectionals to the spring, Jones is hoping to win his third consecutive title and his first state championship after the pandemic canceled states in May.
“Ty’s on the short list of high school golfers in the state that can make a run for the title. There’s 99 guys that are going to be in that field and, realistically, half a dozen or a dozen actually have a chance to win it,” Sevey said. “He’s one of them.”
Sevey has been coaching Jones since seventh grade and watched the senior go from a “little kid” to a “grown man that plays golf.” On strokes where he previously hit a five-iron 140 yards, Jones can now hit 210 yards. In addition to physical maturity, Jones has strengthened his putting and short-game, the best aspects of his play, Sevey said.
Jones is able to hit further than most opponents his age, Sevey said. On a good day, Jones can drive 340 yards.
But before Jones began golfing competitively, he never watched the sport. He thought it was boring, instead sticking to ice hockey. His obsession for golf started at 10 years old, when he started playing with his dad, a huge fan of the sport.
The combination of Jones’ natural talent and his early start allowed him to take on a leadership role for Skaneateles when he was a freshman. By his sophomore year, everyone on the team looked up to him, Sevey said.
Jones usually practices for at least six hours a day, five days a week. He appears level-headed on the course, but he’s trying to perfect every shot, his coach said.
“It drives me nuts if I can’t do anything I want to,” Jones said of his meticulousness on the green. “It just drives me, and over time, it’s gotten me into where I am.”
During his senior campaign, Jones struggled with his swing, admitting that he didn’t feel good about his game until he found his rhythm toward the end of the fall. At times, he wanted to give up, but he’s glad he didn’t.
Jones helped lead Skaneateles to a 6-1 record in the altered regular season, shooting an impressive under-40 in all but one match.
“He’ll tell you that he battled his putter this year,” Sevey said. “Ty battling with his putter is still Ty putting better than anyone else in the field against him. Ty’s off day is still a pretty damn good day.”
In preparation for the sectional and state tournaments in the spring, Jones will play in local and national tournaments that aren’t through the high school. He’ll try to be on the course whenever weather permits, continuing to position himself for a chance to play in college.
“He’s got the whole package,” Sevey said.
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