CARL JUNCTION, Mo. — After years and years of close but no cigar, it was Bill Curry’s turn.
Curry rode solid iron play and improved putting to earn the Senior Division crown Sunday afternoon in the Joplin Area Golf Championships, sponsored by the Joplin Golf Foundation and the Globe.
Spicing his round with an eagle on the 13th hole, Curry carded a 1-over-par 73 at Briarbrook Golf Course for a 36-hole total of 1-over 144. He matched par-71 in Saturday’s first round at Schifferdecker Golf Course.
“This is my first one,” Curry said. “For 20 some years, for the longest time in the (former) city championship, I hardly ever finished out of the top-5. Then when they went to an area championship, I’ve been out of the top-5 maybe once.
“I’m glad I finally won it. It’s kind of a relief to me. I don’t play much any more. I don’t expect to be really consistent and to shoot any low scores anymore ... keep it around par. I don’t play enough to be consistent, and it shows in the short game.”
Bob McKay shot 72 — Sunday’s low round among the seniors — and climbed into second place at 146, and Sam Burks and Shawn Platner tied for third at 149 after closing 77s.
Defending champion Lowell Catron, Greg Crawford, Wayne Smith and Kevin Durbin tied for fifth at 153. Smith and Crawford had final-round 76s, and Catron and Durbin had 79 and 81, respectively. Jeff Murphy placed ninth with 156, one shot ahead of Craig Kersey and Tim Old.
Kyle Catron won A Flight honors with 76-154, followed by Doug Gaddis 78-157 and Roger Bruder 78-164.
Curry began the day with a one-stroke lead, but he started with a bogey-5 on the first hole and double bogey-6 on the second.
“I was struggling hitting everything,” he said. “Then I made a long putt for birdie on 4, birdied 5, knocked it on 7 (in two) and barely missed the eagle putt to get back to even par.”
His back nine began with a similar script as he bogeyed the 10th and 12th holes but got both shots back when he chipped in for eagle on the par-5 13th. After three pars, he hit his approach shot on the par-4 17th within three feet for birdie and made double-bogey on the closing hole after hitting his approach beyond the green.
“I struggled with the driver today,” said Curry, who is the captain for Joplin’s Ky Laffoon team that plays in Springfield on Aug. 17-18. “My irons were pretty good most of the day. They helped me get out of some trouble. I putted better today than I did (Saturday). I didn’t putt very well at all yesterday.”
McKay, a former city champion in the junior division, shot 37-35 for his par round. He made three consecutive birdies midway through the back nine to get to 3-under, but he bogeyed the par-3 16th and also double-bogeyed the 18th after hitting his approach over the green.
Carthage won the team championship with a 459 total, using the best three scores each day from club members.
Briarbrook took second with 477, and Schifferdecker was third with 496.
Ky Laffoon team
Joplin’s Ky Laffoon team that will play its annual cup matches against Springfield on Aug. 17-18 at Rivercut and Bill and Payne Stewart golf courses:
Bill Curry (captain), Greg Crawford, Kyle Catron, Jeff Murphy, Tim Old, Bob McKay, Sam Burks, Kevin Durbin, Shawn Platner, Wayne Smith, Craig Kersey, Doug Gaddis, Doug Harvey, Paul Ashe, Steve Thomas, Tony Shearburn