Just three days after the unexpected death of freshman golfer Sam Holmes, the Missouri State University men’s golf team hosted the second annual Twin Oaks Intercollegiate.
“We weren’t really sure if we were even going to play, but we ended up making the decision to play because we just wanted to do Sam proud,” sophomore Adam Fisher said. “We are a family, and we are a close-knit group who just wanted to do our best.”
Fisher and the Bears dominated on day one of the tournament, as they led by four strokes after the first 36 holes. Fisher played extremely well on the first day, posting a -3 after the first two rounds.
“I wouldn’t say I played my best golf, but I was just being patient out there. On that course, you are going to make a lot of Birdies, and just knowing that, and starting with seven pars in a row, I knew I just needed to keep patient.”
MSU led after round one with an impressive score of 288 (+4). In round one, Fisher shot a -3, while sophomore Jack Knoesel and freshman Chris Obert finished at +2. In round two, the Bears finished with the second best score of 287 (+3).
Bradley posted a 291 (+7) in round one and a 286 (+2) in round two. The Braves were the only team competing with the Bears, following the first day of the tournament.
Entering round three, the Bears held a two-stroke lead, but that would quickly evaporate thanks to Bradley’s play on the second day.
“I have to give a lot of credit to Bradley for playing really good on Tuesday,” head coach Neal Stafford said. “They really played well out there.”
Round three was delayed by weather, and the Braves took advantage of the delay by overcoming the two-stroke deficit. Ethan Blue and Zach Jewell of Bradley combined to shoot a -6 in round three to secure Bradley the tournament victory.
The Braves finished with a combined score of 859. Missouri State finished in second with an 861, and Southern Illinois University shot a total of 876, which was good enough for third place.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect in the tournament. The guys felt comfortable to go ahead and play the event,” Stafford said. “Looking back, it was a really great thing for Sam’s family and for us.”
Fisher led the Bears with a combined score of 208 (-5) which was good enough for second on the leaderboard. Fisher trailed only Bradley’s Blue who shot a 207 for the tournament.
“Adam’s development as a player has been really impressive, and he has a lot of different tools,” Stafford said. “He is a great ball-striker, who chips and puts it well. He’s knocking on the door this year and has had a couple of runners up this year.”
The Bears second place finish at Twin Oaks was their best in the spring semester. A week prior to the Twin Oaks Intercollegiate, the Bears finished in 21st out of 24 teams in Dallas, Texas.
“Dallas was a first hiccup this year because we won two tournaments in the fall,” Stafford
said. “That was the first time since the fall of ‘88 that we won two events in the same semester.”
Fisher admitted that although golf is generally a mental game, the mental aspect became a little tougher following Holmes’ death.
“For me, golf is an escape from everything,” Fisher said. “Whatever happens during the day, golf is an escape for me. When I am out there on the golf course, I completely forget about everything.”
Missouri State travels to Jonesboro, Arkansas, to compete in the Redwolves Intercollegiate on April 3-4.
“We aren’t at our best right now, but we are still playing some good golf,” Fisher said. “Looking forward, we just need to keep putting up solid scores.