[ {"id":"7c375b84-84f2-5b43-8e95-172f47b926e5","type":"article","starttime":"1457028000","starttime_iso8601":"2016-03-03T12:00:00-06:00","lastupdated":"1457978350","priority":40,"sections":[{"the-daily":"the-daily"},{"sports":"diversions/sports"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Game On!","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/the-daily/article_7c375b84-84f2-5b43-8e95-172f47b926e5.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/the-daily/game-on/article_7c375b84-84f2-5b43-8e95-172f47b926e5.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/the-daily/game-on/article_7c375b84-84f2-5b43-8e95-172f47b926e5.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Frank Cusumano","prologue":"Barry Odom saved a recruiting class. The Mizzou coach was dealing with serious obstacles.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["frank cusumano"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"cc5533a7-7fba-5a75-87f7-501a4874058a","description":"Frank Cusumano","byline":"Photo by Bryan Schraier","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"310","height":"388","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/c5/cc5533a7-7fba-5a75-87f7-501a4874058a/560d4c53b9e07.image.jpg?crop=310%2C388%2C161%2C22&resize=310%2C388&order=crop%2Cresize"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"66","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/c5/cc5533a7-7fba-5a75-87f7-501a4874058a/53bec29945bd7.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"199","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/c5/cc5533a7-7fba-5a75-87f7-501a4874058a/53bec29926073.preview-300.jpg"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1282","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/c/c5/cc5533a7-7fba-5a75-87f7-501a4874058a/560d4c53b9e07.image.jpg?crop=310%2C388%2C161%2C22"}}}],"revision":5,"commentID":"7c375b84-84f2-5b43-8e95-172f47b926e5","body":"

Here\u2019s what\u2019s on my mind this week:

1. Barry Odom saved a recruiting class. The Mizzou coach was dealing with serious obstacles. In the final week, he ended up landing the best two athletes in our town: Harry Ballard from McCluer North and Brendan Scales from Lafayette. The SEC East is still not a powerhouse. Odom has a great staff. The rebuilding of this program may not take that long at all.

2. Josh Heupel is the most important coach in the program right now. For the next six months, he has to have about 5,000 reps with quarterback Drew Lock. Lock has magnificent talent. He didn\u2019t lose it. He was just a kid last year surrounded by a bad team and a bad game plan. If he develops, Mizzou will be just fine.

3. Mizzou basketball is another story. God bless Kim Anderson. It\u2019s not his fault. However, can an A.D. keep the coaching staff around after losing 44 games in two years? I do like his freshman, though.

4. The first sign of age comes when you watch NBC\u2019s Meet the Press instead of ESPN\u2019s SportsCenter on Sunday. OK \u2013 I\u2019m old.

5. Best story I\u2019ve heard this month? Former Cardinals instructor and legend George Kissell made a promise to God. If God allowed his son to get to medical school, he would go to church every day. The kid got in. Kissell would often wear his uniform to church underneath his church clothes.

6. Jim Thomas asked Roger Goodell a question during Super Bowl week. Goodell said he told Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon he\u2019d like to sit down and talk about the future of football in St. Louis. I need a large polo mallet \u2013 can you believe this man? Please go away, commish.

7. This outdoor hockey game at Busch Stadium is going to happen, and it\u2019s going to be one of the coolest events we\u2019ve ever had in our town. The Blues\u2019 Tom Stillman and the Cards\u2019 Bill DeWitt get along like ice cream and chocolate sauce.

8. Major League Soccer needs an owner in our town. Commissioner Don Garber is actually going to help us find one. Imagine having a commissioner like that. I think it will end up like the Blues situation. One guy will be the leader, and there will be a bunch of investors.

9. Trump vs. Clinton will be as interesting as Ali vs. Frazier. And it will last a little longer.

10. Nice to see former Billikens doing well. Chris Braun has built a fabulous sports-apparel business across the river. It\u2019s called Winning Streak.

11. Cool idea by the Cardinals. They have brought back to the organization Jason Isringhausen, Braden Looper and Ryan Ludwick to mentor young players. Classy Cardinals will help the kids. Love the concept.

12. Speaking of class, I have never seen Orlando Pace in a bad mood. One of the best of his generation is now a Hall of Famer. We have two Hall of Fame offensive tackles now in town, Pace and Dan Dierdorf. They were great players and remain even better men.

Frank Cusumano is a 16-time Emmy Award-winner on KSDK-TV; he also hosts The Pressbox on CBS Sports Radio 920 AM from 10 a.m. to noon each weekday and contributes to The Dave Glover Show on FM NewsTalk 97.1. Follow him on Twitter @Frank_Cusumano.

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We have another round of NFL meetings coming up in Chicago on Aug. 11. The NFL has more meetings than a television newsroom--and that is tough to do. One representative from each team is expected to be there. The agenda for this meeting is supposed to be Stan Kroenke\u2019s project in Inglewood vs Carson Project. I am not a very smart guy. There are plenty of report cards at Our Lady of the Pillar, De Smet Jesuit High and UMSL to back up that statement. However, I am here to say I have this figured out nice and easy for the NFL. In fact, if the owners want to rest their private jets for a few days, they don\u2019t really even have to come.

The league is about one thing right now: They want great stadium situations. Every team should be in a top-notch facility. Westminster Christian Academy has a better football stadium than the Raiders. This is not 1975. Running backs should not be running from the baseball infield of the A\u2019s to the outfield in the NFL. That is the Oakland situation. It\u2019s an ugly building with hideous facilities. The best solution for that stadium is a wrecking ball. The city of Oakland has had 30 years to solve the situation. They have been as productive as Congress--nothing has been done, nothing will be done.

Then, we have San Diego. It\u2019s not quite the Titanic. But let\u2019s put it this way: The building is older than most of Tom Brokaw\u2019s ties. San Diego has talked about improving their stadium situation for years. They are moving as fast as a Pinto with four flat tires. The Chargers, unlike the Raiders, have had a successful franchise. The Spanoses have been good owners. The civic leaders are meeting with the NFL. It doesn\u2019t make a difference. Talk is cheap, and that\u2019s all they have done for years in San Diego.

