ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Spoofhound golfers Emily Long and Trevin Cunningham have spent a portion of their summers continuing to work on their golf games by participating in the Northwest Missouri Junior Tour. The Tour was at Fairview Golf Course in St. Joseph on Monday.
“It feels good to know that I can compete in the offseason with high school golfers and keep my game up for the actual season,” Cunningham said.
Both players say the Junior Tour provides them the opportunity to get some valuable practice in during the summer, but also play some of the courses that they are likely to see during their high school seasons.
“It is good practice especially since we see a lot of those courses during season,” Long said. “It opens up another level of competition.”
For Cunningham, it was his first time playing at Fairview.
“It is nice (to play here), because it is different than Mozingo,” Cunningham said. “There are a lot of trees here while Mozingo is more barren. It is good for me because I might never play this course in an actual tournament but it will be good preparation for courses that are similar to it.”
It was a tough day for scoring at Fairview, but Long battled through the course to shoot a 91 and tie for first place in the girls’ 16-18 age group along with Chillicothe’s Hallie Jones. Lafayette’s Caroline Ruden was the only other golfer in the division to stay out of the triple digits and finished with a 96 to take third.
Long’s season is fast approaching on the calendar with the girls’ season beginning in fall. The senior will be in her fourth year as the team’s No. 1 golfer. After finishing in the top-15 at state the past two seasons and with the team losing its No. 2, 3 and 4 players from last year, Long will be counted on for a big senior season.
The biggest thing Long has focused on this offseason is adding strength and she says she can see that difference with her drives.
“I’m gaining distance,” Long said. “I’ve been working out and lifting weights. I’ve figured out how to get my hips all the way left to create swing speed.”
Cunningham is coming off a tremendous freshman campaign which saw him qualify for state, but with the Maryville boys also losing three of their top five players, Cunningham knows he will have more expectations placed on him as a sophomore.
“It makes me just want to keep fighting and striving to get better,” Cunningham said.
His 14-15 age group with the Junior Tour gives Cunningham a unique opportunity to face some fierce competition from St. Joseph with Sam Schoeberl along with Pat and Tim Johnston. Cunningham likes test himself against the quality competition though.
“It is a competitive little group and whatever they shoot, I just want to shoot better,” Cunningham said. “I know it is the same for them so it is good to know that we can compete with pretty much the same skill level of people.”
Cunningham finished tied for third on Monday with Schoeberl by shooting an 84. Tim Johnston won the division with an 81 and Pat Johnston shot an 82.
The strength of the 14-15 age bracket was on display as they finished with four of the top six scores in the entire tournament as Central golfer Jaxon Nurski shot a two-under 70 to win the 16-18 age division and Joey Keeth had an 82 in that division as well.
The Junior Tour continues next week with a trip to Moila Country Club in St. Joseph.