By Nolan Epstein (Cover photo courtesy of Glendale Golf [@Glendale_Golf])
For the second consecutive year, Glendale was able to pose for the camera as champions of the MSU Relays – shooting a collective 295 to seal its second tournament win in four days on Thursday afternoon at Bill and Payne Stewart Golf Course.
The Falcons, fresh off a first-place finish at the SPS Invitational which saw freshman Dawson Meek dominate the field three days prior, were led this time around by experienced senior Alex Locke, who topped the leaderboard with a one-over-par 71.
Meek finished one stroke behind his senior teammate by shooting a 72, while Chase Gafner, Brett Davis and Conner Obert posted scores of 75, 77 and 82, respectively.
“They’ve all got the potential to win each week,” Glendale head coach Chris Obert said of his team on Thursday. “As long as they do their own individual thing and take care of their own business, we’ll do really well. It was great today with the MSU event to be able to come out and play well.”
While four of Glendale’s golfers posted scores good enough to garner a top-ten individual finish, it was Locke who stood out the most – using a strong short game to improve on his already solid score of 75 from the same event last season.
“I really enjoy this course, it’s fun to play,” said Locke. “My putting was really working for me today and I was able to hit nice, close wedge shots.”
The senior was able to get off to a hot start by sinking birdies on three of his first five holes. After shooting a one-under par on holes 2 and 3, the two longest holes of the course, Locke capped off his impressive opening on the bending 398-yard Hole 5.
“I hit a nice shot in there to about two feet to tap in for birdie,” Locke said about his Hole 5 performance. “It was nice to kind of get on a roll and to be able to try and keep that going through the rest of the round.”
Thursday’s favorable forecast allowed Locke and his fellow Falcons to approach the course’s nuances in a more traditional manner after having to adjust to wet and windy conditions at Millwood Golf and Racquet Club on Monday.
“On Monday we played the ball down, and today, we were able to lift clean and place through the green,” added Locke. “I didn’t really know what the weather was. I didn’t really look at the forecast, so I’m glad we were able to get this in.”
Rolla senior Stewart Meusch recorded a score of 73, which was good for third overall on the day and gave him the top score outside of anyone on Glendale.
Meusch led his Class 4 Bulldogs to a team score of 334 and a seventh-place finish out of 25 competing teams.
“I was feeling pretty good,” Meusch said. “I wasn’t hitting my irons too well, but with my wedges, I was hitting everything to about seven feet and then my putter was just on fire. I was just getting up and down on every hole.”
Rockhurst finished in second place with a score of 318, while Lebanon and Catholic tied for third with a team score of 320.
Top 10 Team Scores:
1. Glendale (A), 295
2. Rockhurst, 318
T-3. Lebanon, 320
T-3. Catholic, 320
5. Logan-Rogersville, 328
6. Kickapoo (A), 333
7. Rolla, 334
8. Kickapoo (B), 336
9. Hillcrest, 349
10. Aurora, 350
Top 10 Individuals:
1. Alex Locke, Glendale, 71
2. Dawson Meek, Glendale, 72
T-3. Stewart Meusch, Rolla, 73
T-4. Chase Gafner, Glendale, 75
T-4. Tryn Titus, Lebanon, 75
T-4. Jacob Hefley, Logan-Rogersville, 75
T-4. Taylor Haltom, Ava, 75
8. Matt O’Keefe, Rockhurst, 76
T-9. Drake Johnson, Springfield Catholic, 77
T-9. Adam Cunnyngham, Galena, 77
T-9. Drew Ritter, Logan-Rogersville, 77
T-9. Cooper Hess, Lebanon, 77
T-9. Brett Davis, Glendale, 77