An already long day of golf got a big longer for Kickapoo and Joplin on Tuesday. For Kickapoo, the wait yielded a conference title.
For both teams, it was a chance to experience district-like pressure.
CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
The Lady Chiefs edged Joplin by a single stroke in a one-hole playoff at Rivercut, winning the Ozark Conference championship.
“I’m so proud of them, they did their best,” said Joplin coach Shannon Neill. “It was a whole new experience for them, lots of pressure… That’s the first time we’ve ever had a playoff like that, the girls were kind of shocked at the beginning.”
Joplin caught everyone in the clubhouse area by surprise when it matched Kickapoo’s team score of 399. The normal tiebreaker is the score from each team’s No. 5 finisher, but Joplin’s Alyx Colson and Kickapoo’s Emma Beason and Paige Waggoner all shot 112.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Bridgette Wells, who led Kickapoo with an 86. “I thought ‘OK, I guess we’ll do a scorecard playoff.’ It was really interesting. When I heard we were doing (a one-hole playoff), I honestly didn’t believe it. But I’m glad we did, it was a good experience for the girls to see how well we can do in a playoff and under pressure.”
With scores from all five players counting in the one-hole playoff, nerves increased. A typically relaxed and social environment turned tense as one swing could sway the conference title.
“I guess it showed me who makes the pressure shots and who has more trouble,” said Kickapoo coach Angie Whytlaw-Odom. “But I think that’s something we need to work on, obviously, if we ever get into that situation again. I think it’s pretty rare.”
Split into two groups on the par-4 Hole 1, Samantha Stout birdied to give Joplin the early edge. But in the next group, Kickapoo got 5s from Anna Arat and Paige Waggoner to overtake the Lady Eagles.
Whytlaw-Odom said Waggoner, who shot a 112 over 18 holes, came up clutch for Kickapoo.
“(Her 5) pretty much saved us,” Whytlaw-Odom said.
Wells overcame a shaky drive to get a 6 in the playoff hole.
“I was surprised when my drive really went right, but I recovered well from a tricky sand shot,” Wells said. “I came back to where I was wanting to hit, out of the sand. My chip up was kind of long but I was able to chip back on and putt, so after shooting 18 holes I was happy with that.”
Kickapoo recorded a 31 in the playoff to beat Joplin’s 32. The tournament was played in double-par format.
Glendale sophomore Sun Jung cruised to the individual title with a 78. Wells was second with 86, and Lebanon’s Pavin Jackson came in third after shooting 88.
The MSU Relays take place Thursday at Bill & Payne Stewart Golf Course in north Springfield.
1. Kickapoo 399 (31)
2. Joplin 399 (32)
3. Lebanon 415
4. Camdenton 436
5. Glendale 455
6. West Plains 457
7. Rolla 467
Individual finishers (par 72)
Kickapoo – Bridgette Wells (86-6), Anna Arat (101-5), Haley Snow (100-7), Emma Beason (112-8), Paige Waggoner (112-5)
Joplin – Samantha Stout (98-3), Linsey Fichtner (93-6), Maggie Dowell (104-8), Alyx Colson (112-8), Chanci McGowen (104-7)
Lebanon – Pavin Jackson (88), Tori Howe (95), Taylor Schoonover (117), Renee Hudson (115), Audrey Palmer (121)
Camdenton – Mackenzie Griffin (94), Katie Bird (103), Brianna Knopf (123), Sarah Hockley (120), Hailli Myers (119)
Glendale – Sun Jung (78), Jayce Collins (119), Olyvia Comer (140), Sarah Robertson (118),
West Plains – Kelsy Temple (91), Keely Temple (101), Taylor Guffey (129), Avriel Moore (136)
Rolla – Kelsey Moreland (111), Jordan Stevens (136), P. Barr (110), Abby Clanzy (124), Mikaela Insall (122)
Waynesville – Robin Lacy (114), Hanna Siegel (129)
Parkview – Taylor Bowman (130), Danna Harvey (142)
Hillcrest – Hailey Hasek (111)
All-conference golfers (Top 10 plus ties)
Sun Jung, Bridgette Wells, Pavin Jackson, Kelsy Temple, Linsey Fichtner, Mackenzie Griffin, Tori Howe, Samantha Stout, Haley Snow, Anna Arat, Keely Temple
All-conference honorable mention (Top 15 plus ties)
Maggie Dowell, Chanci McGowen, Katie Bird, P. Barr, Hailey Hasek, Kelsey Moreland