After an opening round that put Bloomfield Hills Lahser senior John Fortuna Jr. down three shots, it took one putt in the final round to turn everything around.
On No. 9 in the Golfweek Junior Tour event Sept. 2 on the campus of the University of Notre Dame, Fortuna saved par with a 20-foot putt and started his charge.
“From there, I just started draining everything,” he said.
Fortuna went on to post five birdies on the back nine, catching the leaders and forcing a three-man playoff.
“Coming in, I just wanted to put two solid rounds together. I wasn’t really thinking about how well I was playing,” Fortuna said. “I just knew if I put a solid score together, that anything could happen … so I just wanted to keep making birdies to give myself a shot.”
In the playoff, Fortuna made two pars, again relying on his short game the first playoff hole, sinking an 8-footer. His second par of the sudden-death holes earned him the championship.
“I was starting to feel a little bit of nerves, but I knew that my putting was putting me in good positions that day,” Fortuna remembered. “With every make, my confidence just kept going up. You don’t really realize it, but it gives you the feeling that every time you hit the putt, it’s going to go in.”
Fortuna finished 75, 70 for a 3-over 145.
He also had a solid junior year for the Knights, winning a Division 2 regional tournament and finishing 17th in the state.
“It makes me really confident going into my senior year, and I’m ready to go to the next level,” Fortuna said. “My goal next year is to win states.”