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Cape Girardeau's Giebler leads stroke-play portion of Missouri Amateur after one round

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

(Photo)
Brevin Giebler of Cape Girardeau chips onto the 11th green during the first round of the Missouri Amateur on Tuesday at Dalhousie Golf Club. Giebler fired a 3-under-par 69 for a two-shot lead in the stroke-play portion of the tournament.
(Fred Lynch)
Brevin Giebler's skill and familiarity with Dalhousie Golf Club left the rest of the field chasing the Cape Girardeau golfer at the first round of the 105th Missouri Amateur.

Giebler, a member of Dalhousie, posted a 3-under-par 69 and a two-shot lead on a hot and breezy Tuesday.

Another Cape Girardeau golfer, Brent Holmes, was one of the two other players to shoot under par.

Holmes carded four birdies on the back nine in his round of 71, which tied him with Jace Long, a two-time state champion while at Dixon High School and a Ping Golf All-American at the University of Missouri.

"I played really solid golf," said Holmes, who plays most of his golf locally at Bent Creek. "I think it was one of the better rounds that I played [at Dalhousie]. With the wind today and the greens firm and fast, there really was no room for error."

(Photo)
Bob Meeh of St. Louis aced the 11th hole during the first round of the Missouri Amateur.
Holmes, 28, played college golf at Louisville and moved to Cape Girardeau about five years ago. He finished with five birdies, two bogeys and one double bogey, which came on the par 3 13th.

"That was really the only bad shot I hit on the back nine," Holmes said.

Holmes said his longest birdie putt was about 12 feet.

"I was just hitting them close," Holmes said.

Holmes teed off in the afternoon, and he turned in some strong iron play amid tough conditions.

(Photo)
Brent Holmes of Cape Girardeau hits off the first tee in the opening round of the Missouri Amateur. Holmes was one of three golfers to shoot under par with a 71, which has him two shots off the lead and tied for second.
(Fred Lynch)
"About the middle of our round I think it was blowing the hardest it had all day," Holmes said. "We'd get some gusts, and I don't know what it actually was, but I would guess 25 miles an hour. It really made it challenging."

The three-man groups will remain the same today, but the tee times will flip from morning to afternoon, and vice versa.

"I'm looking forward to playing in the morning, maybe get a little smoother greens and maybe not as much wind," Holmes said.

Long, who was in Giebler's three-man group that teed off at on No. 10 in the morning, had two birdies and a bogey in his round.

"Today was good. Me and Brevin played really well," said Long, who has won six events at Missouri over the past two seasons, including a school-record four in 2011. "I've been here before, so I know you play to make pars and the round of match play. Basically it's a new tournament once match play starts."

(Photo)
Blake Driskell of Cape Girardeau hits out of the rough toward the sixth hole during the first round of the Missouri Amateur on Tuesday at Dalhousie Golf Club. The six-day tournament, which will feature match play after today’s round, concludes Sunday. More photos from the tournament can be viewed at semoball.com.
Long, a match-play semifinalist last year, has won the two-day, stroke-play portion of the tournament in two of the three years he has competed in the Missouri Amateur. He grabbed the No. 1 seed at the St. Joseph Country Club in 2009 and advanced to the semifinals of match play. He also won the stroke-play portion in 2010 at Twin Oaks Country Club in Springfield, Mo., and reached the quarterfinals.

Long, who just competed his junior year at Missouri, played in the U.S. Amateur last year and reached the tournament through the qualifier at Dalhousie.

Giebler had five birdies and two bogeys in his round. Three of his birdies came on the four par 5s, which also produced a bogey.

Giebler started on No. 10 and went on a birdie binge after parring his first five holes. Giebler birdied Nos. 15, 17 and 18.

He moved to 4-under par with a birdie on No. 2, a par 5, but bogeyed the next hole. He shot even par over the front side, with another birdie at the par-3 No. 5 offset by a bogey at the par-5 No. 7.

(Photo)
Ben Cantrell of Cape Girardeau watches his tee shot on the 13th hole in the first round of the Missouri Amateur Championship Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at Dalhousie Golf Club.
(Fred Lynch)
"He just hit it solid," Long said. "The wind was blowing. And he just hit some good shots and he didn't make any mistakes. He just hit good shot after good shot, and just made a few putts."

