Tigers place second at 19th annual Sonic Invitational
The Nevada Tiger golf team slotted into a runner-up finish at Monday’s 19th annual Sonic Invitational hosted by Carthage High School.
The 18-team, 18-hole event held at Carthage Municipal Golf Course was played under a different format than in any previous year, which ultimately doomed Nevada from repeating as champions.
Under the traditional format, each school fields five golfers, tossing out the highest scorecard at the conclusion of play. Under the 2017 rules, each team was allowed to use its best score from the fifth scorecard, if that score for any particular hole trumped a teammates score, according to Nevada High golf coach Brian Leonard.
Under the traditional rules, Nevada would have carded an overall team score of 300, but improved its team score by only one stroke under the modified format, finishing with a 299. “What we did, was we took the best four scores on a hole,” Leonard explained. “At the end, the computer figured up the lowest four scores for a hole.”
Meanwhile, Nixa took full advantage, improving its team score by a whopping 12 strokes, moving from 308 under the old rules to 296 under the freshly implemented format.
“Because Nixa’s No. 5 guy shot better and played better, they got to use his score on several holes, and it reduced their score (by a dozen strokes),” Leonard said.
“It’s a little confusing. The reason (Carthage’s head coach) did this, was because usually the No. 5 player scores so high that’s he’s usually never part of the team score –– and he wanted the No. 5 player to help contribute to the team and feel like they were playing for something.”
Leonard continued: “Nixa’s No. 5 guy contributed 12-strokes. That’s the way they played it, and that’s the way it is. But it was interesting, it was fun being out on the course with the boys all day.”
Leonard said his squad was unable to finish strong, shooting a combined 12-over-par over the final four holes.
“Which killed us,” Leonard said. “It killed us.”
Tiger golfers netted a trio of top 10 individual finishes, as NHS senior Jacob Hammontree placed fifth with a 2-over-par 73; while fellow seniors John Quitno and Patrick Ferry tied for eighth with a 4-over-par 75. Finishing in 11th was Nevada sophomore Bronson Smith with a 78.
“The greens were quick as lightning,” Leonard said. “The par-3’s are actually what killed us on scoring.”
Leonard said his players began to wear down at the nearly six-hour marathon outing.
“Patrick actually played the best out of all them,” Leonard said of his team. “He hit 14 of 18 greens, but (had trouble) making putts. He could not figure out those greens. But he hit the ball great. I was very pleased with how he played.”
The Tigers play host to the West Central Conference Tournament, with tee times set for 10 a.m. Wednesday, April 26 at Frank E. Peters Municipal Golf Course.