Although it wasn’t a win like in the Waynesville Tournament on Tuesday, the Rolla High School boys golf team unquestionably had its best tournament of the year Thursday in the Missouri State University Relays.


The Bulldogs placed second in a very strong field at Bill & Payne Stewart Golf Course that included the top three finishing teams at state in Class 4 in 2007. Only defending state champion Glendale bested Rolla, winning the tournament with a 297.


Although it wasn’t a win like in the Waynesville Tournament on Tuesday, the Rolla High School boys golf team unquestionably had its best tournament of the year Thursday in the Missouri State University Relays.

The Bulldogs placed second in a very strong field at Bill & Payne Stewart Golf Course that included the top three finishing teams at state in Class 4 in 2007. Only defending state champion Glendale bested Rolla, winning the tournament with a 297.

RHS was just three strokes behind with a 300. Kickapoo was third at 302, Glendale JV fourth at 304, Poplar Bluff fifth at 305, Rockhurst sixth at 310, Nixa seventh at 313, Lebanon eighth at 318, Hillcrest ninth at 323, Ozark 10th at 333, Central 11th at 336, and Waynesville 12th at 358.

“We didn’t win, but Glendale is the defending state champs. This is just what we needed going into districts. Tuesday helped, but this should be even a bigger confidence booster. There were some really good teams here, and we beat a lot of them,” RHS head coach Zack Nixon said. “This shows we can compete with anybody and can win.”

“This was most definitely our best tournament. We were real, real close. I think we could have pulled it off. I think we all could have made up three strokes somewhere,” said junior Chris Martin, who was one of two Bulldogs that medaled Thursday. “This should give us a lot of momentum going into districts.”

The tournament had two other divisions, one for Class 3 teams and one for Class 2 and Class 1 teams. Rolla competed in the Class 4 division.

Dixon’s Jace Long, one of top prep golfers in the nation who has signed to play for the University of Missouri, put together another brilliant round and was the individual tournament medalist with a 6-under-par 64.

Hillcrest’s Daily Young, the defending Class 4 state champion, won the Class 4 division with a 67. The other golfers that earned a medal in the Class 4 division included Poplar Bluff’s Trent Hillis with a 68, Martin with a 70, Glendale’s Thomas Brockman and John Fulp with 71s, and Rolla’s Will Baylor with a 73.

“Chris is swinging the ball extraordinarily well. Apparently, he had six chips in a span of three holes and still shot a 70. That’s pretty good.” Nixon said. “Will is really coming on strong, and I was glad to see him play well.”

Also for Rolla, Brandon Weaver had a 76, Brock Jones an 81, and Chris Dodge an 82.

Martin had four birdies in his even-par round. The first one came on hole No. 12, his sixth hole of the day. He ripped his drive to 100 yards out. He then hit a gap wedge to 10 feet and sank the putt.

He also birdied three of six holes down the stretch. On hole No. 16, he sank a 25-foot putt. He chipped in on hole No. 1. On hole No. 3, he got up-and-down on a short par 5.

“I had a lot of birdie opportunities, and I was putting a little better today,” Martin said.

Next up for Rolla is the Class 4, District 5 Tournament. It is slated for Monday at Innsbrook Resort Golf Course, located 45 minutes west of St. Louis.

“We are going to go play a practice round on Saturday. We’ll go and get a look at the course. I like to do that early so they can rest a little on Sunday and stick to the range.

Districts is always a long day where a round usually last six hours, so I want them to have fresh legs,” Nixon said. “The course is a placement course. It’s not one you can overpower. We’ll be doing a lot of work on our wedges.”

Martin says he’s been hitting 300 to 400 wedge shots a night in his back yard in preparation.

“Hopefully, it will pay off Monday.”

Rolla finished fourth at districts a year ago. Only one team advances to state, so the Bulldogs we’ll be looking to improve three spots this year. Like they have been saying all year, the key will be to bring home four solid scores.

“In the past, we have had one or two guys play well and the last three struggle. Today, nobody played really bad. Maybe, they didn’t have their A-game, but they still shot a decent score. We’ll need to do that again,” Martin said. “We have been slowly improving, and hopefully we will all play great on Monday.”

“It’s going to be pretty exciting to see what happens in the next few days,” Nixon said. “If we play like we did today, we have a shot against teams of the caliber of Jefferson City and Helias like we’ll be seeing on Monday.”