Tigers capture Neosho Invitational, open golf season with a bang
The Nevada Tigers golf team sizzled in bitterly cold conditions as they placed first at Thursday's season-opening Neosho Invitational. In addition, Nevada junior John Quitno carded the tournament's low overall individual score of 75.
Tigers head coach Brian Leonard said his squad has now won the tournament for a third consecutive season. Nevada's 315 first-place team score easily bested runner-up Neosho, who finished with a 328 in the eight-team invitational.
According to Leonard, the tournament has a unique format, with two golfers from each team competing individually, two teaming up to play "best-ball," and two pairing up to compete in a "scramble" format. The four scores are then tallied together for the overall team score.
"These boys fought off some of the coldest weather conditions I have ever been a part of," said the veteran NHS golf coach. "Wind chills dipped to around 25 degrees at times. But they still fought through and brought home the team championship, again."
Leonard said his team was focused on extending the streak.
"These young men really wanted to win this tournament three years in a row," he said. "That's what the talk has been for the last week. 'Can we win it again?' I told them, 'of course we can ---- keep fighting and never give up."'
Leonard said he was impressed with Quitno's top score of 5-over-par 75. Quitno enters the season as Nevada's top golfer, as he placed third at the Missouri Class 3 State Golf Championship as a sophomore last season.
"It was a fantastic score for the conditions they had to play in," Leonard said of Quitno's performance. "He finished his round with a double-bogey on the last hole, but still had a great round to continue his winning ways."
Nevada's Patrick Ferry and Dalton Jones joined forces to take the top prize in the best-ball division, firing a 79.
"This was Dalton's first varsity tournament," Leonard said. "And Patrick had a solid round in his effort today."
The scramble team of Jacob Hammontree and Matt Barrett finished in third-place with a 6-over-par 76.
Nevada's Levi Palmer finished fifth in the individual competition, scoring out at 85.
"Levi struggled on the greens," Leonard said. "The greens were very fast and he had a hard time figuring out the speeds today."
Leonard said he is encouraged by Thursday's results, as the Tigers enter the 2016 season with high expectations.
"I am very proud of these young men," he said. "Their effort today was a great way to start out the season. If they continue to put out this type of effort, we will have an excellent opportunity to advance to the state tournament as a team."
Nevada hosts El Dorado Springs Tuesday at Frank E. Peters Municipal Golf Course.
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