Alabama native Garrett Stallings finishes second at Briarbrook

Garrett Stallings putts during Sunday's final round of the 51st Briarbrook Invitational golf tournament in Carl Junction. Globe | Israel Perez

Garrett Stallings' debut in the Briarbrook Invitational was delayed by one year.

Stallings planned to play in the 2019 event, but it was canceled after a tornado ripped through the golf course and surrounding area in May.

Stallings took second in this year's tournament with an 11-under-par 205, finishing five shots behind champion Tug Baker last Sunday. Stallings' score tied the second-best total in tournament history. Robert Russell also shot 11-under in 1994 and 1996 to start and finish his three-peat.

Stallings' second-round 9-under 63 — spiced by a front-nine 29 with seven birdies — left him tied with Baker for the 36-hole lead at 12-under 132. Stallings then shot a 73 in the final round, falling out of a share of the lead with a bogey on No. 6 and double-bogey on No. 7.

"Congratulations to Tug. He earned it," Stallings said standing outside the clubhouse. "It's great, a good time. Folks are great. The social part of it is awesome. The tournament atmosphere is really good. The course is in great shape. It was a fun tournament. I just wish I'd had a better (Sunday)."

Stallings is a new player on the area individual tournament scene. He moved to Carl Junction from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, about 1 1/2 years ago. His fiance, Amanda Broadhurst, lives in Kansas City, and they plan to get married next May.

He played for Joplin in the Horton Smith Cup matches last August in Springfield. He teamed with Aaron Borland to win his doubles match 1 up, and one day later to rolled to a singles victory 6 and 5.

Stallings is a native of Alabama, born in Tuscaloosa and raised in Birmingham. Growing up, he played baseball and golf.

"I started playing golf when I was young, probably 6 years old," he said. "Self-taught, never had a lesson. In high school I played golf and baseball. I'd miss baseball practice to go play golf matches. I just couldn't practice (golf) until baseball was over with."

He played third base, left field and pitcher in baseball, and he played two years at Shelton State Community College in Tuscaloosa. He transferred to Alabama for his final two years and graduated with an operations management degree, but he did not continue to play baseball for the Crimson Tide.

"After junior college, I was ready to be done with baseball," he said.

Stallings' move to Southwest Missouri hasn't changed his college allegiance one bit.

"All day. Every day. Roll Tide," he said.

Stallings plays most of his golf at the Carthage Golf Course, and he said he's been welcomed to the area.

"The people I've met are great, super nice," he said. "They are the nicest people in the country I believe."

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