Hosp earns surprise of the year

Sunday, May 17, 2009
Jackson freshman Drew Hosp will tee off in the state tournament Monday at 10:06 a.m.

A Jackson freshman never imagined he'd capture a berth in the Class 4 state tournament.

Jackson golfer Drew Hosp had no idea where the state golf tournament was being held or when it was being played.

There really was no reason for Hosp to be concerned with that as the freshman prepared for the Class 4 District 1 meet at Aberdeen Golf Club in Eureka.

"I didn't expect to make it to state, so I just went out there to have some fun and gain some valuable experience," Hosp said.

For Hosp's information, the state tournament will be played at the Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield, and it will take place Monday and Tuesday.

And most importantly, Hosp will be in the field.

Hosp finished in a tie for seventh place in the district with a score of 79. The top 10 individuals from the non-winning team, which was Poplar Bluff, in the 11-team district earn a spot in the state tournament.

Hosp recorded his 79 and then had a long wait as the top golfers finished their rounds. It was a wait that was rewarded with a district medal and the trip to Springfield.

Hosp got better as the day went at the district meet as he shot five-over 41 on the front nine, but finished the back nine with a two-over 38.

"I had never played the course except for a couple of practice rounds," Hosp said. "I just tried to play relaxed, knowing that there was no pressure on me. Nobody expected me to make it to state. I just wanted to stay positive throughout the day and if somehow I would make it to state, it would be great."

Consistency was the key to the round for Hosp. He did not record a single birdie during his round, but he also did not have a score over a bogey.

"I didn't have any spectacular shots," Hosp said. "I didn't make any long putts. But I was able to keep my drives in the fairway and never got into any real bad trouble."

Hosp has matured as a golfer during the season, and that showed with his calm demeanor in the biggest tournament of his life.

"I had some struggles early in the season, but I started feeling better about my game toward the end," he said. "I think it was more of a mental thing. I started to believe that I am a good golfer."

And he was better than good at districts, and will be one of three local players competing in the Class 4 tournament. He will be joined by teammate Tanner Werner and Central's Tim Simmons.

Werner and Simmons both have high expectations. Werner wants another top-15, all-state finish after a surprising second-place finish as a freshman last year. Simmons, a senior, is gunning for a top-five finish. The two battled to the final hole at the SEMO Conference meet Tuesday at Dalhousie Golf Club, with Werner edging Simmons by a stroke.

Hosp said he will treat the state meet just like he did districts.

"I am going about things the same exact way," Hosp said. "I'm real honored to be at state as a freshman. Whatever I do, I will enjoy the experience and try to build from it."

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