Onesi Wins Delaware State Golf Open Title
Aug. 4, 2010
Golf in Delaware: Onesi wins DSGA Open
Late birdies give final edge over Gray, Tobiason
By BRAD MYERS The News Journal
WYOMING -- Eric Onesi started his professional career with four consecutive missed cuts on the eGolf Tour in North Carolina.
But the Bear resident is now 1-for-1 as a pro in Delaware, as two late birdies Tuesday at Wild Quail Country Club propelled Onesi to a one-stroke victory in the Delaware State Golf Association Open Championship.
"It feels good. I was waiting for that jumpstart to my professional career, and I got it," said Onesi, who turned pro after graduating from Old Dominion University in May.
Onesi shot a 69 on Tuesday to complete three trips around the 6,803-yard layout in 12-under-par 204. Chris Gray finished second, with Michael Tobiason Jr. two strokes back in third, and Dave McNabb, Chris Krueger and Steve Cutler three back. Wilmington University golfer P.J. Tighe was the low amateur at 208.
Onesi eagled No. 1, but bogeyed Nos. 2 and 6. That gave the lead to Gray, who also eagled No. 1 and birdied No. 3 to get to 10 under for the tournament.
It was up for grabs from there, as McNabb, Krueger, Tobiason and Justin Martinson also reached 10 under during their rounds. At one point on the back nine, there were four players tied for the lead, playing in four different groups.
But Onesi broke out of the pack by getting up and down out of a bunker on the par-5 15th, sliding in a 10-foot birdie putt.
Then, after an indifferent approach on the par-4 16th, Onesi rolled a 30-footer firmly up the hill and watched it topple in, prompting an emphatic left-handed fist pump.
"I was hitting good putts all day that went by the side, and then I made that nice little 10-footer on 15 and it got me going," Onesi said. "The one on 16, I couldn't hit a putt any better. I was coming off a poor shot, but I stayed focused and stayed with the putting stroke I've been practicing all week, and it went in."
The birdie on 16 put Onesi at 12 under, but Gray had a 6-foot birdie putt to tie for the lead on the 18th hole. He missed, and Onesi came home with two easy pars for the victory.
"Five [under] was my number for today, because I thought 12 [under] for the week would win it. I just came up one short," Gray said. "I knew that last putt was for birdie and it would get me to my number, but I just hit a bad putt there. Nothing you can do about it."
Gray is originally from Dover, but now works as an assistant pro at Old York Country Club in Chesterfield, N.J. The sting of missing the putt on 18 was quickly softened when his 2-year-old daughter, Jordan, greeted him at the edge of the green.
"That's the best. Obviously, you'd love to win a golf tournament, but seeing these little ones changes you," said Gray, who has qualified for PGA Tour and Nationwide Tour events in the past. "This is the first time she's been able to come out and see me at the golf course, so I'm happy about that."
Onesi flew to Mississippi on Tuesday night to play in a Hooters Tour event, a flight undoubtedly made more pleasant by his first professional victory.
"It's a boost, definitely," he said. "The putts weren't going in early, but I stuck with it and they went in later."