The most significant obstacle standing in the way of Liberty golfer Sam Parrott’s state-championship aspirations came a day before he even set foot on the course.
After receiving his high school diploma Sunday, Parrott was involved in a car wreck while traveling to Joplin for the Missouri Class 4 state tourney. He woke at 4 a.m. Monday morning with lower back pain.
He departed the golf course fewer than 12 hours later in the hunt for his first state title.
Parrott shot a 1-over-par 73 on the first day of the state meet Monday at Joplin’s Twin Hills Country Club, putting him 1 stroke behind a three-way tie for the lead. The tournament will conclude with the final round Tuesday.
“I was only swinging about 75 percent today, but it actually made me slow down a little bit and dial it back,” Parrott said. “There were a couple of swings that were pretty painful, but I made it through. And I’ve been taking ibuprofen religiously, so that helps.”
Parrott, a senior, placed second at the state tournament last season. He played most of his round Monday in the red numbers before a couple of late bogeys ballooned his score to 1-over.
“Coming back from last year, I knew where I needed to be. I knew anything around par would be a good score, so I was able to stay patient today,” Parrott said. “I made some putts, which really helped.”
Liberty North’s Tanner Collins (74) is tied for seventh; Rockhurst’s Jake Propeck (75) is tied for 10th; Rockhurst’s Rob Enright (76) is tied for 14th; and Rockhurst’s Mike Bessenbacher (77) is tied for 19th.
Rockhurst is in second place in the Class 4 team standings after a team total of 305, 5 shots behind Springfield Glendale. Liberty North, which totaled 320, is tied for fifth.
“I thought they played well. All five of our kids are in the top 27, so we’re pretty consistent,” Rockhurst coach Mark Nusbaum said. “But they all think they can cut a stroke or two off their score and put us in a good spot (Tuesday).”
At the Missouri Class 3 state meet at Sedalia Country Club, Pembroke Hill occupies fifth place in the team standings. The Raiders were paced Monday by August Hoffman, whose round of 6-over 76 placed him 15th on the leader board.
In Missouri Class 2, which is being played at the Fremont Hills Country Club, Summit Christian Academy golfer Alex Brown is tied for 16th. He carded a 79.