GODFREY — Shane Smith took some time off from his busy schedule to return home in time for the in the 12th annual Greater Godfrey Open.
His timing proved impeccable. Smith won it.
The pro golfer, a Marquette Catholic High graduate, shot a blistering 6-under par 136 Sunday for his third Godfrey Open title. He also finished first in 2006 and 2012. This year’s Open championship qualifies as a victory in the six-event Metro Cup Series.
“This is where I grew up playing golf, so I always enjoy playing at Rolling Hills,” Smith said. “It was a little more stressful than I hoped for today, though.”
Jake Erickson, Allen Kohnen and Britt Pavelonis shared second with scores of 138 in the Open Division. John Kelly was fifth at 139 and Bob Gaus sixth at 141.
Michael Holtz, a senior at Marquette, carded a 144 score to snare the A Flight competition following a playoff with Corey Schelle. He also shot 144.
Holtz, The AdVantage News Boys’ Golfer of the Year, then posted a par on the first playoff hole. Schelle had a bogey. Explorers’ coach Pat Moore took third with a 150.
“It was awesome,” Holtz said of his victory. “I’m really excited about winning. It’s the best I’ve done in this tournament in three years.”
Scott Redman emerged as B Flight champ with a 147 score. Luke Williams was best in C Flight at 156 and Bob Kane snagged D Flight honors with a 169. Augie Wuellner posted a 142 score to finish two strokes ahead of Dee Ketchum and win A Seniors. Mike Hudock was best in B Seniors with a 168.
Smith proved formidable from start to finish. He got out in front Saturday by recording a 4-under par 67 and followed that with a 69 on Sunday.
“I was a little better out of the gate today,” Smith said Sunday. “Since I’ve played here a lot, I’m used to shooting a certain number of birdies.”
He bagged eight birdies the past weekend and had just two bogeys. Thus, consistency was his bodyguard.
“I guarantee you that I’ve played thousands of rounds here, starting when I was 12 years old,” Smith said. “But since I play so many different courses now, playing this one twice a year is enough for me. It’s such a difficult course from the ones that I’m used to playing.”
Yet it’s still home for him and he’s in familiar surroundings among friendly faces.
“The trees get taller every year,” Smith quipped.
And the players?
“It’s great to come back here and see people I know, and meet some of the new guys and younger players,” he said.
He won’t hang around Godfrey for too long. There’s more golf, mainly north of Illinois, on Smith’s agenda.
He’s heading to the Dakotas Tour, which includes competition in North and South Dakota.
“I’m going there at the end of the month, so I won’t be playing in any more Metro Cup events this year,” Smith said.
Come next year, he could return to defend his Godfrey Open title. However, if Smith has his way, he’s poised for bigger and better things. Think PGA play.
“I’ll always come back when I can for the Godfrey Open,” Smith said.
He paused. “It might to be to watch it and not play in it.”