The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

July 14, 2012

Birdie barrage gives Lais the lead at Ozark Amateur

— With birdie barrages at the start and finish of his round, Barrett Lais fired a 6-under-par 65 Saturday to claim the first-round lead in the Ozark Amateur golf tournament at Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course.

Lais, the 2005 tournament winner and now an assistant golf coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks, made eight birdies during his round of 32-33.

“I drove the ball great,” Lais said. “I only missed one fairway and hit 16 greens. I stroked the ball well today. I played in the morning when it was calm. You could put up good numbers if you got the putter going. The golf course was there for the taking.”

Evan Wood, the Joplin Globe city champion the last two years, and multiple Ozark Amateur winner Lou Rapalino share second place at 67. Rapalino, also playing in the morning, shot 34-33. Wood posted 32-35 during the afternoon wave when the wind picked up.

Todd Stout, Mike Maier, Chase Foster and Kyler Brown were tied for fourth place at 68, and a logjam at 69 involved David Bastian, Jake Carpenter, Kyle Fields, Darrel Harbaugh, Ryan Knell, Andy Pochik, Mark Riley and Justin Sullivan.

It took par-71 or better to make the Championship Flight. Other flight breaks: A 72-74, B 75-78, C 79-80, D 81-85 and E 86-above.

Lais birdied four of his first five holes, two-putting the par-5 first and third holes before holing a 20-footer on No. 4 and a 10-footer on 5.

 Four pars finished his front-nine 32, and he dropped to 5-under when he hit a wedge within three feet for birdie on 10.

He bogeyed No. 11 when he missed the green and didn’t get up and down, and a blocked drive into the trees on No. 13 led to another bogey.

But he finished strong with birdies on the last three holes — getting up and down for a 3 on 16, driving the 363-yard No. 17 and two-putting for birdie and another two-putt birdie on the par-5 finishing hole.

“At Schifferdecker you have to get off to a good start, make some birdies,” Lais said. “It’s a wedge and putting contest.”

Wood, best friends with Lais growing up and teammates at Joplin High School, birdied the first three holes and No. 7 to make the turn at 4-under. As the wind increased, Wood matched par-35 on the back with a birdie on 10 and bogey on 17.

Rapalino shot a front-nine 34 with birdies on 1, 3 and 5 and a bogey on 4. A birdie on 10 and bogey on 11 left him at 2-under before he birdied 16 and 18.

Stout carded six birdies and three bogeys during his round of 34-34, and Maier, the 2004 Ozark winner, made three of his five birdies during a back-nine 32. Brown (34-34) and Foster (33-35) each had four birdies and one bogey.

Among the 69s, Fields, Harbaugh and Knell holed six birdies, but Fields gave three shots back with 7 on 11, and Harbaugh and Knell both had four bogeys.

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