The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

July 27, 2013

Todd Doss travels from Bangkok to play in Twin Hills Invitational

Todd Doss is determined to play in the Twin Hills Invitational every year.

Not even a move from San Diego to Bangkok, Thailand, prevented Doss from coming this year.

“I come back to the U.S. for vacation one month a year, and I picked July,” said Doss, who works at the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok. “My wife (Jennifer) is from San Francisco, so we fly to San Francisco. We hang out in San Francisco and she says ‘OK, you can go to Joplin for a week.’

“I’m like ‘cool, thank you,’ and then I jet to Joplin and meet all my buddies from Austin.”

Doss and his buddies are former students at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. Their annual trek to Twin Hills actually started one generation earlier.

“There is a group of about six or seven of us,” Doss said. “We started coming up here because my friend, Dave Koch, was playing here.

“Dave’s dad is Jim Koch, who lives in Hannibal, Mo. Jim was a big golfer and a professor at St. Ed’s, and he played in this tournament around 40 years. Eventually when Dave got good enough to golf, Jim started bringing Dave here.

“So Dave started coming and playing in this tournament, and he started telling all of his friends who went to St. Ed’s how fun this tournament was. So he started bringing us up here back in the mid-1990s to late ’90s.

“We all went separate ways out of college, different areas. So we decided every July, no matter where we are, let’s all fly in and meet here and that will be our yearly vacation to see each other. It’s phenomenal.”

Glenn Hinkle is from Austin and has played in this tournament about 40 years, Doss said. Russell Stearns and his son, Aaron, also are part of the Austin delegation, but they didn’t come this year because Aaron’s wife is about to give birth to their first child.

Doss lived in San Diego for 15 years before going to Bangkok. Floyd Mohler, from San Diego, came with Doss for the first time this year.

“And now he’s ready to come back,” Doss said.

“It’s fun to come to Joplin,” Doss said. “It’s middle America. And this golf course ... very few golf courses these days are tree-lined every fairway with 40-foot high trees. You can’t beat it. In California right now the fairways are thin lies. There are no trees like this. Floyd’s first time playing it, he’s like oh my God, this place is amazing.”

Doss admits he was caught off guard by Friday morning’s rain.

“I think this is my 10th time and it’s only rained once,” he said. “I didn’t even bring rain gear, an umbrella or anything. In Bangkok right now is the rainy season. I escaped the rain to come here with no rain, and the first round I get dumped on. What are the odds?

“Floyd called me the day before we left and said ‘I looked at the weather and it looks like it’s going to rain.’ I told him it’s not going to rain. Do not worry. Luckily he didn’t listen to me and brought an umbrella. And he brought rain gear for me, too.”

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