Now, we get to our town. We built one stadium 20 years ago. We are on the cusp of building another. Dave Peacock is hiring the absolute best in their respective fields to help build this billion-dollar facility on the riverfront. The St. Louis NFL Stadium Task Force has accomplished more in half a year than the Raiders and Chargers have done in 30 years. They plan to move railroads and electrical companies. The designs are as creative as they are beautiful. Everything is in place except the financing. Gov. Nixon seems to believe he has the power to extend the bills from the existing dome to the new stadium. If he\u2019s correct, then everything should be in line for this stadium to be built.

So, the decision in Chicago will be either Stan moving the Rams, or the Chargers and Raiders going to Carson, California. It\u2019s a simple decision: If you go with the Carson Project, you have three teams moving into gorgeous new stadiums. The Chargers and Raiders moving in a $1.75-billion stadium in Carson. The Rams move in their new stadium on the riverfront. If they decide to go with Stan\u2019s plan, they only solve one stadium situation: The Rams move into Inglewood. The Chargers and Raiders are stuck in their respective rat-hole stadiums. What good does that do the NFL? It\u2019s elementary, Watson. You make Stan stay. You have solved everything.

What happens, then? Well, Peacock becomes one of the greatest St. Louisians of all time. Imagine saving the NFL, building a billion-dollar stadium, and maybe getting an MLS team in the process. If you accomplished just one of those three, you are a Hall-of-Famer. Doing all three makes you an immortal. I think he gets it done. Remember this: Dave Peacock once gave NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a check for $1 billion dollars as the CEO of Anheuser-Busch. Nobody is more well-connected. Nobody is more well-suited for this job. Nobody loves our town more than Dave. He is doing the little things like orchestrating the NFL Hall of Fame Golf Tournament in the fall at his country club, Old Warson. The money from that event and dinner the night before all benefits the Hall of Fame. The NFL appreciates that. The NFL appreciates Dave Peacock.

What happens with Stan Kroenke? I guess there are examples of cheating spouses who leave their families, and then have no other place to go, so they have to come back. That could be the case for Stan. He may have no options. Hard to be believe a billionare could be stopped in his tracks. It\u2019s possible, and maybe even probable. However, it could go so many ways. Let\u2019s list the options:

1. Stan brings Rams to Inglewood

2. Stan keeps Rams in St. Louis

3. Stan buys the Broncos and sells the Rams

4. Stan takes Rams to Inglewood, and Jacksonville comes here.

5. Stan takes Rams to Inglewood, and the Raiders come here

6. Stan takes Rams to Inglewood, and the Raiders or Chargers go there, also.

Stay tuned. Our city has done nothing wrong. We have supported a playoff-less franchise for 11 years--better than L.A. supported a Rams franchise that was actually good. We are doing everything the NFL asked us to do. If the financing is in place, football will stay in St. Louis. Won\u2019t that be special for Stan?

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It's been another busy month on the local golf scene, so let's head out to the first tee and check it out.

Let's begin with a hole-in-one: Nick Gedda won $25,000 for hitting a hole-in-one at the recent Parkway Golf Tournament. Before playing the hole, Gedda and his best friend promised to split the money if either were to actually get a hole-in-one--and he's keeping that promise!

Gedda used a 5 iron. He played with his brother-in-law, Rick Kriegshauser, a '78 Parkway Central grad. The two have played together in the tournament for at least 15 years.

Metropolitan Open

Adam Schenk won the 10th Metropolitan Open at The Country Club of St. Albans. Schenk, a Purdue graduate, battled Steven Ihm all the way to the end before a birdie by Schenk on the 54th hole gave him the title and a check for $25,000. The two are friends and roommates on the PGA Latin America tour.

Schenk had rounds of 66-64-73 for a 203. Ihm finished at 204 with rounds of 66-68-70.

MGA Amateur

Mitchell Mather of Lebanon defeated former state champion Joey Johnson of Ozark, 4 & 3 to win the 108th Missouri Amateur Championship at the Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Course in Hollister. The two are Missouri State teammates. Johnson was chasing history, and Mather was seeking a first-ever title.

The 2015 Missouri Amateur broke some records this year. Johnson set the record for consecutive matches won with 17. His overall record in match play at the Missouri Amateur is 17-2. This also was the second time is Missouri Amateur history that MGA had an 18-hole final, due to weather. In 1970, Tom Watson defeated Jim Jackson 2 & 1 in 18 holes.

Also, for the first time in Missouri Amateur history, two college teammates played each other in the finals. Mather and Johnson are both seniors at Missouri State University and members of the Bears golf team.

Girls Four State

The Missouri Junior Girls Four State Team captured the championship at the annual Junior Girls Four State Championship. The two-day tournament was played at The Oak Hills Country Club in Omaha, Nebraska. It was Missouri's 12th Junior Four State title since the tournament's inception in 1969. Missouri last won it in 2013.

Rules official

Curt Rohe, the executive director of the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association, recently worked at the U.S. Open and the U.S. Senior Open as a rules official.

The U.S. Open was played last month in Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, Washington; while the U.S. Senior Open was held at the Del Passo Country Club in Sacramento, California.

Rohe, 39, is a native of Washington. He went to East Central Junior College, where he played baseball. He earned his degree from Saint Louis University.

Rohe takes the USGA rules workshop test every year. A score of 92 or high must be made before the USGA considers anyone for the position of a rules official. At the Senior Open, Rohe was an observer. That mean he was out ahead of the group.

\"I would see where balls landed,\" Rohe says. \"I stayed one shot ahead of the group. It was a great time.\"

Boys U.S. Junior Golf Qualifier

Marquette's Frankie Thomas will be going back to U.S. Junior Amateur Championship. Thomas, who will be a senior this fall for the Mustangs, took part in the Junior Amateur Qualifier at Lake Forest Country Club.

Thomas, who also qualified in 2014, repeated after a pair of even par rounds of 72 over the saturated and long Lake Forest Country Club layout. Thomas was medalist by eight shots.

