By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Joplin High School has won the past two Ozark Conference boys golf championships in contrasting styles.
In 2011 at Old Kinderhook Golf Course in Camdenton, the Eagles, led by Chris Moss’ 4-under-par 67, carded a 305 team total and won 20 strokes over Lebanon.
Then last season at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, the Eagles shot 323 and won by a single shot over both Glendale and West Plains. Senior Jeffrey Herr’s 2-over-par 74 paced the Eagles.
Joplin goes for a three-peat in today’s conference meet at Oak Meadow Country Club in Rolla. A shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. is scheduled.
The Eagles, led by senior Griffen Locke and junior Nick Yuhas, have won two tournaments this spring — the Bird-Dog Invitational at Briarbrook Golf Course and the Springfield Invitational at Hickory Hills Country Club.
Eagles coach Jack Pace expects a down-to-the-wire battle again this year, not the 20-shot cushion of two years ago.
“At Hickory Hills we beat Glendale and Kickapoo by one stroke,” he said. “Rolla has a good team, and playing on their home course will give them an advantage.”
Locke and Yuhas have been the Eagles’ top two players all season.
Yuhas won medalist honors with a 1-over-par 73 in the Springfield Invitational and a par-71 last week in Carthage at the Sonic Drive Inn Invitational. Yuhas tied for third place with a 75 in the conference meet two years ago and just missed the top 10 last year with an 82.
Locke, who has signed to play soccer at Neosho County Community College in Chanute, Kan., next year, won the Joplin Invitational for the second year. He tied for medalist at the Bird-Dog but lost on the second hole of a playoff to Austin Bunnell of Carthage. Like Yuhas, Locke has played in the conference tournament the last two years, and he was all-conference last year by finishing in the top 10 with an 80.
Completing the Eagles’ five-man team today will be sophomores Austin Garritson and Tamerik Branham and freshman Chance Sticklen.