Drew Stoltz, winner of the 8th Metropolitan Open held July 11-13 at the Country Club of St. Albans, had never even heard of the event until earlier this summer. A mini-tour friend told Drew that he and St. Louis native Justin Bardgett were playing in the Met Open before heading to KC after the event to try to “Monday qualify” into the Web.com Tour Midwest Classic in Kansas City. Stoltz checked his schedule, saw he had an open week before the Web.com qualifier, and entered the event. He shot a 2-under 68 on Sunday to finish at 4-under 206 and come from behind to win the Jimmy Manion Trophy and the $13,500 first-place check. That will pay for a lot of gas and burgers as he plies his trade on the mini-tours and works to get to the PGA Tour.
This is the first year the event has had a title sponsor, Plaza Motors, and it’s clear that Plaza’s significant financial support ($45,000 total purse) has grabbed the attention of the numerous local mini-tour pros as well as a number of out-of-town pros , like Stoltz, who have put the Open on their schedules. And it looked and felt like a “real” golf tournament the moment one arrived at the beautiful links-style Lewis and Clark course at St. Albans. There was a large leaderboard, updated regularly, adjacent to the 18th green and a couple of smaller leaderboards that helped the leaders keep track of their positions. With 34 professionals in the post-cut field of 46, including 6 pros in the final 3 twosomes, this no longer felt like a “local” event where area pros and ams could play together in friendly competition. The Open has grown up and it seems a certainty that professionals will continue to flock to St. Albans in the years to come.
Metropolitan Amateur GA Executive Director Curt Rohe said, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the strength of the field this year, the support from our presenting sponsor, Plaza Motors and their GM, Jerry Patterson, and all of the St. Albans staff who continue to help us improve this event. The golf course was in fantastic condition thanks to the work of Superintendent Bill Maynard and his crew. Head Golf Professional Joe Schwent and his staff were a great help as we prepared for the event. And many St. Albans members worked tirelessly behind the scenes to insure that all details were attended to. It’s probably not well known that CC of St. Albans was the very first facility signed by the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association when it was formed back in 1992. So it’s a special place for us and truly the home of the Metropolitan Open.”
Stoltz held off two-time winner (2010, 2011) Shawn Jasper and KU grad Chris Thompson who finished T2 at 3-under. Stoltz said, ”The scoreboards were very helpful coming in on the back 9. I had a ‘kick-in’ birdie on 12 that got me to 4-under…
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