Buckeye leads Ohio Am

Second team All-Big Ten selection Kyle Coconis has a one-shot lead.

FINDLAY (AP) — These are uncharted waters, at least as far back as Kyle Coconis can remember.

The Zanesville native shot his third straight 2-under 69, outdueling playing partner Ethan Tracy to take a one-shot lead through three rounds of the 102nd Ohio Amateur golf championship.

Asked the last time he won a tournament, Coconis was stumped.

“Hmmm. The last win in an individual tournament? That’s a good question,” he said. “Let’s just say, too long.”

Coconis, a second-team All-Big Ten golfer for Ohio State this past season as a senior, stands at 6-under 207 through Thursday’s round with 18 holes remaining at Findlay Country Club.

He said he won’t be nervous but at the same time he realizes how tenuous his advantage is.

“As close as it is, this could all turn around on one hole,” said Coconis, who may be playing in his final amateur tournament.

He started the day two shots back of Tracy, an Arkansas recruit from Hilliard. He caught him on the second hole and took a two-shot lead when he made a 9-foot birdie putt at the sixth hole while Tracy was failing to get up and down from the thick rough left of the green.

Tracy had a 72 and was at 208, with Alex Martin, an Indiana University golfer from Middletown, shooting a 72 to get to 211 for third place.

Coconis announced after the second round that, if he were to win the Ohio Amateur, he planned to turn pro. That would enable him to play in the Ohio Open next week at Little Mountain Country Club in Concord and Acacia Country Club in Lyndhurst. He said after playing in a few events in the region, he intended to head for Florida to compete on the Hooters Tour which begins in October.

Coconis hung on despite not playing well down the stretch. He hit an errant pitching wedge at 13 and made a bogey, then had another at 16. He reached the par-5 closing hole in two shots but three-putted for par.

“Just as long as I’m playing solid, I know I can win,” he said. “Since it’s been that long [since winning], that’s not really what I’m worried about. I know I can.”

Tracy said he would try to treat the final 18 holes the same as he has the first 54.

“I know I’m capable of shooting another 67. Hopefully that would be enough,” he said, after birdieing 16 and 17 coming down the stretch.

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