Jeff Pope didn’t need the round of his life to beat some of the best golfers in the state in Monday’s Columbia Classic. He needed two consistent rounds.
Pope, a Rock Bridge senior, shot a 1-over-par 71 to win the Columbia Classic at A.L. Gustin Golf Course. Pope shot a 35 and a 36 despite missing seven birdie putts, including five on his last nine holes.
“I just didn’t make any big mistakes,” Pope said. “I didn’t mishit any shots. I made solid contact every time and I avoided three-putts.”
Hickman had a 284 to win the unique team competition. Each school picked two players to compete as individuals, two as a best-ball team and two as a scramble team. Chaminade finished second, a stroke behind, and Rock Bridge finished third with a 291.Hickman’s D.J. Chung and Josh Brady shot 75s in individual competition, and Ben Meredith and Kyle Kochtanek placed third in the scramble, making an eagle on the first hole, the eighth the two played in the shotgun-style format. Chris Johnson and Kyle Kovar shot a 69 for the Kewpies in the best-ball competition.
“These are the top schools in the state, and when you beat them like that, in any format, you feel good,” Hickman coach Clark Swisher said.
Drew Weir, a sophomore on Hickman’s junior varsity, shot a 73 to finish second in the individual competition. He tied DeSmet’s Kevin Jaeger, but but won a scorecard playoff, where players’ scorecards are drawn from a hat.
DeSmet, last year’s Class 4 state champion, tied Rolla for fourth with a 295.
Chaminade’s Zach Pranger, last year’s Class 4 state champion, played in a group with Brady and Helias’ Connor McHenry, who finished 14th in Class 4 last year.
“The other guys were doing awesome on the front,” Pranger said. “But on the back nine, everybody melted down. … Everybody got tired.”
Brady shot a 35 on the front nine and a 40 on the back nine.
Rockhurst sophomores Alex Peeples and Colin Davis won the scramble with a 64. Jefferson City’s Nathan Davidson and Doug Smith shot a 65 and were second in a scorecard playoff.
In the best-ball competition, Helias’ Stefan Ballage and Kevin Hogg won with a 68. Rock Bridge’s Thomas Schuenemeyer and Tim Gross tied Chaminade’s Rich Kuempel and Justin Manion at 69 and won the scorecard playoff for second.
Rock Bridge’s Ben Lake shot an 81 in individual competition and Tanner Mills and Andrew Ducharme shot a 70 in the scramble.
Bruins coach Doug Daniels said he was happy with Pope’s play.
“Pope has been playing really well all year,” Daniels said. “We played out here yesterday afternoon and he broke his 6-iron during the practice round.”
Daniels said Pope played without his 6-iron and had to “put more muscle into his 7-iron” to make up the difference. His shot of the day came on the eighth hole when he used his lob wedge to chip the ball in from about 10 yards out.
Will Hall, a Jefferson City junior, won the closest-to-the-pin competition hitting the ball 4 feet from the hole. Brent Ryan, a Smith-Cotton junior, won the longest-drive competition with a 310-yard drive.