The second qualifier was Chris Ferris, who will be a senior this fall at Lindbergh High School. Ferris had rounds of 79-73, including a birdie on the final hole to secure the second qualifying spot by a shot.

Thomas and Ferris are playing in the 68th U.S. Junior Amateur in Bluffton, South Carolina this week.

Boys PGA Junior Golf Qualifier

Frankie Thomas also won the PGA Junior Boys Qualifying Tournament at Persimmon Woods Golf Club. Thomas finished tied with Jack Parker of Columbia at even-par 142 after 36 holes in the two-day qualifier. Thomas hit a double bogey on the last hole to force the extra golf.

A 10-foot birdie on the third playoff hole enabled Thomas to earn a spot in the Junior PGA Championship next month at Miramont Country Club in Bryan, Texas.

MGA state junior girls match play golf

Parkway West's Rebecca Su, who will be a senior this fall, finished second in the recent 2015 Missouri Junior match play championship at Rivercut Golf Course in Springfield. After the qualifying round, Su defeated Mikala Jungmeyer 7 & 5. Su slipped past Amber Wilson 1 up.

Su, who was competing in her first ever MGA junior match play championship, faced Sarah Bell, who was in familiar territory, making it to the semifinal round of match play in 2014.

Battling both the rain and the wind, the two finalists made it to the 15th hole before Bell ended the match, winning 4 & 3.

Girls Junior Qualifier

Abby Schroeder, who helped MICDS win a state title last fall, missed earning a spot in the U.S. Girls Junior Championship. Schroeder was third with an 81 at the U.S. Girls Junior Qualifier at Bogey Hills Country Club.

PGA Junior Girls Qualifier

Shannon Gould of O' Fallon won the the U.S. Girls Junior Qualifier at Bogey Hills Country Club. Gould, who helped MICDS win the Class 1 state title last fall, earned a spot in the U.S. Girls Junior Championship, also next month in Texas.

Gould, who was fourth in her first state tournament, finished with a 164 to edge MICDS teammate Abby Schroeder, who will be a senior, and Tori Hays, who just graduated from Alton, by one stroke.

Tournament

Golf, auctions, food and fun made the recent 14th Annual Bill Wallis Classic at The Country Club of St. Albans a success once again. Named in honor of Bill Wallis, who died from melanoma in 2001, the foundation has raised more than $187,000 and has awarded 71 scholarships. .

That's it for this month. Until next month, keep hitting them straight.

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It's been a busy month and there's plenty to report, so let's tee it up:

Metropolitan Women's Amateur

Ellen Port retained her championship in one of the top women's tournaments in the area. Port finished 5-over for 36-holes at Fox Run Golf Club and that was good enough for an 8-shot victory in the 23rd Metropolitan Women's Amateur and the Jayne Watson Trophy. It was Port's 14th championship in the event.

After an opening even par round of 72, Port posted a 5-over 77 over the tough Kern design of Fox Run. Mother Nature was not pleasant over the two days in Eureka. There were two suspensions during the first round and that made for a long day to get the championship started. The second round began with more rain early, giving way to some sun, and the tourney wrapped up just as the rain began to fall again.

Lindsey Eisenreich was the runner-up. Kathy Glennon had the highlight of the championship. She recorded an ace on the par-3, eighth hole in Round 1.

MWGA Junior Championship

Elizabeth Leath of Chesterfield is the winner of the 56th annual Missouri Women's Golf Association Junior Championship. The Parkway Central graduate, who will play at the University of Central Missouri, shot rounds of 70 and 73 at Crown Pointe Golf Club in Farmington.

Leath won the 2015 title by six shots in the Championship Division. Amanda Kim of O'Fallon carded a 149 for second place.

Old Warson Chosen

Old Warson Country Club has been selected by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as the host site for the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship.

The tournament will be contested Sept. 17 to 22, the third USGA championship at Old Warson, which was designed by architect Robert Trent Jones Sr., and opened in 1954. The club hosted the 1999 U.S. Mid-Amateur, won by Danny Green, and the 2009 U.S. Women's Amateur, won by Jennifer Song.

Old Warson Cup

Central Missouri University graduating senior Cy Moritz, the 16-seed at the Old Warson Cup, upended five-time winner Skip Berkmeyer 2-and-1 in the final match to take home the title.

The Old Warson Cup is a match play event conducted by the St. Louis Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association at Old Warson Country Club.

Berkmeyer, the No. 3 seed, advanced to the semifinals with two different 3-and-2 victories \u2014 one over Buddy Allen and the other over Ted Moloney.

East Side Amateur

Skip Berkmeyer captured the 12th East Side Amateur at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course in Alton.

Berkmeyer began play in the second and final a shot back of leader Michael Johnson. However, a 2-under round of 70 would seal the deal en route to 5-under total and victory in the tournament.

\"It was nice to win it,\" Berkmeyer says. \"The course sets up pretty good for me. It\u2019s the first time I\u2019ve won this tournament.\"

Normandie Amateur

Phil Caravia, the lone golfer in the 29th Normandie Amateur to break par in both rounds, captured his second tournament title in the event.\u00a0

Caravia posted rounds of 68-70 for a 4-under total on the grand old track. Patrick Riordan finished solo second at 1-over par 143. Riordan had rounds of 70-73 for the weekend. Skip Berkmeyer came in third with back-to-back rounds of 72.

MWGA Intern

Gina Della Camera has accepted the USGA P.J. Boatwright Internship with the MWGA for the 2015 season.

Della Camera, who graduated from St. Joseph's Academy, has competed in many MWGA events, and was a 2011 recipient of a MWGA Education Scholarship.

In high school, she was a three-time district champion. She was second in state tournament as junior and she was named all-state as junior and senior.

The Town & Country native just graduated Indiana State University with a degree in accounting. She also played golf for the Sycamores.

Holes-in-One

Creve Coeur resident Seth Sherman recorded his first hole in one. Sherman, 46, was playing with friend Mike Schnell when he aced Ruth Park's No. 8, a par 3, 145-yard hole. Sherman hit a pitching wedge off the tee and the ball rolled into the hole. Sherman has been golfing for more than 30 years.

