How MSSU's McCrae turned nightmare into birdie last week

Apr. 26—Hole No. 7 at Shoal Creek Golf Club in Kansas City is a 579-yard par-5 with heavy timber on either side of the fairway.

The hole plays downhill and doglegs to the right a bit and the green is slightly elevated.

In Rounds 1 and 2, this hole had been challenging for MSSU senior Tradgon McCrae. He recorded a par on Monday in the first round. He came back Tuesday and added a stroke with a bogey.

"It was playing a bit downwind (Wednesday). You look at that hole when you're going to it and you think, 'That's a real birdie opportunity,'" MSSU head coach Mike Wheeler said. "Because, a guy like Trey (McCrae), if he would have hit the fairway in the first shot, he'd have probably put it on the green in two."

Had that have happened on Day 3, McCrae would've had a shot at an eagle. Instead, McCrae's first drive went deep into the woods. He elected to tee another ball up and try it again for what is called a provisional ball. That provisional also went into the woods.

So, he took another provisional and sent a third ball into the wooded area.

McCrae was left with a choice. He could either tee up a fourth ball and be on his seventh stroke already with a penalty stroke added for each of the first three shots or go find one of those three balls in the woods.

"That's when he decided he better go find one," Wheeler said. "Fortunately, his mom and dad come to every tournament and his dad is always out front ball-spotting. His dad found the ball in the woods."

McCrae's dad, Terrance, found the first of his three shots — known by the number and markings on each ball — and that saved McCrae's potential repeat nightmare on that hole.

Hole No. 7 got him the first two days but thanks to dad and his ability to recover from the woods it wouldn't get the best of him a third time.

McCrae booted the ball out of the timber and into the fairway for his second stroke and then lofted the ball up onto the green and made his putt to turn a nightmare into a birdie on the final day — a day that the team really needed it in the middle of its comeback performance to win the MIAA championship for the second straight season.

McCrae and teammate Luis Limon will lead the Lions into their Super Regional event beginning on May 9 in Edmond, Oklahoma, at KickingBird Golf Club.