The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

July 12, 2013

Field at Ozark Amateur includes seven former champs

This year’s Ozark Amateur field reflects the tournament’s storied history.

Among the 149 players who will tee it up this weekend are seven past champions, and they combine for a dozen championships spread over the past five decades.

The first round will be played today at the Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course, with tee times starting at 7 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. of the No. 1 and No. 10 tees. The final round will be played on Sunday.

Barrett Lais, former Joplin High School golfer and the assistant golf coach at the University of Arkansas, returns to defend his title. Lais, who also won this tournament in 2005, shot 65-67 for a 132 total and finished two shots in front of Mike Maier.

Maier, the 2004 Ozark winner, shot 68-66 to beat his son Andrew — the 2007 tournament champion — by one stroke. Andrew Maier carded a 65 in the final round.

In all, 10 of the top 12 finishers from last year’s tournament are back.

Mark Riley tied for fourth at 136, and Evan Wood and past champion Lou Rapalino tied for sixth at 138. Chase Foster was eighth at 140, one shot in front of Andy Pochik, Matt Smallwood and Jake Carpenter.

Three more flight winners from 2012 are entered — Mickey Carpenter in A Flight, James Robertson in D Flight and Tom Hosp in E Flight. Carpenter, former Missouri Southern golfer, won the Ozark in 2002.

Chris Patterson, the winner of last month’s Briarbrook Invitational, is in the Ozark field along with Corey Clingan, who finished second at both Briarbrook and the Joplin Globe City Championship and leads the golfer of the year standings.

Rapalino captured four Ozark Amateur titles in a nine-year span from 1998 through 2006. Only two players have won this tournament more times, and both are from Independence, Kan. — Odie Wilson six times in the 1970s and Dave Dennis five times from 1954 through 1965.

Paul Ashe, like Lais, is a two-time Ozark winner, and his championships came 23 years apart — 1988 and 2011. He did not play in last year’s tournament.

The seventh past champion in the field is Bo Dennis, Dave’s son who won in 1976.

The tournament history dates back to 1922 when it was known as the Tri-State. It continued under that name until 1959 when it was changed to the Ozark Amateur.

It began as a match-play tournament before changing to stroke play in 1932. Tournament play continued every year except the World War II years of 1943-46.

Lais is attempting to become the tournament’s 10th player to successfully defend his championship.

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