URBANA — Ryan Cole has always set his golf goals high, and the Linganore High grad’s drive and passion for the sport helped him earn All-American status at James Madison University.
Now, the 24-year-old has his eyes on the PGA Tour.
Cole added another entry to his résumé Wednesday, earning low pro honors in a field of 43 at the 98th annual Maryland Open at Worthington Manor Golf Course.
Cole finished tied with Chuck Thatcher for fifth overall in the tournament. Both golfers shot 1-over-par 215, three shots behind this year’s champion, Davis Lamb, whose home course is Congressional Country Club.
“I’ve been playing on the PGA Tour’s Latino American section,” said Cole, who lives in Mount Airy. “I’ve been playing in a lot of events, but I always look forward to coming home to this area.”
Cole, last year’s Maryland Open champion at Fountainhead Country Club in Hagerstown, spent the past two winters in Florida, playing in as many tournaments as possible. On the Latinoamérica Tour, he’s ranked 87th, with earnings of $3,409.
Cole turned pro in 2017. His best finish so far on the tour has been a tie for 27th at Abierto de Chile 2019 presentado por VOLVO.
In Wednesday’s final round at the Maryland Open, Cole battled both the challenging course and the extremely hot weather to stay in the hunt for the overall win.
He reeled off four straight pars to start his round, staying even. Cole bogeyed Nos. 5 and 8, making the turn at 2-over (37). He stayed in the hunt with birdies on Nos. 11, 16 and 18. A double-bogey on 14 kept Cole pretty much out of contention, but he retained the top pro spot at the end.
“Yeah, it was pretty hot out there today,” Cole said. “But you just have to stay hydrated, drink lots of water.”
Lamb didn’t mince his words when it came to the day, in general.
“It was brutal,” Lamb said. “The course itself was in great shape, but the weather ... wow.”
Lamb squeezed past challengers Peter Knabe and Nick Sorkin for the top spot Wednesday. Knabe and Sorkin tied for second at 213. Benton Weinberger was fourth (214).
Thatcher, the second-round leader, hit a rough stretch in his final round. A bogey on 4, double-bogey on 5 and bogeys on 6 and 9 took Thatcher out of contention.
“I was hitting better tee shots today, but I did not make putts,” Thatcher said. “That was the difference today. The heat was tough today, too.”