By Don Eskins (For OzarksSportsZone.com)
Monett High School topped a field of eighteen teams, gathered at Fremont Golf Course on Thursday, to claim the 2018 Ozark Invitational.
The Cubs carded a team low score of 325 to grab this year’s title, just four strokes ahead of the Springfield Catholic Fightin’ Irish who posted a 329. The Joplin Eagles recorded a 348 to take third place while the host Ozark Tigers, who shot a 359, finished fourth.
“I couldn’t be more proud of how these guys played today. They all did some really good things out on the course,” said Monett head coach Brian Cox. “I’ve been coaching for a long time and I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed being around a group of young men any more than these kids.”
The Cubs were paced by Caleb Long who fired a 35 on the front nine and a 39 on the back for a 74. Long gave credit to his approaches to the green for his success.
“My approach game was on point today. I was able to stick them close. I made four birdies and had two lip out birdies,” said Long. “Getting the win felt really good. We also won in Cassville last week so today’s victory made it back-to-back tournament wins for us.”
Springfield Catholic head coach Don East was pleased with the effort his kids turned in.
“We had a very good day today. Our kids played well as a team,” said East. “We had only one medalist in the tournament but our kids still managed to post four good scores to finish second. I’m very happy with the way they played.”
The Irish were led by Walker Serrano who carded a 79.
“I didn’t putt very well today,” Serrano said. “But I hit my irons really well which allowed me to card a pretty good score.”
Miller’s Preston Richardson finished on top of Thursday’s individual leaderboard to grab top medalist honors. He recorded a 35 on the front and 34 on the backside for a very impressive round of 69.
“The wind made it really tough today. I had to think critically about my yardage all day. Putting out was more difficult because the wind made it tougher to get on the greens,” said Richardson. “I haven’t been playing real well as of late so picking up a win today was really satisfying for me.”
Ozark tournament director Justin Peery felt that, despite the wind, area prepsters had a great day of golf at the Fremont course.
“We had 18 teams participating today here at Fremont,” Peery said. “Although we did have some wind the course was in great shape and the weather was the best we’ve had all season so a lot of kids were able to shoot some pretty solid scores.”
Monett: 1. Caleb Long 35-39-74, 2. Clayton Kaiser 38-39-77, 3. Lane Witt 41-41-82, 4. Nick Pilkenton 48-44-92, 5. Conner Durkin 63-55-118.
Catholic: 1. Walker Serrano 40-39-79, 2. Walker Tynes 37-45-82, 3. Dayne Puckett 43-39-82, 4. Nick Palmer 42-44-86, 5. Michael Zolfaghan 43-44-87.
Top 10 Teams
1. Monett – 325
2. Catholic – 329
3. Joplin – 348
4. Ozark – 359
5. Carthage – 360
6. Willard – 362
7. Nixa – 366
8. Greenwood – 372
9. Webb City – 373
10. Republic – 373
Medalists: 1. P. Richardson 69- Miller, 2: C. Long 74- Monett, 3. C. Kaiser 77- Monett, 4. J. Kassing 77- Greenwood, 5. L. Brackett 78- Hillcrest, 6. W. Serrano 79- Catholic, 7. C. Pryor 80- Joplin, 8. F. Campbell 81- Joplin, 9. L. Witt 82- Monett, 10. T. Markham- Carl Junction.