COLUMBIA — When the Phil Cotton Golf Invitational ended Sunday evening at A.L. Gustin Golf Course, the smallest person on the course had one of the biggest impacts.
John Skelton, who just graduated from Boonville High School, defeated Ben Godwin, 41, in a playoff to win the tournament. But he couldn't have done it without his good friend Brett Windsor who rode in Skelton's cart throughout the round and helped read the greens.
Windsor, 14, is maybe half the size of Skelton and less than half the age of a lot of the other competitors, but he helped Skelton roll in some big putts on Sunday, including the birdie on the second playoff hole that led to Skelton's victory.
"Oh, he can read them. I guess it's because he's so low to the ground," Skelton said with a grin.
The two have been friends for about four years and play a lot of golf together. Skelton said Windsor probably saved him five strokes in the final round.
"He can read the putts, and I trust him 100 percent on them," Skelton said. "That's what the big factor was, just trusting his reads."
Godwin shot 67 in opening round and held a two-shot lead over Skelton and Taylor Cox, who both carded 69s on Saturday, going into Sunday's final round.
Skelton played well on the front nine Sunday, shooting 33, to put himself in contention at the end.
"It all came down to the front nine," Skelton said of his victory, which included four birdies in the first eight holes.
Godwin, who struggled on the back nine Sunday, held a one-shot lead over Skelton heading into the 18th hole.
Skelton rolled in a 10-foot putt for par with the help of Windsor, and when Godwin missed a short putt and had to settle for a bogey, the two were tied at 138 for the tournament.
"I just kind of hung in there and made pars, made pars, made pars," Skelton said of his 36 on the back nine.
Godwin's bogey on 18 put him at one-over-par 71 for the day, but he did not go quietly in the playoff.
On the first playoff hole Godwin rolled in a long birdie putt to match Skelton who was waiting to finish his birdie from two-feet away.
"I was pretty nervous," Skelton said of the playoff. "I thought it was done on the first, and he hit a great putt. All the credit to him, it was an awesome putt."
On the second playoff hole, however, Godwin couldn't match the Skelton-Windsor team. After narrowly missing another long birdie putt, Godwin could only watch as Windsor helped Skelton line up his birdie opportunity.
Skelton hit the putt and followed his ball as it dropped into the hole for the win.
"I was feeling good the whole time," Windsor said. "I felt really good for him — just really happy he won."
After the round, Skelton had nothing but praise for his young friend's help and Windsor's own golf game.
"He's going to be the next Boonville star," Skelton said.
Jeff Johnson, of Ballwin, won the tournament's senior division. After shooting an opening round 65 to give him the lead, Johnson shot 72 Sunday to hold on and win by one stroke.