The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 6, 2013

Briarbrook Invitational looks to match last year's drama

By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor

— Last year’s Briarbrook Invitational had a little bit of everything.

Chad Walker, one year after undergoing treatment for cancer, fired a personal-best 5-under-par 67 to grab the first-round lead.

Lou Rapalino, the owner of six Briarbrook crowns, moved atop the leaderboard during the second round. His one-shot lead after 36 holes grew to four strokes midway through the final round, but problems off the tee led to three double bogeys during a back-nine 43.

Jim Lucas and Ethan Hutcheson, paired in the group just ahead of the final group, matched final-round 71s and 215 tournament totals. And when the final group came in a combined 33-over-par — 26-over on the back nine — Lucas and Hutcheson were paired again, this time in a playoff.

This time the veteran beat the teen-ager as Lucas prevailed on the third extra hole to claim his third Briarbrook title. Both parred the first two extra holes — No. 18 and No. 10 — and both missed the green on the par-3 11th. Hutcheson wound up taking a 5, and Lucas holed his 3 1/2-foot putt for bogey to win the tournament.

Lucas is back to defend his championship as the 45th annual tournament begins today. The second round is scheduled for Saturday, and the final round is Sunday.

Hutcheson also is in the field this year. In fact, nine of the top-10 finishers from a year ago are back.

Les Taylor was third with 216, and Tug Baker and Rapalino tied for fourth at 218. John Robinson III was next at 220, followed by Andrew Maier 221, Walker 222 and Chuck Land 223.

Three more flight winners return this year. Shane Cowger won President’s Flight, Dave Tourtelot took A Flight and Mike Strickling won B Flight.

Mark Bruder and Corey Clingan, who tied for second in last month’s Joplin Globe City Championship, are in the field. Maier was fourth in the city championship, Steve Thomas tied for sixth and Andy Pochik tied for 10th.