Chaminade seventh-grader Thomas Geraty recently scored a hole in one on the ninth hole at Pheasant Run Golf Course. Gerathy made the shot on the last hole of his last match of the season playing with the seventh-grade CYC team. Other team members included Brody Ellison, Colin Fitzgerald, Brennan Fox, Daniel Martin, and Jack Ponder. All will be members of the class of 2020.

That's it for this month. If you have any golf news to report, from a hole-in-one to a club tournament, let me know. You can reach me at wlmayes@charter.net. Until next month, keep hitting them straight!

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I have covered a lot of wonderful athletes over the years. I am not sure if I have met a better success story than Markus Golden from Affton High School. His accomplishments are pretty amazing: He owns records for tackles on defense and rushing yards on offense. Who gets 16 sacks and scores 16 touchdowns in the same season? Then at Mizzou, despite missing games due to injury, he registers 10 sacks this season and receives All-SEC honors. Golden was voted the Most Valuable Player of the Citrus Bowl for the Tigers. He is rewarded on draft day going in the second round to the Arizona Cardinals. He has signed a $4-million contract, and he wants to buy his mother a house with the money.

There are examples of similar athletic success stories on the field. What is intriguing is what he has accomplished off the field: Golden had maturity issues. At Affton, he was kicked out of school and kicked off the team. He could have gone the way that many do and become another bad statistic. Instead, Golden got serious about life. He grew up. He listened. He behaved. He achieved. The academic hole he put himself in forced him to go to Hutchinson Community College before Mizzou.

Academics--not sports--is Markus Golden\u2019s greatest accomplishment. In December, he became the first member of his family to graduate from college. Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel told him that he could change a generation of his family with that degree. It wasn\u2019t easy, but he persevered. That walk across the stage in Columbia was better than a sack. We sometimes take college graduations for granted. The Goldens were different. His mother, Rhonda, was in tears.

Golden also is one of these guys with an infectious personality. Coaches love to coach him, and teammates love to play with him. He is high-energy and upbeat. He loves life. He loves football. He loves Affton. He loves Mizzou.

Describe your life lately.

These six months have been a blessing. I just feel the hard work has paid off.

Describe Gary Pinkel\u2019s role in your success.

He just always pushed, pushed for me to get that degree. He said, I love the way you play football but that degree comes first. You have to get it.

What do you want to accomplish?

There is nothing I can\u2019t do. I believe in myself. I believe when I retire I am going to be one of the best to ever play this game.

Five thoughts:

1. The Blues did the right thing. They are a better franchise with a sure-fire Hall-of-Fame coach behind the bench in Ken Hitchcock. Change a few of the players, not the fourth-winningest coach of all time.

2. Hitchcock is the right age to win a championship in St. Louis. Tony La Russa was 62 and 67 when he won. Dick Vermeil was 63. Hitch will be 64 next year when he wins the Stanley Cup.

3. There\u2019s a limo service called Corporate Transportation. They did a nice thing the other day taking a bunch of kids from Lift For Life Gym in the city for a ride to the Four Seasons Hotel for cooking lessons. And Corporate gave all the kids gift certificates to a sporting goods store.

4. Some underrated things in life: East Coast Pizza in the Valley, books on tape for long rides, a McBride & Son home, the Cardinals bullpen, The Gospel Daily Twitter feed, and a hand-written Father\u2019s Day card.

5. I hope Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz can pull this off. It would be scary to turn into Memphis on a Sunday afternoon in the Fall of 2016. Why couldn\u2019t Shahid Khan be our owner? Imagine one city getting Bidwell and Kroenke. What did we do to deserve that?

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It's been a busy month since we last put the ball on the tee:

The Jay Randolph Achievement Awards were handed out during a ceremony sponsored by the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame at Chaminade.

In addition to professionals Gary Player and Nick Price, St. Louis golf professional Dick Shapier and top amateurs Jim Holtgrive and Ellen Port, many young high school and college golfers were honored. Among them:

Honored in alphabetical order were:

\u2022 Crimson Callahan \u2013 Chaminade, Mid-America Jr. Cup Team

\u2022 Brooke Cusumano \u2013 SIU-Carbondale, Accelerated Tours College Player of the Year

\u2022 Chris Ferris \u2013 Lindbergh, Mid-America Jr. Cup Team, St. Louis Metro Champion (16-17)

\u2022 Taylor French \u2013 Westminster Christian Academy, Gateway Jr. PGA Player of the Year (18 hole division: 12-14)

\u2022 Shannon Gould \u2013 MICDS, STLWDGA Jr. Champion (15 & Under), MWGA Junior Four State Team

\u2022 Max Kreikmeier \u2013 Rockwood Valley Middle School, ST. Louis Metropolitan Jr. Champion (14-15)

\u2022 Drew Lilly \u2013 MICDS, STLDGA Junior Champion( 16-17 )

\u2022 Logan Otter \u2013 John Burroughs, MWGA Junior Champion, STLWDGA Champoin (16-18), Mid- America Jr. Cup Team, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Player of Year

\u2022 Blake Porter \u2013 Francis Howell, Gateway PGA Player of Year (Tour division)

\u2022 Abby Schroeder \u2013 MICDS, St. Louis Metro Jr. Champion, Gateway PGA Player of Year (Tour Division), Mid-America Jr. Cup Team

\u2022 Collin Stolze \u2013 Chaminade, Gateway PGA Jr. Player of the Year (14-15), Mid-America Jr. Cup Team

\u2022 Frankie Thomas \u2013 Marquette, MGA Jr. Champion, Mid-America Cup Team, Southern, State Missouri Cup Jr. Team

\u2022 Sean Weber, Barat Academy, High School Player of Year

Men's Four-Ball Championship

Skip Berkmeyer of Town & Country competed in his 26th USGA championship, but this one was a first for the standout amateur.

Berkmeyer and Brad Nurski of St. Joseph played in the first U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship held at the The Olympic Club (Lake Course) in San Francisco.

A four-ball match is a match in which two sides, each consisting of two golfers, play each other using better-ball scoring (each golfer in the match plays his or her own ball throughout - four balls in play, hence the name).

As match play, four-ball is one of the formats used in the Ryder Cup, Presidents Cup, Solheim Cup and other professional and amateur team events. It is also seen in club competitions.

Berkmeyer and Nurski qualified for match play, shooting a two-day total of 137 in stroke play. However, they fell in the first round of match play 5 and 4 to Jason Higton and Ryan Higton of Fresno, California.

Women's Four-Ball Championship

Two sisters from St. Louis played in the in the inaugural U.S. Women's Amateur Four-Ball Championship.

Catherine Dolan of Ballwin, and her sister, Kelly Hutchison of St. Louis, traveled to play at the 6,005-yard, par-72 Pacific Dunes course at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Bandon, Oregon.

It was a family affair, as Dolan's boyfriend, John Brady, and Kelly's husband, Mason, went and handled the caddying chores.

It marked Dolan's sixth appearance in a USGA event. Dolan won the 2011 and 2013 Missouri Women's Amateur Championships. She was the runner-up in 2012 to six-time USGA champion and 2014 USA Curtis Cup Team Captain Ellen Port. Dolan won the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association's 2013 Women's Amateur, and was the runner-up to Port in 2014.

The sisters, both Parkway West graduates, missed the cut after two rounds of stroke play. They finished with a two-day total of 158.

High school boys golf

The De Smet Spartans, the MICDS Rams and the Whitfield Warrriors all captured district championships earlier this month.

The Spartans won Class 4 District 3 at Wolf Hollow Golf Course with a team score of 303. De Smet's district title was its second in a row and fourth since 2011. De Smet senior Michael Silberberg was the district medalist with a sparkling round of 66. That set a Spartans record for best score in 18 holes.

MICDS' Drew Lilly was the district medalist with a 71 in the Class 3 District 3 tourney at Aberdeen Golf Club the Rams won with a team score of 306.

Whitfield captured its sixth district championship by winning the Class 2 District 2 event at Bear Creek Golf Clb with a team score of 345. It was the Warriors' fourth district crown in the last six years but its first since 2012. Whitfield senior Chase Kinder was the medalist with a 79.

Old Warson Cup

A select field of top amateurs will compete Old Warson Cup set for May 30 and 31.

For the first time in several years, a new No. 1 seed will lead off the tournament. Phil Caravia, the 2014 Player of the Year and defending Old Warson Cup champion, will battle No. 16 Cy Moritz. Moritz will be one of three University of Central Missouri Mules in the field.

Kansas State senior Kyle Weldon, the 2012 and 2013 MAGA Amateur champion, has earned the No. 2 seed after his play from 2014. Weldon will face No. 15 Van Pierce in the Round of 16.

Skip Berkmeyer, a 5-time match play champion, is the No. 3 seed. His first-round opponent is No. 14 Buddy Allen. Joe Migdal will round out the top 4 seeds of the bracket and will face the lone senior to qualify for the Old Warson Cup in Dr. Andy Frost.

U.S. Women's Open qualifying

St. Clair Country Club in Belleville will play host to one of 25 Sectional Qualifying sites (22 in the United States and three international sites).

A total of 77 Women\u2019s Open hopefuls will compete June 2 for 36-holes of qualifying and attempting to secure one of the two spots allocated to local site.

Next month, we'll have the results of the Missouri state high school tournaments, as well the Old Warson Cup among other items.

Until next month, keep driving down the fairway.

If you have any golf news, send me an email to wlmayes@charter.net.

"}, {"id":"b4dbd00b-e835-5ac8-b1bd-7d5d098d5cf4","type":"article","starttime":"1430413200","starttime_iso8601":"2015-04-30T12:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1457978349","priority":37,"sections":[{"sports":"diversions/sports"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Game On!","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/article_b4dbd00b-e835-5ac8-b1bd-7d5d098d5cf4.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/game-on/article_b4dbd00b-e835-5ac8-b1bd-7d5d098d5cf4.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/game-on/article_b4dbd00b-e835-5ac8-b1bd-7d5d098d5cf4.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Frank Cusumano","prologue":"Dr. Richard Lehman has to be one of the all-time leaders in ACL reconstructions and cartilage surgeries. He has done about 32,000 surgeries in the last 30 years. These days, he usually performs about 20 per week.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["acl","game on","dr. richard lehman","surgery","mlb"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"63cbe47c-8cd3-5b05-88e4-60f21f0a0a63","description":"","byline":"Sarah Conard","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"760","height":"524","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/3c/63cbe47c-8cd3-5b05-88e4-60f21f0a0a63/553e8f3558b7f.image.jpg?resize=760%2C524"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/3c/63cbe47c-8cd3-5b05-88e4-60f21f0a0a63/553e8f35cae4c.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"207","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/3c/63cbe47c-8cd3-5b05-88e4-60f21f0a0a63/553e8f3558b7f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C207"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"706","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/3c/63cbe47c-8cd3-5b05-88e4-60f21f0a0a63/553e8f3558b7f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C706"}}}],"revision":7,"commentID":"b4dbd00b-e835-5ac8-b1bd-7d5d098d5cf4","body":"

When you think of the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame you think of names like Ozzie Smith, Bernie Federko and Ed Macauley. And when you think of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, the likes of Stan Musial, Bill Bradley and Steve Stipanovich come to mind. The common denominator of all almost all of these Hall-of-Famers is achievement on the field, court or ice. Dr. Richard Lehman has achieved it all, but he\u2019s not in these halls for his athleticism--although he was a wonderful tennis player. Rather, this veteran orthopedic surgeon is there for ability to keep athletes healthy enough so they can perform at an elite level. There are no official stats kept, but Lehman has to be one of the all-time leaders in ACL reconstructions and cartilage surgeries. He has done about 32,000 surgeries in the last 30 years. These days, he usually performs about 20 per week.

Lehman may operate on a 40-year-old housewife or a 16-year-old junior varsity basketball player. However, he has worked with some of the biggest names in sports: Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Brett Hull, Wayne Gretzky, Jerome Bettis, Brian Jordan and Dawn Harper, to name a few, all have been under his care. The stars come to him because Lehman has proven he can get you back quicker, faster and stronger. He does everything from stem-cell injections to PRP injections, and everything in-between.

