Matt Jaynes achieved a career milestone by winning his first Central New York PGA major, the 2019 Section Championship, at Shenendoah Golf Club at Turning Stone Resort Casino on Aug. 20.
Jaynes (Corning Country Club) sank a short birdie putt on 18 to clinch the crown over three-time champion Dennis Colligan. Jaynes closed with a 3-under-par 69 for a one-stroke victory, finishing 1-under 143 overall for the tournament.
“This is surreal,” said Jaynes, who finished fifth last year. “It’s going to take a little while to set in. I always felt like I had the game but I’ve never put it all together at the right time.”
The annual event was played Aug. 19-20 with the first round played at the Kaluhyat Golf Club. The tournament was sponsored by Club Car, Titleist, Taylor Made and Nike.
Colligan (Cazenovia Golf Club) finished even-par 144 after carding a 2-under 70 in the final round. First-round leaders Nick Serafino (Cavalry Club) and four-time champion Eric Manning (Elm Tree Golf Club) finished third and tied for fourth respectively.
The 36-year-old Jaynes and Colligan engaged in a shot-for-shot duel heading toward the clubhouse. But Jaynes came up with a clutch shot out of the bunker on 17 to save par then earned the win on 18.
Jaynes’ executed a difficult third shot to get on the 18th green for 1-foot putt for his fourth birdie of the day. His only bogey came on the par-4 first hole.
“It was steady pars and I had some good up and downs on the back nine in spots and kept the card clean,” Jaynes said. “Then on 18, I hit it to the weird number – 49 yards – especially out of the rough. But I was lucky enough to be on a flat lie and hit a better third shot.”
“I hit 4-iron, leaving it around 100 then I had it up there at 15 feet, hoping to put pressure on Matt,” Colligan said. “But he hit a great third shot, 60 yards out of the rough, and left it a foot from the hole. It was a great shot and he deserved to win.”
Colligan eagled the par-5, 552-yard eighth hole at Shenendoah and was 3-under at the turn. But Colligan’s putter failed him on back. He missed a 4-footer on No. 13 and a 3-footer on No. 16 for birdie then came up short on 5-foot putts to save par on 14 and 15.
Jaynes said his victory was especially gratifying because he played the final round with his mentor, 2019 Senior Section Champion Mark Tucker. Jaynes started his career at Cazenovia Country Club and worked for Tucker for five years.
“The best part about today is the guy I rode with. He gave me a start in the business. He gave me the chance as a young intern coming out of college as an assistant golf professional. He’s like a big brother. It was sweet to be able to share this with him.”
Jaynes and his wife, Sarah, and 3-year-old son, Carson, now reside in Watkins Glen.
Jaynes, Colligan and Serafino qualified to participate in the 53rd PGA Professional Championship April 26-29, 2020 at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas.