By Clair Goodwin
The Joplin Globe
Evan Wood could tie a Joplin Globe City Championship record if he were to win the title again.
The long-hitting Joplin player won the championship in 2011 and 2012 and could tie Joplin Hall of Famers Bob Smith and Lee Larimore for the most consecutive wins in the event. Smith won the first three city classics — 1974, 1975 and 1976 — and Larimore won in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
That’s the sort of extra special win that could cement by itself a place alongside Smith and Larimore in the Joplin golf shrine.
To win a city title once is a huge accomplishment.
To do it twice in a row, well, that is really something.
But a three-peat has been elusive.
What adds a bit of additional drama is that Wood dropped off the golf map several years ago when he experienced what he called a “burnout” after lettering four years at Joplin High School and playing as a freshman at Huntington College in Birmingham, Ala. At the time he pretty much set the clubs aside.
Since returning from that self-imposed competitive down time, Wood has shown flashes of brilliance. He not only has won the city title twice, but finished fourth in the 2010 Twin Hills Invitational and fifth in that tournament the next year.
Of course, I am assuming that Evan Wood will be one of the players on the Twin Hills’ regular team when the city opens next weekend. It would be a shame if he were to miss out on the possibility of tying Smith and, if he is successful against an elite field of 30 players, creating the opportunity to win a record-setting four straight in 2014.
Such speculation is premature, of course, on several levels. There are a lot of excellent players who will be competing for the city crown and on any given three-day period a dozen or so of them are capable of going low.
Anyway, the city has a history of rewarding great players in its 39-year history.
The Globe championship had a roundabout beginning. Bill Parker, then head pro at Twin Hills, and I had been trying to come up with a format that would involve every course in Joplin and yet not overrun the three existing courses to the point they would have to close to all other play.
Enter Frankie Jacobs with a concept for a city championship that involved both individual and team play. Each club fielded 12-member teams. The Globe took over sponsorship and provided the trophies, and the rest is history.
Two years ago, the city introduced a senior division to go with the 49-and-under bracket. It seems to be proving popular and has added a new competition.
But the big question this year is can Wood can win his third straight?
The opening round of the Joplin Globe City Championship is scheduled Saturday, May 4, at Briarbrook Golf Club. Round two will be played Sunday, May 5, at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club. The tournament will conclude Saturday, May 11, at Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course.
If you want to know about some of the past winners of the city you should drop by the Schifferdecker clubhouse and take a look at the “Wall of Fame.” It features members of the Joplin Golf Hall of Fame. The plaques have photographs and information about the Hall of Famers.
The fourth annual Disabled American Vets four-man scramble is scheduled Saturday, May 18, at Patricia Island Golf Course. A shotgun start is planned at 8:30 a.m. Entry fee is $80 per player.
Hole-in-one prizes include $20,000, Callaway irons, domestic flight for two in the continental U.S. and a 32-inch flat screen LCD TV. Tournament proceeds will benefit the DAV Chapter 19 transportation and service fund.
Players must enter by May 11. Mail entries to DAV Chapter 19, P.O. Box 450675, Grove, Okla. 74345. For more information, contact Chuck Bullock at 918-786-4853 or Harold Smith at 918-786-5084.