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Tourney win caps strong summer for Shawnee golfer

Shawnee High School senior Evan Lyons has quite the golfing pedigree.

Lyons plays for a program that two years ago produced a state champion, Clark Engle, the latest in a long line of great golfers to come through the school. Lyons’ dad, Rick, was the head pro at Country Club of the North in Beavercreek for 11 years. Evan’s grandpa, El Collins, was the head pro at Reid Park for 35 years.

Lyons loved baseball more when he was growing up and still plays for the Braves. But after winning the Southern Ohio Junior PGA Tour Player of the Year award this summer, he’s realizing golf might be his best sport.

“This is probably the most confident I’ve been going into golf season,” Lyons said. “Since Clark left, I’m the leader of the team. I’m playing really well.”

Lyons shot two rounds of 68 last weekend at the Southern Ohio PGA Junior Tour Championship and won the tournament, for boys 14-18, by eight strokes at Wildwood Golf Club in Middletown.

His coach at Shawnee, Steve Tincher, sent him a congratulatory text message.

“Hope you keep playing well and make a run at the state title,” Tincher wrote.

The final event of the season was worth double points in the player of the year rankings, so Lyons captured that trophy with 615 points in seven events. He finished in the top four in six events and tied for second twice.

“I could never win a tournament,” he said. “I always came in second or third or fourth. After shooting 68 the first day, I had confidence.”

It was just the latest strong tournament for Lyons. He finished eighth overall and was the top junior finisher at the Springfield City Amateur in July. Lyons ranked fourth in the Central Buckeye Conference with a 38.4 nine-hole average last season.

Today is the first day of practice for boys golf teams around the state. Teams can play their first matches of the season beginning Tuesday. Lyons hopes to build on the tradition continued by Engle, who will start his college career at Ohio State in the fall.

Engle fell two shots short of qualifying for the U.S. Amateur on Monday at Coldstream Country Club in Cincinnati. He shot rounds of 68 and 74 and won a playoff to earn alternate status.

“Clark has definitely shown me some stuff,” Lyons said. “I’ve known Clark since I was little. I’ve been playing with him since I was 10. He’s always been my best friend. He has shown me how to hit some shots. He’s told me how to be calm. It’s not the end of the world if you hit a bad shot.”

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