Cross wins Little People’s championship on final hole, Quincy’s Novosel finishes tied for third

Brady Cross fist pump after winning

Brady Cross, of Lindenhurst, Ill., reacts to making his par putt on the 18th hole at Spring Lake Country Club on Wednesday to win the boys 14-15 division of the Pepsi Little People's Golf Championships. | Shane Hulsey photo

QUINCY — Brady Cross didn’t know exactly how many shots separated him and leader Anson Munzlinger heading to the final hole of the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships on Wednesday.

“I had no idea,” Cross said. “I was just trying to play my best golf.”

He trailed by one shot, but knew he had a chance, especially after Munzlinger pulled his tee shot on Spring Lake Country Club’s par-3 18th hole into the woods. 

Cross capitalized on his opportunity. 

The Lindenhurst, Ill., golfer hit the green with his tee shot and two-putted for par to win the boys 14-15 division championship by two shots in his first Little People’s appearance.

“I can say that I’m 1-0, undefeated in this tournament,” Cross said. “It feels like all my hard work is starting to pay off.”

After Munzlinger’s tee shot went into the woods on the downhill final hole, Cross had to avoid a similar slip-up himself.

“I still hit a great shot in there and made it easier on myself,” Cross said. “I feel bad, though. I hate to win like that, but it is what it is. It could have happened at any time. It just happened on the last hole.”

Munzlinger did not know what the scores were before that final hole, but he had a feeling it was close.

“Just playing in the group with the leaders, watching the group in front of us, I figured we were neck and neck,” Munzlinger said.

Munzlinger’s swing just got away from him, and a three-putt resulted in his only triple bogey of the tournament.

“I just came over the top,” he said. “I was overthinking it.”

Quincy High School sophomore Ty Novosel watches the flight of his tee shot during Wednesday’s round at Spring Lake Country Club in the boys 14-15 division of the Pepsi Little People’s Golf Championships. | Shane Hulsey photo

In the second-to-last group, Quincy High School sophomore Ty Novosel entered the final round two shots behind Cross and Ryan Murray. Novosel’s steady, methodical play kept him within two of the lead heading to the 16th hole, but a wayward tee shot dropped him back. His punch shot from under a tree rolled off the back of the green.

“I didn’t have a great angle, and I needed to make something happen,” Novosel said. “I just hit it way too hard right through the green and left myself with a hard wedge shot.”

Novosel left that wedge shot about 40 feet short of the hole. He then three-putted for double bogey, dropping him to four shots back. He bogeyed No. 17 and parred No. 18 to finish in a tie for third with Corban Thomas.

“It’s disappointing considering the position it was in,” Novosel said. “I feel like I beat myself.”

Novosel’s strategy of limiting mistakes and not taking many risks helped him stay in contention, but as the pressure mounted, he had to deviate from this safe approach.

“It was like I was playing defense all day, and I needed to play some offense and make some birdies,” Novosel said. “I did start to put some unnecessary pressure on myself. I think that might have caused the hiccup on 16.”

Novosel said he proved his ability to grind out a good result despite not playing at his peak. 

“I didn’t hit the ball the best, so I was pretty happy that I could get up and down from all over the course. I was pretty proud of my short game,” Novosel said. “I learned that I can play decently without hitting the ball great. It was a great learning experience.”

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