The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 3, 2014

Nevada wins Joplin golf invitational

Nevada’s young boys prep golf team continues to sparkle during the early season.

The Tigers, who have three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior in their top five, fired a season-best 313 to claim team honors in the annual Joplin Invitational on Thursday afternoon at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club.

The Tigers — discarding an 82 to figure their team score — shot a 313 total and won by a dozen strokes over Glendale. Kickapoo took third with 332.

This is the first time the Tigers have won the team title at Joplin.

“It’s the first time we played in this tournament in five years,” Tigers coach Brian Leonard said. “I knew Kickapoo and Glendale had good quality golfers. I wanted to get back in this tournament for the better competition, and I’m glad I did.”

Last week the Tigers won the Oak Grove Invitational at Adams Pointe in Blue Springs with a 324.

“I knew we could go in and shoot a good scorer,” Leonard said. “That’s where we play district, and we know that course pretty well. At Miami on Monday, I was pleased with our scores there — 330 (good for third place) on that course in that (cold) weather is very nice.

“Coming into Joplin, we were shooting for a 320 — an 80 from every player. That was our goal, and they are all capable of doing that. Shooting 313 is quite a boost in confidence.”

Nevada freshman John Quitno shot 1-under 35 on the front nine and a 40 on the back — including a triple bogey — for a 3-over 75 total to finish second in the individual standings. Dylan Bekemeier of Republic, a state champion two years ago, claimed medalist honors with a 73, highlighted by a back-nine 2-under 34. John Fuchs of Kickapoo took third with 76.

The Tigers’ Levi Palmer and Jacob Hammontree placed fourth and fifth with a 78 and 79, respectively. Patrick Ferry tied for eighth with 81, and Andrew Quitno tied for 11th with 82. Andrew Quitno is a junior, Palmer a sophomore and Hammontree and Ferry freshmen.

Joplin’s Nick Yuhas also tied for eighth with 38-43—81. Posting top-20 finishes were Colton Craig of Webb City with 83 and Carson Trent of Carthage with 85.

Joplin was sixth in the team standings with 359, and Webb City and Carthage were next with 361 and 363, respectively.

“We didn’t score as well as we thought we would,” Joplin coach Jack Pace said. “A lot of it had to do with conditions. There were not a lot of good scores, but evidently it didn’t bother Bekemeier.

“It’s early in the year. Hopefully we’ll start scoring better before conference and district.”

Nixa (348) and Ozark (352) completed the top five in the team standings. They were among the first-time tournament participants since the Class 4 district tournament will be played May 5 at Twin Hills.

Joplin’s next tournament is the Springfield Invitational on Monday at Hickory Hills.

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