Joplin golfers claim SPS Invitational title

Joplin golfers claim SPS Invitational title

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Joplin golfers claim SPS Invitational title

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Last week, the Joplin High School baseball team came to Springfield and went 4-0 to win the Red and Blue Classic baseball tournament.

On Monday, the boys golf team traveled down Interstate 44 and won the Springfield Public Schools Invitational golf tournament, edging Springfield perennial powers Kickapoo and Glendale by a stroke apiece.

Junior Nick Yuhas shot 73 to lead the Eagles to a team score of 324, and the two-time defending Ozark Conference champions won their second tournament of the season at the Hickory Hills Country Club.

Yuhas made two birdies and three bogeys in what he deemed an uneventful round.

“My irons were pretty accurate and I hit it pretty close a lot,” Yuhas said. “It was an easy round, I didn’t do anything special.”

Yuhas said he was on the green 13 times in regulation, and he saved par with a couple of 15-footers, benefiting from one of the first nice days of a wintry spring.

Joplin won Webb City’s tournament last week with Griffin Locke falling in a playoff for medalist honors. Locke, who joins Yuhas at the top of Joplin’s lineup, then won a playoff to earn a title at Joplin’s meet.

Locke was third with a 75 on Monday. The pair has provided a nice one-two punch, but Yuhas also credited teammates Tamerik Branham, Austin Garritson and Chance Sticklen for keying the team title.

“You can always count on (Locke and Yuhas),” Joplin coach Jack Pace said. “I look for one of them to win a tournament here, and the other to win a tournament there.

“But overall, that’s the first time my 3-4-5 all shot in the 80s.”

Glendale and Kickapoo were both balanced for a second-place team finish, carding 325s. Kickapoo’s John Fuchs and Palmer Harrison led the Chiefs with 79s, and ninth-place Baron Weaver led Glendale with a 78.

The Chiefs and Falcons will have another shot at Joplin coming up at the Ozark Conference championships on April 22 in Rolla.

The highest city finish belonged to a freshman, though, as Catholic freshman Nick Walz shot 77 to tie Aurora’s Grant Seifried and Ozark’s Miles Aduddell for sixth.

Walz has a similarly steady round to Yuhas, with three birdies. He led the fourth-place Irish, who should contend with Rogersville for the Central Ozark Conference Small Division title, and finish well at Class 2 state.

“I was hitting really good shots into the green,” Walz said. “We’re going to do really good (this year). We have a pretty strong team.”

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