Brad Nurski, a 33-year-old from St. Joseph, Mo., completed the threesome and shot a 77. Nurski lost a playoff in the Missouri Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Dalhousie in 2009.

Nurksi had played practice rounds with Giebler in the days before the tournament.

"He's playing good," Nurski said. "Obviously it's his home golf course. It's going to be hard to beat him this week. If he keeps playing like this, he's going to be tough to beat for anybody."

Nurski said the wind and fast greens added to the difficulty of the 6,942-yard, par- 72 layout.

(Photo)
LEFT: Ronnie Strong of Jackson watches his drive from the seventh tee.
ABOVE: David Babcock of Cape Girardeau putts on the ninth green.
RIGHT: Ben Cantrell of Cape Girardeau follows his tee shot on the 13th hole.
"I didn't make enough pars, but I didn't shoot myself out of anything," Nurski said. "Obviously [Giebler and Long] are playing well, and they're probably going to battle it out for medalist. It's all about making the top 64, and once you get there, you never know what's going to happen."

The field of 144 golfers will be trimmed to 64 after today's second round. Match play begins Thursday and concludes Sunday.

Mason Good of Warrensburg, Mo., Nick Wilson of Columbia, Mo., Justin Timberlake of Ozark, Mo., and Andrew Luo of Evansville, Ind., all were three shots behind Giebler at even-par 72.

Tim Simmons, a graduate of Central, carded all three of his birdies on the back nine in his afternoon round of 74, which tied him for 11th. Simmons played golf at Evansville University for two years after graduating from Central in 2009, but he said he hasn't played much golf recently.

"I'm not going to say I was surprised, but I wasn't expecting to make all the birdies," Simmons said. "My brother [Travis] told me how tough it played in the morning, and I saw all the high scores, and I said, ‘Well, anywhere close to par is going to be good.' And I just kept hitting pretty decent shots all the way around and made a few putts."

(Photo)
Kent Phillips and Ben Cantrell, both of Cape Girardeau, were among the 58 golfers that broke 80. Phillips, a Central graduate who played golf at Southeast Missouri State, carded a 78 and was tied for 45th.

Three double bogeys accounted for Phillips' 6-over total. He offset two bogeys with a pair of birdies in his attempt to make his third trip to match play.

"I feel like I'm in good position," Phillips said. "It was pretty difficult out there today. I definitely didn't shoot myself out of the tournament at all."

Phillips was impressed by the round turned in by Giebler.

"That is an amazing round today," Phillips said. "That wind, it was blowing pretty good, and the greens were rolling pretty quick. To be 3 under, that's a great round."

(Photo)
Ronnie Strong of Jackson watches his drive from the seventh tee.
(Fred Lynch)
Cantrell, a Dalhousie member, was right behind Phillips at 79 and tied for 52nd.

Ronnie Strong of Jackson followed with an 80, while former Central golfer Blake Driskell shot 81.

Notre Dame junior Brady Dixon of Mounds, Ill., Central junior Travis Simmons and recent Central graduate Corey Connell, who got into the field Monday as an alternate, all shot 82.

David Babcock of Cape Girardeau was at 84, and Lee Wilson of Perryville, Mo., a 37-year-old transplant from South Carolina who competed for the Mineral Area College golf team this year, shot 89.

Noteworthy

(Photo)
LEFT: Kent Phillips of Cape Girardeau hits from the seventh tee.
(ABOVE: Travis Simmons of Jackson blasts out of the bunker onto the eighth green.)
* Defending champion Skip Berkmeyer of Wildwood, Mo., a three-time winner of the tournament, opened with a 76.

* Two-time champion Ben Godwin of Poplar Bluff, Mo., also shot 76.

* The first day featured a hole-in-one by Bob Meeh of St. Louis. Meeh started on No. 10 and aced his second hole of the day in a round of 80. Meeh damaged the hole on the 11th green with his shot and play had to be halted for about 20 minutes while a new hole was cut about three feet away from the original cup.

Meeh used a 7-iron from 158 yards for his fourth career ace.

"It had a nice little draw, from left to right, and coming down it just kind of slammed into the corner of the hole and took maybe a 3-inch gouge out of it," Meeh said. "Luckily it stayed in there. That's the first time I've seen something like that."

* Second-round play begins at 7:30 a.m. today. Giebler's group will start on No. 1 at 1:18 p.m.


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