Golfer wins RDGA Championship in wire-to-wire victory
Brook-Lea Country Club member Tom Linehan, 28, posted a 2-under-par 70 to win the 2020 Rochester District Golf Association District Championship John H. Ryan Jr. Memorial title by five shots.
Linehan added his final round 70 to earlier rounds of 68 and 69 for three consecutive sub-par rounds and a 9-under-par 207 total for the 54-hole championship. It marked the first time since 1999, when Carter Lucas won at Oak Hill Country Club, that a member won the district title on their home course.
“As a Brook-Lea member, I’m proud of this course and excited that we got to host the Ryan Memorial,” said Linehan, of the 94-year-old Donald Ross-designed club. “It was really cool to win this title — and to win it here.”
During the first two rounds, the only time Linehan struggled was on the back nine; however, he excelled on the back side at Brook-Lea, including birdies on the par-5 10th and 11th holes, as well as the par-4 17th.
“It was fun — coming in on the back, knowing that I had a little bit of room, I could just relax and enjoy it,” he said.
The one player who challenged Linehan the most during the three days of the championship was Locust Hill’s Kyle Downey. Downey moved into contention on the second day of competition, tying a course record with a 7-under 65 and kept some pressure on Linehan the final day with an even par 72 to finish five shots back for sole possession of second place at 4-under, 212 for the championship.
Rounding out the top five were Shelridge Country Club’s Brandon Grzywacz in third place, finishing with a 71, and three players tied for fourth place at 2-under 214: Locust Hill Country Club’s Jason Lohwater and Shane Dobesh, as well as defending Ryan Memorial champion Yarik Merkulov, of Ridgemont, who had the low round of the day with a 6-under 66.
Earning a special medal as the low 55 and older player in the field was four-time Ryan champion John Kircher, who finished in a tie for ninth place at 217. All 40 players who made the 36-hole cut after Round 2 qualified to play in next year’s RDGA District Championship at Oak Hill Country Club.
Following play, Past President Mike Sorce received the 2020 RDGA John Henry Ryan Gentleman of Golf Award.