Lehman is a doctor who simply likes to stay ahead of the curve. It\u2019s a combination of working six days week, reading about every new surgical idea, and putting into use every state-of-the-art surgical procedure there is. For instance, the ACL surgery is the big one now. Some struggle in recovery because there often is more damage than just the ACL. When Lehman performs the surgery, all of the components of the knee are addressed, allowing more aggressive rehab, normal mechanics and full athletic performance. We recently caught up:

Why was this the right profession for you?

I grew up in Miami. I thought I was going to be a professional tennis player. I played in high school and college. I needed to get a job, so I went back to school. Sports medicine was the closest I could get to being a professional tennis player.

Are you ever still nervous in an operating room?

It doesn\u2019t happen often, but there are two times that I still get a little nervous. If it\u2019s a high-profile athlete, and you know you have to be perfect to get that athlete back. I have to be absolutely perfect. The only other time is when I see something I didn\u2019t expect.

What would be something you are most proud?

My three kids: Cameron (25), Alex (23) and Sydney (21). They are really good kids. They are kind. They are respectful. They have compassion. You like being around them. (By the way, all three were or still are great tennis players)

What goals do you have left?

I have been lucky. One goal is to start a scholarship for high-school kids. We will offer 20 scholarships to high-school kids, based on their grades and (financial) need. The other goal is an internship program. We want to open medical offices around the country, and expose kids to what it\u2019s really like.

Five Things I Think:

1. I think the most dangerous thing for athletes nowadays is the send button on their Twitter. They just don\u2019t get it. Do they understand that you really can\u2019t undo the damage? Janoris Jenkins from the Rams embarrassed the organization with his tweet after the Hernandez verdict.

2. It's tough to feel sorry for somebody in the middle of a $100-million contract, but Adam Wainwright is such a good guy. You have to feel for a guy who is now missing another season. But...

3. ...I think Matt Carpenter is going to have a crazy year. Imagine if he keeps the on-base percentage, and then adds the power. Remember, he\u2019s 6-foot-3 and weighs 200 pounds. There\u2019s no reason why he won\u2019t.

4. There are quite a few SLU-bashers who think there is no way in the world Jayson Tatum ends up there. We\u2019ll see. We\u2019ll see. I am not saying they are the favorite. But the recent Sports Illustrated article gives you hope.

5. When I was growing up, my heroes were almost always sports figures. Now the people I admire the most are the ones who love and respect their wives.

"}, {"id":"ff962abb-0018-5d11-96a3-e15343708b63","type":"article","starttime":"1429808400","starttime_iso8601":"2015-04-23T12:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1457977868","priority":34,"sections":[{"sports":"diversions/sports"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Golf Grapevine","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/article_ff962abb-0018-5d11-96a3-e15343708b63.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/golf-grapevine/article_ff962abb-0018-5d11-96a3-e15343708b63.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/golf-grapevine/article_ff962abb-0018-5d11-96a3-e15343708b63.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Warren Mayes","prologue":"Finally, the weather is cooperating and spring really is here! Let's tee it up and see what's happening locally in golf: The Country Club of St. Albans is undergoing a $3-million golf course and club renovation. PGA Tour professional and an award-winning golf-course designer Tom Weiskopf has been commissioned to renovate the acclaimed Lewis and Clark golf course. Work is scheduled to be completed later this spring.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["golf","country club of st. albans","pga tour","lake forest challenge","metropolitan amateur golf association","mga","mwga","stldga"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"d3df88a0-cd09-5bbc-a94d-338a78a0acad","description":"Lewis and Clark course at\u00a0St. Albans\u00a0","byline":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"552","height":"619","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3d/d3df88a0-cd09-5bbc-a94d-338a78a0acad/5531243128139.image.jpg?resize=552%2C619"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"112","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3d/d3df88a0-cd09-5bbc-a94d-338a78a0acad/553124313c525.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"336","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3d/d3df88a0-cd09-5bbc-a94d-338a78a0acad/5531243128139.image.jpg?resize=300%2C336"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1148","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/3d/d3df88a0-cd09-5bbc-a94d-338a78a0acad/5531243128139.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"ff962abb-0018-5d11-96a3-e15343708b63","body":"

Finally, the weather is cooperating and spring really is here! Let's tee it up and see what's happening locally in golf:

The Country Club of St. Albans is undergoing a $3-million golf course and club renovation.

PGA Tour professional and an award-winning golf-course designer Tom Weiskopf has been commissioned to renovate the acclaimed Lewis and Clark golf course. Work is scheduled to be completed later this spring.

Among the many course upgrades are an improved drainage system, and each bunker will have new state-of-the-art lining technology and Bunker White Sand from California. This unique sand is only featured on a few of the top courses around the country.

Weiskopf and his partner, Jay Morrish, created the award-winning Lewis and Clark course in 1991.

The Lewis and Clark course was the chosen venue for the USGA National State Team Championship in 2009, and also has hosted the St. Louis Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association\u2019s Open Championship each year since 2006.

Besides the renovations on Lewis and Clark, the club will be renovating the award-winning Tavern Creek golf course, which also is one of Golf Digest\u2019s Top Courses in Missouri.

HIGH SCHOOL BOYS GOLF

Here is a real feel-good story: Lafayette senior Dillon Eaton is making up for lost time.

That's because the golfer really lost time -- a whole season. Eaton tore the ACL in his in his right two days before practice began last spring, missing his junior season and a summer of golf. After surgery and rehab, Eaton returned this spring to play for the Lancers.

As Maxwell Smart might say, Would you believe Eaton won in his first tournament of the season? Storybook, to be sure, but it happened.

Eaton won the Lake Forest Challenge. He was the medalist with a 2-under 70 in the tourney played at Lake Saint Louis Country Club.

\"When I won, I was pretty excited,\" Eaton says. \"That was my goal: to win a high school tournament. That was my first one.\"

Eaton was the sectional medalist as a sophomore. He qualified for the state tournament as a freshman and sophomore.

Now, he wants to go back as a senior. This time, he wants his teammates there, as well.

