Local golfers finish strong on junior tour

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Golfers from Southeast Missouri made their presence felt at the Gateway PGA Junior Series season-ending tournaments last week.

Cory Gaylord of Fredericktown, Mo., won the boys 10-11 division at Ballwin Recreational Center in St. Louis, while E.C. Atchison of Sikeston, Mo., won a three-player playoff that involved Blake Driskell of Cape Girardeau for first place in the boys 14-15 Tour division at Eagle Lake in Farmington, Mo.

They were among 24 local golfers who qualified for the season-ending tournaments after finishing at or near the top of the point standings for the eight-tournament series played on area courses.

The fields at both sites were comprised of top players from throughout the Gateway section, which spans from Columbia, Mo., into southeastern Illinois, stretching from the Bootheel to north of Springfield, Ill. Overall, 1,026 youths competed in the Gateway section, including 44 from Southeast Missouri. The Gateway PGA is one of 41 sections that form the PGA of America.

Gaylord was the only player among 31 in his age division to shoot two sub-40 rounds in the nine-hole competition, firing rounds of 37 and 39 for a 76 total. He was one of five players in his division in the Southeast region competing at Ballwin.

"Those 10-11 year-old boys can play," said Southeast region director Jack Connell. "That's the future of the game, and it's in pretty good hands."

Atchison won in dramatic fashion at Eagle Lake, sinking a three-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole as darkness descended. Driskell parred and Adam Long of St. Charles, Mo., bogeyed. All three players shot 153 over the two-day tournament to lead a field of 36.

Todd Obergoenner of Cape Girardeau, who has excelled throughout this summer, tied for the first-day lead in the Tour Boys 16-18 division with a 2-under-par 70 at Eagle Lake, but was unable to sustain his play, falling off to an 83 the second day.

The season was just the second for the Gateway PGA SEMO Junior Series, which held three clinics along with the tournaments. Season-ending point leaders were Gaylord (boys 10-11), Jeff Rose of Dexter, Mo. (boys 12-13, 9 holes), Jordan McLaurin of Ironton, Mo. (boys 12-13, 18 holes), Beink Naile of Charleston, Mo. (boys regular 14-15), Tyler Hillis of Poplar Bluff (boys tour 14-15), Chris Collins of Kennett, Mo. (boys regular 16-18), Obergoenner (boys tour 16-18), Megan Agey of Dexter (tour girls 14-15) and Kelly Shepard of Poplar Bluff (tour girls 16-18).

"It was a fun situation to see the juniors and their attitudes," Connell said. "It was good seeing kids from last year getting bigger and better and staying with golf."

Godwin qualifies for U.S. Amateur Championship

Poplar Bluff golfer Ben Godwin has had a big summer on the links, which includes qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship last week at Country Club of St. Albans near Eureka, Mo. Godwin will compete against the nation's best amateur golfers Aug. 19-25 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Godwin has been establishing himself in the region, winning the Ozark Invitational (Poplar Bluff) and Rolling Hills Invitational (Paducah, Ky.) earlier this summer and reaching the quarterfinal round of the Missouri Amateur Championships.

Garrett fires an ace

Bob Garrett of Cape Girardeau recently recorded his fourth career hole in one at Dalhousie Golf Club.

Garrett used a 6-iron to ace No. 5, a par 3 playing 175 yards. Witnesses to the shot were George Landre, Ken Schmitz and Darius Seabaugh.

Chip-A-Ways

Mary VanCleve carded a 44 to win "A" flight at the Chip-A-Ways' weekly event at Cape Jaycee Municipal Golf Course.

Fern Trickey and Melba Masterson tied for first in "B" flight. Bev Wink claimed low putts and Fay Harris won play of the day -- "Closest to Pin on No. 18."

Chip-A-Way members Deanna Peterman and Carol Brown recently placed first in "B" flight in a two-lady scramble at Egyptian Country Club.

Cape Girardeau C.C.

Joyce Kuntze and Mary Ellen Bean shot a 67 to win the Women's Golf Association's White Elephant Tournament, a two-person scramble.

Catherine Weed and Beverly Hahs were five strokes back at 72, a shot ahead of Vicki McKinney and Kerri Jones.

Closest to the pin winners were: Pat Strom (No. 2), Jones (No. 6), McKinney (No. 8), Bean (No. 11) and Weed (No. 14).

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