Bruins’ Pope frustrated at tournament

Friday, April 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 9:59 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

Golfers from Rock Bridge, Jefferson City and Helias struggled Thursday at A.L. Gustin Golf Course, but Bruins senior Jeff Pope had a particularly hard time.

Jefferson City won the meet with a 302. The Bruins finished second at 308, and Helias finished at 313.

Strong winds visibly frustrated Pope, who won the Columbia Classic at the same course, a par 70, on April 5.

Bruins coach Doug Daniels saw Pope’s distress while Pope hit a few shots after his round to vent.

“My best golfer looks like he’s about to commit hara-kiri out there,” Daniels said.

A three-putt on the second hole was an omen for Pope, who finished with an 11-over 81. The frustration reached its highest level on the 18th green, when Pope used his driver to three-put the final hole.

“I played bad,” he said. “I just couldn’t putt. It could have been better, but I kind of quit trying.”

Daniels said there is not much he can do to get golfers in Pope’s situation back in a good groove.

“I don’t do anything,” he said. “They’re all different. Some need time off, and some need to play. I’ve just told my kids not to worry about practice tomorrow.”

Helias’ Connor McHenry seemed immune to the wind that blew shots across the course. McHenry won with a 3-under-par 67. Rock Bridge’s Jay Rader, a junior, came in second with a 74.

McHenry said he had a simple plan, and it worked.

“I just hit it low and swung easy,” he said.

Rader shot a 37 on the front nine, while McHenry shot a 36. McHenrylipped-out an eagle putt on the first hole and settled for birdie. Rader made a long putt that snaked from left to right on the ninth hole to pressure McHenry at the halfway point.

McHenry made his move on the back nine with five birdies on his way to a 31. Rader remained steady, shooting another 37.

Jefferson City was the most consistent, for its five golfers all shot between 75 and 79. Will Call and Elliot Farmer tied at 75 for the Jays’ low round.

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