By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
What started out as an overcast, rainy and dreary day of golf also ended that way for the 50 prep golfers, representing 11 schools, that showed up to compete in this year’s Ozark Conference Golf Tournament, held at the Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield on Monday, May 2.
So bad were the conditions at Rivercut, coupled with the threat of more rain in the afternoon, that Kickapoo head coach Ron Yocum, also this year’s conference tournament director, decided to forego the final nine holes of play.
But despite all the drizzle, rain soaked fairways and pools of water scattered around the course the Glendale Falcons found a way to win.
The Falcons, behind top medalist Max Bowman’s 38, carded a 163 for their day’s work to edge the Kickapoo Chiefs, who posted a 164, en route to claiming the 2022 Ozark Conference Championship crown.
“It wasn’t the most ideal day for golf but our kids practice in these kinds of conditions all the time so they were well prepared,” said Glendale head coach Zack Rothgeb. “Because of that I felt really good about our kids’ chances to win today.”
“But as big as winning the conference championship was for our kids we won’t try to look to deep into it. We just try to look at it as another tournament,” said the Falcon coach. “We can be happy today though, and no doubt we’re going to do some celebrating, but we’ll have to regroup pretty quick and start focusing on next week’s district tournament.”
Rounding out the Falcon scorecard was Travis Peak 40, Adam Floyd 42, Matt Barnes 43 and Drew Russell 47.
Coming up one stroke shy of this year’s conference title was tough for the Chiefs, but it didn’t change coach Yokum’s outlook on his team’s effort.
“Of course we’re disappointed, we all wanted to win today,” he said. “But considering the conditions of the course, and the strength of the field I’m very proud of the effort our kids put out today.”
Kickapoo’s Ty Wendell and Garrett Catlett, both with 40’s, led the Kickapoo effort. They were followed by Gaige Lewis 41, Nicky Meyer 43 and Caleb Wiggins 44.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS OF THE GAME
Max Bowman says that landing this year’s top medalist honors is a feat that has made him both happy and proud. But the accomplishment wasn’t a top priority as he teed off in Monday’s conference tournament.
“It was rainy and cold out there so I really didn’t try to score,” he said. “I just tried to keep my ball in the fairway and make as few mistakes as possible.”
It was a formula that paid off well for the junior Falcon. Key for Bowman, to carding a 38 on the par 36 front nine, were two pars and birdies on the fifth, sixth and seventh holes.
“Last year at the conference tournament I didn’t play very well. So winning this year’s top medalist honors really means a lot to me,” he said. “But while it’s obviously a good thing for us to capture both the team and individual titles we have to keep in mind that our job isn’t finished yet. We still have district, and, hopefully state, to get ready for.”
Tying for third place in this year’s conference tournament were Camdenton and Lebanon, both who carded 171’s.
Low men on Camdenton’s scorecard were Gunner Schuster and Dallas Downey, both with 42’s. They were followed by Rylee Hodges 43, Chase Wilson 44 and Luke Sweatt 47.
Tops on Lebanon’s scorecard were Ethan Mustard and Titan Haney, both with 40’s. They were followed by Mason Bowman 43, Andrew Bowling 48 and Kory Hough 49.
While playing conditions may have been difficult for those competing in this year’s Ozark Conference tournament all were happy to have gotten in at least nine holes. However none could have been happier than tournament director Ron Yocum.
“We really did need to play. If we hadn’t, more than likely we wouldn’t have had time to make it up,” said Yocum. “But we got it in and as a result we have a champion. Our conference teams will also have some momentum as they head into next week’s district tournament. Playing today has really benefited everybody, and that’s a good thing.”
1. Glendale – 163
2. Kickapoo – 164
3. Camdenton – 171
3. Lebanon – 171
5. Rolla – 173
6. Bolivar – 182
7. West Plains – 186
8. Central – 193
9. Waynesville – 195
First Team All- Conference
1. 38 – Max Bowman – Glendale
2. 39 – Jonathon Jordan – Rolla
3. 40 – Titan Haney – Lebanon
4. 40 – Ethan Mustard – Lebanon
5. 40 – Garrett Catlett – Kickapoo
6. 40 – Travis Peak – Glendale
7. 40 – Ty Wendel – Kickapoo
8. 40 – Aiden Asby- Bolivar
9. 41 – Gaige Lewis – Kickapoo
10. 41 – Karmi Lopez- West Plains
Ties broken by scorecard playoff
using hole number 9.
Dallas Downey – Camdenton – 42
Gunner Schuster – Camdenton – 42
Adam Floyd – Glendale – 42
Chayton Jordan – 42 – Rolla
Kayden Hunt – 42 – Bolivar