By Jim Henry
Globe Sports Editor
Kyle Long’s golf season is off to a pretty good start.
Last month he was inducted into the Joplin Golf Foundation Hall of Fame.
And on Saturday afternoon Long wrapped up his third Joplin Globe Men’s City Championship.
“It’s neat to win this one right after getting inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Long said. “That was a real honor.”
Long, who held a three-shot lead after two rounds, never relinquished the lead and shot a 1-over-par 72 in the final round at Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course. After a 72 at Briarbrook and 74 at Twin Hills — his home course — Long finished at 3-over-par 218.
Long, who won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009, joins Bob Smith, Barry Franks and Robert Russell as three-time city champions. They all trail Lee Larimore’s seven championships.
“It’s awesome,” Long said. “It’s really neat. They are all great players. This is so much a fun tournament. I really enjoy it.”
Briarbrook teammates Corey Clingan and Mark Bruder tied for second place at 225. Clingan shot a final-round 75, Bruder 76.
They led Briarbrook to the team championship with an 1,151 total, followed by Joplin Golf Club 1,160 and Twin Hills 1,177.
Andrew Maier of the Joplin Golf Club was fourth at 226 after a 75. Teammate Anthony Fink finished fifth at 228 after a closing 69 — the only round below par in the entire tournament.
Alex Kanakis of Briarbrook made the shot of the day — a hole-in-one on the 172-yard No. 4 with a 6-iron. It’s believed to be the third ace in the tournament’s 40-year history, joining Bob Cox and Lanny Hopkins.
Long made the turn a 2-over 38 after bogeys on the par-5 third hole and par-3 No. 9. He also bogeyed 11 but picked up two strokes with birdies on 14 and 17.
“I struggle putting out here,” Long said. “I fight the greens, but I made a good one on 17.
“It was a grind. It was a slow start. I was 3-over after I bogeyed 11, my third bogey of the day. Then I knew I had to get it in gear and made a couple of birdies coming in.
“I’ve always struggled here a little bit. I’ve never felt very comfortable playing it. With the wind, it was definitely a challenge.”
Fink made four birdies — 3, 6, 14 and 18 — during his 34-35 round. His bogeyed the 11th and 17th holes.