Time on links pays off for Hosp

Sunday, August 12, 2007
Cody Evans, 14, knocked up a cloud of dust on approach shot to the 15th green Saturday during the fifth annual Cape Elks Junior Championship. (AARON EISENHAUER ~aeisenhauer@semissourian.com)

Jackson's Hosp shot a 79 to win his division at the Elks Junior tourney.

Drew Hosp spent plenty of time on the golf course this summer to get his game ready for the next level -- high school.

Hosp, a 14-year-old Jackson resident, still is a couple years away from testing his skills at that level.

On a hot Saturday afternoon at the Cape Jaycee Municipal Golf Course, Hosp showcased his skills with a victory in the fifth annual Cape Elks Junior Championship. He fired a 9-over-par 79 for a three-stroke win over Evan Deere in the 13- to 15-year-old boys division. Tyler Arpin shot an 84 for third in what was the tournament's largest division with a dozen entries.

Hosp had one birdie, on the par-4 seventh hole, and followed his 37 on the front side with a 42 on the back for his best score in a competitive round and his best tournament finish.

Jackson Wendling, 10, watched his ball fly down the 14th fairway during the fifth annual Cape Elks Junior Championship at the Jaycee Municipal Golf Course on Saturday. (AARON EISENHAUER ~aeisenhauer@semissourian.com)

"When you're chipping and putting well, you know you have a chance," Hosp said. "I wasn't thinking I had it won, but you've always got to be thinking positive."

Playing with Deere and fourth-place finisher Eric Hayes, who shot an 86, Hosp had some idea where he stood. He had the best score on both the front and back nines, one stroke better than Deere on the front and two strokes better on the back, where the course is "a little longer and tighter," Hosp said.

"He has been working so hard for this," said his mother, Robyn Hosp. "He has been at the golf course every day this summer. It's so tough when you finish second and or third. I keep telling him to be patient and calm and it'll work out."

Drew Hosp this summer played in the Gateway PGA Junior Series in Southeast Missouri and qualified to the Gateway PGA series championship in St. Louis County.

"I did not do very well," he said of the final event. "But I got to play, and that was a good honor."

Parker Browne, 12, prepared to hit his ball from the shrubs near the green on the 13th hole Saturday.

Hosp took second behind Hayes this summer in the Dalhousie Golf Club's junior championship; and later Saturday, he was going to pick up another trophy as the champion in his junior division at Kimbeland Country Club, where the Hosps are members.

"This has been our summer, going to golf tournaments," Robyn Hosp said.

"I'm thankful for that," Drew Hosp said.

The players for the second year were able to ride in carts with an adult family member. Tournament director Jason Karnes of the Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation Department said that helps speed the event along and can make for a better golfing experience on a hot day.

"It was hot but it wasn't unbearable," Drew Hosp said. "It wasn't affecting my game."

Eight-year-old Nick Powers watches as his ball nearly goes in the nineth hole during the Fifth Annual Cape Elks Junior Championship at the Jaycee Municipal Golf Course on Saturday, August 11, 2007. (AARON EISENHAUER ~aeisenhauer@semissourian.com)

With school around the corner, Hosp said his competitive season was winding down.

"I don't think I have any tournaments coming up," he said. "I'm just going to keep practicing and playing to keep in the motion of swinging. I guess you could say I'm training for high school."

Traveling man

The winner of the division with the second-largest field, 10- to 12-year-old boys, was Jackson Wendling of Effingham, Ill.

He shot a 74, as that division played from the forward tees. Cody Cox was second with an 83.

Wendling, 10, has been golfing competitively since the age of 6, said his mother, Jill Wendling.

"He's been playing since he was about 3, chasing the Little Tykes ball around with plastic clubs," she said.

Last week, he finished 43rd in the 10-year-olds division at the U.S. Kids Golf World Championship hosted by Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina.

Jackson Wendling's grandparents, Glenn and Barb Kroening, are Cape Girardeau residents.

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