ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Spoofhound golfers Emily Long and Trevin Cunningham finished their Northwest Missouri Junior Tour season in fabulous fashion with first-place finishes in their divisions at the Tour Championship.
Long was able to shoot an 87 at St. Joseph Country Club on Thursday. Her closest competitor in the girls’ 16-18 age division, Stanberry graduate Allison Marticke, finished with a 92 and Chillicothe’s Halle Jones had a 93 while East Atchison’s Jae Barnett shot a 104.
“I started off rough with a seven on a par-four,” Long said. “I knew I was going to have to start playing better if I wanted to place so I parred the next couple holes.”
Long was able to use her strong play around the greens to compensate for some struggles off the tee.
“I was able to save my score a little bit with my short game, because my distance and swing were jacked up,” Long said.
For the season, Long finished second in her division for overall points behind her friend Jones. She is confident that her summer season has her game ready for the Spoofhounds’ fall season.
“It definitely shows the competition and playing the Kansas City tours has helped me too because I see girls I don’t normally see and courses I don’t normally see,” Long said. “It is a new experience.”
Long and the rest of the Spoofhounds will open their season on September 3 with a tournament at Mozingo Lake Recreation Park.
Cunningham dominated his boys’ 14-15 age division with an 88. Parker Amos was second in the division with a 97 and Carson Childers was third with a 109.
“My putting was better than it has been all year,” Cunningham said. “I was making long putts and also making the five footers that I have to make. My iron game was really good. If I could have gotten off the tee a little better, it would have been really good.”
Cunningham is coming off a state-qualifying spring golf season, but the sophomore says he was able to continue to build on that during the summer. His mental game was what he thought he took the biggest jump.
“I learned that I don’t have to go after every pin,” Cunningham said. “I can go a little bit more conservative and I’ll still shoot well as long as I putt well.”
He finished third overall in the division for the season.
Maryville senior Trent Shell will join Cunningham as a leader on next season’s Spoofhounds. Shell finished third in his boys’ 16-18 age division for both the day and the season.
On Thursday, Shell shot an 81, but St. Joseph-Central teammates Daniel Love and Jaxson Nurski shot 73 and 77 respectively. The division’s top trio have pushed each other all season.
“The competition is tough,” Shell said. “You can’t just steamroll through everyone. … It is tough competition, but it is fun.”
Shell was happy with how his day began at St. Joseph Country Club, but not as pleased with the back nine.
“The front nine, I didn’t really have any complaints — 37 for this course isn’t awful,” Shell said. “Then I got to the back nine and I guess I had a little pressure. I was shooting and everything just went downhill. I couldn’t chip, my putting wasn’t the best and getting off the tee was awful. A 37 and a 44 — not really what I wanted.”
The senior credits the Junior Tour with helping him to sharpen his putting.
“My putting got a lot better this year,” Shell said. “It is going to save me a lot of strokes.”