By Mike Gross
Connor Sheehan walked implacably through the broiling heat and into the Lanco golf record book Friday.
Sheehan shot a four under-par 68 to win the Lancaster Toyota Lanco Open at Crossgates Golf Club and mark this as the summer of Sheehan.
He also won the Lanco Amateur in June, and, with Derek McCarty, the Lanco Better-Ball two weeks ago.
That trifecta has been accomplished only once before, by Ken Phillips in 1983. Other than Sheehan and Phillips, only Bill Grove in 1987 has won the Am and Open in the same year.
“I love getting in that tournament mindset,’’ said Sheehan, who was the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Golfer of the Year at Millersville University in 2017.
“Now, I can just go out and play - no pressure. It’s pretty nice.’’
It seemed pretty routine Friday, even though Sheehan was dealing with a recent, odd and unintentional change in shot pattern: Starting at about the better-ball, he’s been hitting a sweeping draw (right-to-left), especially with his irons.
“The key is having one (directional) miss,’’ he said. “I’ve had one miss for a month and a half now. What I’m pretty good at is playing with what I’ve got.’’
Sheehan made five birdies Friday, and the combined length of the putts was only about 10 feet. The only bogey, after two straight birdies, came at the par-3 13th, when his 9-iron flew the green, to a back pin, leaving a treacherous chip. He missed a 10-footer for par.
Other than that, he steered it in smoothly, while the other contenders fashioned, “What-if,’’ stories.
Conor Gilbert, a former MU teammate of Sheehan’s, four-putted 13 en route to sharing second at two under-par 70. Gilbert bounced back from the 4-putt to birdie 14. He also finished tied for third in this year’s Amateur.
Also at 70 was recent Manheim Township grad Shaun Fedor, who double-bogied the first hole and bogied the second before playing from there to the house in five under. Fedor, who won the Lancaster-Lebanon League title last fall, is headed for IUP.
Ryan Dornes, who won the Open last year and in 2017, started bogey-bogey and doubled the 11th, but made five birdies, including 16 and 18, to get into a six-way tie for fourth at 72.
Touring pro David Denlinger also shot 72, also with a wild ride. He struggled out of the gate, then birdied four of five holes in the middle of the round, before hitting his second shot out-of-bounds at 18 en route to a seven. He was low professional.
2017 Lanco Am champ Corey Gast double-bogied the first en route to a six-birdie 72.
And so on.
Sheehan avoided all minefields, and also didn’t wilt in the heat, despite being the only guy in the field that walked and carried his own bag.
“It’s like a rhythm thing,’’ he said. “It’s what I’m used to.’’
So is winning.