David McDonald might be known for his distance off the tee, but his short game won him his second straight Kiwanis Columbia Championship against nine-time winner Dee Sanders.
McDonald shot a 67 on Sunday to bring him to a 208 total and a five-stroke win against Sanders. Jim Starr was third at 217.
After two days of play at A.L. Gustin and Lake of the Woods, McDonald led the field by one stroke going into Sunday’s match-up at the Country Club of Missouri. By the time he had finished the front nine, he had the tournament in the bag with a five-stroke lead.
“It would have taken a real coming apart by McDonald for someone else to win,” tournament organizer Rex Dillow said.
McDonald finished the front nine at 5-under-par, with four birdies and one eagle on the par-5 third hole. He started with a long putt on the par-4 first hole for a birdie.
“That was huge,” McDonald said. “Starting off with a shot like that makes such a big difference.”
Although McDonald had the longest drive on most of the holes, his play on the greens gave him the advantage against Sanders and David Teel, who was third going into Sunday’s play.
“It was about as good a putting exhibition as I’ve ever seen,” Sanders said. “He made it look easy.”
Sanders had three birdies and shot 33 on the front nine. Teel shot 36 for par after missing some close putts.
Sanders had hoped to put a little more pressure on McDonald on the back nine, but he could not overcome McDonald’s play on the front nine.
The back nine gave all three a little more trouble. McDonald and Sanders shot par, with one birdie apiece.
McDonald overshot his sand wedge for a bogey on the par-4 15th, and Sanders had trouble on the green on the par-3 13th. Teel fell behind after hitting into a hazard on the 14th hole.
In the past few years, McDonald and Sanders have faced each other often in the final round of the City Championship.
“We’ve had some pretty good battles,” McDonald said. “Sanders is such a great guy. He makes you play better.”
Sanders said he enjoys their good-spirited rivalry as well, but does not list this particular Championship as his favorite.
“I like the other nine better,” Sanders said.