Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Notebook; Melnyks Share Winning Tournament Week

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Area Notebook; Melnyks Share Winning Tournament Week

Article excerpt

Byline: Garry Smits

Butler Melnyk doesn't like laying up on par-5 holes, according to his father, past U.S. and British Amateur champion Steve Melnyk.

He did last week during a playoff for a spot in this year's U.S. Amateur - and made an eagle anyway to punch his ticket to the Amateur that will be played at the Atlanta Athletic Club next month.

Melnyk, 32, a former Bolles and University of Georgia player and also a sports agent for the Wasserman Media Group, entered a qualifier at The Preserve on Rathbun Lake in Morovia, Iowa. He chose the site because it was near the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic and he was going to be there anyway to watch new client Patrick Rodgers, the world's No. 1-ranked amateur before he turned professional last month.

It was going to be a tough road to Atlanta. The Morovia qualifier had 25 players competing for only one spot. Melnyk shot 71-68 - 139 to tie Australian Aaron Wilkin at 5-under, and the two went to a playoff, at the par-5 18th.

Wilkin found trouble right away, hitting his tee shot into such a horrendous lie in the woods that he took an unplayable and eventually faced a long putt for par.

Noting his opponent's trouble, Melnyk curbed his instincts and laid up. He then hit a 70-yard wedge shot into the hole for a walk-off eagle to get into the amateur.

"He doesn't like to lay up," Steve Melnyk said. "He can usually reach any par-5 in two. It was the smart play to lay up but he got the best result he could."

Dad got a victory of his own last week. Steve Melnyk won the senior division of the Golden Isles Invitational at the course where he grew up, the Brunswick Country Club. Melnyk shot 4-under-par 212, with a 68 in the first round, and won the division by five shots.

He was a three-time winner in the regular division of one the state's oldest amateur championship, first played in 1949.

Also qualifying for the U.S. Amateur last week was University of North Florida player Joey Petronio, who finished second at Orange County National in Orlando after firing a 12-under 132. …

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