\"We can do it,\" he says. \"As long as everyone plays their game, we should be able to get there. I'm excited about the team.\"

METROPOLITAN SCHEDULE

Here are the tournaments to be conducted by the Metropolitan Amateur Golf Association this season:

* Normandie Amateur, May 16-17, at Normandie Golf Club

* The Old Warson Cup, May 30-31, at Old Warson Country Club

* East Side Amateur, June 13-14, at Spencer T. Olin Golf Course

* Women\u2019s Amateur Championship, June 15-16, at Fox Run Golf Club

* Amateur Championship Qualifying (if needed), July 6, at Franklin County Country Club

* Metropolitan Open Championship, July 10-12, at Country Club of St. Albans

* Junior Amateur Championship, July 13-14, at The Bogey Club

* Amateur Championship, July 30-Aug. 1, at Boone Valley Golf Club

* Senior Amateur Championship, Aug. 13-14, at Whitmoor Country Club (South)

* Four-Ball Championship, Sept. 24, at The Legends Country Club

MGA SCHEDULE

* Senior Four Ball Championship, May 19-20, at Club at Old Kinderhook

* Missouri Amateur Championship, June 23-28, at Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Club in Branson

* Stroke Play Championship, Jul 14-16, at St. Joseph's Country Club

* Four Ball Championship, Aug. 8-9, at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau.

* Missouri Open, Sept. 2-4, at Buffalo Ridge Springs Golf Club in Branson

* Mid-Amateur Championship, Sept. 14-15, at Fox Run Golf Club

* Senior Amateur Championship, Sept. 28-29, at Hickory Hills Country Club in Springfield

* Directors Cup, Oct. 14-16, at Mission Hills Country Club in Mission Hills, Kan.

* Hieronymus Cup Matches, Oct. 23-25, at Club at Porto Cima in Sunrise Beach.

MWGA SCHEDULE

* Two-Lady Scramble Tournament, May 12-13, at Columbia Country Club

* Junior Championship, June 11-12, at Crowne Point Golf Club

* Junior Girls Four State Championship, July 1-2, Oak Hills Country Club in Omaha

* Amateur Championship, July 13-15, at Country Club of St. Albans

* Mid Amateur Championship, Aug. 17-18, Lakewood Oaks Golf Club

* Fore State Championship, Aug. 2-4, Shadow Valley Golf Club in Rogers, Ark.

* Senior Championship, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, at Millwood in Springfield

* USGA Women\u2019s State Team Championship, Sept. 10-12, at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau.

STLDGA SCHEDULE

* District Challenge, April 30, at Bogey Hills Country Club

* Bob Cochran Mid-Am, May 11, at Fox Run Golf Club

* Hardin Junior Championship, June 9-10, at Persimmon Woods

* Etzkorn Pro 3 Senior, June 25, at Sunset Hills

* Greisedieck Men\u2019s Championship, July 23-26, at Old Warson Country Club

* Salomon Father & Son, July 31, at Norwood Hills Country Club

* Cassett Senior Championship, Aug. 26-27, at The Legends

* Jim Benson Memorial, Sept. 21-22, St. Louis Country Club

* Jim Jackson Invitational, Oct. 17-18, at Algonquin Golf Club

TOURNAMENTS

The I Hate Cancer tournament will be held May 16 at Forest Park Golf Course to benefit Siteman Cancer Center. For more information, visit ihatecancer.ws/Home or email Ihatecancerstl@gmail.com.

If you have any golf news or a tournament to highlight, email me at wlmayes@charter.net. Until next month, keep hitting them straight!

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Baur","byline":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"304","height":"298","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/1d/61db37a4-d6df-5259-8429-1069f394c20d/55229ce552f48.image.jpg?resize=304%2C298"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"98","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/1d/61db37a4-d6df-5259-8429-1069f394c20d/55229ce55aee6.preview-100.jpg"},"300": 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Jackie and Lou Brock

\u201cLou will carry the home-opener game ball from Ballpark Village to the stadium. It's really great, there's a lot of drama to it. We usually come in for a private brunch--it's quite a feast that the Cardinals put on. It's our time to reconnect to with everybody. The excitement level is incredible and everyone is saying, Happy Opening Day!

\u201cThen, I usually trail Lou to the parade and the 'red-jacket' guys end up in the cars. And after they are all introduced, I'm usually there, filming. I follow him down there with my camera, capturing another moment of Lou's life. After he is introduced, he gets out of the car, and the Hall-of-Famers form a line and greet all of the players as they enter the field. It's a time for the Hall-of-Famers to wish the guys a great season.

\u201cAfter that, Lou will do interviews; and then we eventually make our way to suite, and to the best of our abilities, try to see some of the game...\u201d

Bill DeWitt III

St. Louis Cardinals president

\u201cI wear my Cardinals tie. It's the only day of the regular season I wear a tie. I bring it out again for the playoffs, but that's the only time.\u201d

Red Schoendienst

Cardinals Hall-of-Famer

\u201cI\u2019m going to be at the ballpark to watch the game. They\u2019ll have a ceremony before the game to introduce me and the rest of the Hall-of-Famers\u2014the guys like Lou Brock and Gibson and Ozzie and myself\u2014and we\u2019ll drive all the way around the ballpark. It\u2019s a little different when you\u2019re not playing; when you\u2019re a player or coaching, you can\u2019t wait to get out there and start the season again. For us, this is just a nice way to start the season. The Cardinals organization has been good with their alumni, and they\u2019re always trying to get them involved.\u201d

Patricia Shannon-VanMatre

Co-owner, Mike Shannon\u2019s Steaks & Seafood

\u201cMy opening day ritual is wake up early, get in a good breakfast and then set up Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood for a rocking day of business! We have lots of regulars that come in every opening day so I enjoy the day greeting guests and friends and soak up the excitement and energy of Opening Day!\u201d

Tim Hanser

Cardinals Care Foundation board member, portfolio advisor at Buckingham Asset Management

\u201cI head down early to Keener Plaza to see the fans and absorb the vibe.\u201d

Ron Watermon

St. Louis Cardinals VP of Communications

\u201cIt is a big day for the communications department. I get up about 2 a.m., head to the gym. I get to the ballpark just before 4 a.m., say hello to the fans who have camped out and get to work with my colleagues. We have all the morning TV and radio folks at the park broadcasting live on Opening Day. We coordinate interview guests, distribute press releases, opening day pins and make sure Fredbird spreads good cheer. The day is busy with interviews, VIPs, multiple pep rallies, the traditional on-field opening day parade led by Clydesdales and Hall of Famers, great fans, family and a variety of last minute details all before settling into the press box for the first pitch.\u201d

Andrew Baur

Member of Cardinals ownership group

\u201cI eat a bratwurst every opening day.\u201d

"}, {"id":"71f4e02a-4afc-578b-be5c-d37336cc3f99","type":"article","starttime":"1426784400","starttime_iso8601":"2015-03-19T12:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1438801632","priority":34,"sections":[{"sports":"diversions/sports"},{"features":"arts-and-culture/features"}],"application":"editorial","title":"ProUknow","url":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/article_71f4e02a-4afc-578b-be5c-d37336cc3f99.html","permalink":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/prouknow/article_71f4e02a-4afc-578b-be5c-d37336cc3f99.html","canonical":"http://www.laduenews.com/diversions/sports/prouknow/article_71f4e02a-4afc-578b-be5c-d37336cc3f99.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Brittany Nay","prologue":"Would you like to play a round with a professional golfer? That is just one of the opportunities ProUknow is giving golf fans when they support their favorite player. The St. Louis-based company\u2019s crowdfunding website, ProUknow.com, is connecting professional golfers with a larger network of sponsors to help fund their careers. Individuals to corporations can log onto the site to contribute funds to featured professional golfers\u2019 crowdfunding campaigns; and in return, they receive a range of perks, from golf gear to lessons, or a round of golf with the pro. Companies can even buy a logo spot on a player\u2019s uniform. For fans who would like to show their support in a non-monetary way, they can follow their favorite players\u2019 career on a social network-like profile through the site, and receive email updates in their inbox. \u201cWe wanted to create a platform where pro golfers could build a profile that could be one place for friends and family and other connections to contribute to their careers,\u201d explains former pro golfer Van Pierce, who co-founded and co-owns the company with pro golfer Justin Bryant.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["prouknow","golf","professional golf","van pierce","micds","justin bryant","crowdfunding"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"images":[{"id":"12208c34-636f-50e9-b32a-5155130541bd","description":"Justin Bryant and Van Pierce","byline":"Photo by Sarah Conard","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"620","height":"426","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/22/12208c34-636f-50e9-b32a-5155130541bd/5503424008895.image.jpg?resize=620%2C426"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/22/12208c34-636f-50e9-b32a-5155130541bd/550342401855e.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"206","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/22/12208c34-636f-50e9-b32a-5155130541bd/5503424008895.image.jpg?resize=300%2C206"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"704","url":"http://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/laduenews.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/22/12208c34-636f-50e9-b32a-5155130541bd/5503424008895.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"71f4e02a-4afc-578b-be5c-d37336cc3f99","body":"

Would you like to play a round with a professional golfer? That is just one of the opportunities ProUknow is giving golf fans when they support their favorite player.

The St. Louis-based company\u2019s crowdfunding website, ProUknow.com, is connecting professional golfers with a larger network of sponsors to help fund their careers. Individuals to corporations can log onto the site to contribute funds to featured professional golfers\u2019 crowdfunding campaigns; and in return, they receive a range of perks, from golf gear to lessons, or a round of golf with the pro. Companies can even buy a logo spot on a player\u2019s uniform. For fans who would like to show their support in a non-monetary way, they can follow their favorite players\u2019 career on a social network-like profile through the site, and receive email updates in their inbox. \u201cWe wanted to create a platform where pro golfers could build a profile that could be one place for friends and family and other connections to contribute to their careers,\u201d explains former pro golfer Van Pierce, who co-founded and co-owns the company with pro golfer Justin Bryant.

The MICDS graduates and former golf teammates came up with the idea for ProUknow when they realized through their own experiences how much professional golfers need funding support. Annual expenses can reach $40,000 to $60,000 when factoring in travel, lodging, equipment and tournament entry fees, which can range from $800 to $1,500 per tournament, Pierce notes.

The site has been well-received since its launch last October, Pierce says, with about 20 pro golfers from the U.S. and Europe currently signed on, including Golf Channel\u2019s Big Break reality show contestants Charlie Harrison and Christian Heavens, and LPGA Tour players Lee Lopez and Natalie Sheary. ProUknow also has been officially endorsed by U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson. \u201cIt\u2019s neat to see how quickly the company is growing,\u201d Pierce says. \u201cWe\u2019ve had interest from players in countries all over the world because golf really is a global game, and golfers need funding at an early level.\u201d

The pair\u2019s ability to tag-team ProUknow\u2019s operations also has spurred its success, with Bryant\u2019s opportunities to network with a large pool of pro golfers at tournaments around the nation and Pierce\u2019s business savvy. Teaming up is a familiar endeavor for Bryant and Pierce, who often were paired together on their golf team at MICDS. \u201cWe were a team within the team,\u201d Pierce says. Bryant, a St. Louis native, went on to play golf at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, and is currently a professional golfer. Pierce played golf at Chapman University in California; and after playing golf professionally for a couple of years, is currently attending Saint Louis University School of Law on a part-time basis. Throughout college and the start of their careers, the pair always returned to St. Louis to play in golf tournaments, their love for the game forever tying them together. \u201cThe friendship continued to grow, and it was a natural fit to start a company together,\u201d Pierce explains.

As for the future of ProUknow, the duo has big plans, from expanding the current pro golfer pool on the crowdfunding site to include amateurs, as well as athletes in any sport, and even high school teams. To promote the company and spread their love of the game, a ProUknow open golf tournament also is in the works for the summer of 2016. \u201cThere are people everywhere who want to support a pro golfer,\u201d Pierce says, \u201cand ProUknow makes that easier.\u201d

"} ]