The sweet memories come back every now and then: The days hitting golf balls into the dusty corn fields on the family farm. The afternoons spent playing golf with his grandmother.

For Mark McBride, it’s hard not to get teary-eyed just thinking about it all, especially one place in particular.

“I was fortunate to have access to Lebanon Country Club,” McBride said. “It had the name, but they didn’t restrict me in any way. As kids, we would spend hours and hours out there. It was just an unbelievable place.”

From there, he rose to become among the state’s best golfers, and it’s why the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is proud to induct McBride with the Class of 2022.

A standout in the late 1990s and early 2000s, McBride won the Missouri Amateur twice (2000, 2001), with his second victory one of the most memorable in tournament history.

It also was historical footnote. You see, only eight times has the Missouri Amateur had a back-to-back champion since its inception in 1905. Before McBride turned the trick, the last golfer to do it was Tom Watson (MSHOF 1984), in 1971.

Additionally, McBride won the 2002 MGA Stoke Play Championship a year after finishing as its runner-up after a playoff. He also was invited to play in the Sunnehanna Amateur twice and reached the Round of 16 in the Western Amateur.

All this from a golfer who, at Lebanon High School, was a four-time state qualifier and, at the University of Missouri, was a 2001 NCAA Regional qualifier and a 2002 All-Big 12 Conference selection.

And it all started in Lebanon. Among his influences was his grandmother, Ruth Wilkinson, a club champion in Arizona.

“At 12 or 13, I played with her in a lot of mixed couples events. Everybody thought we were so cute,” McBride said, and then laughed. “In my mind, I thought, ‘I’m glad you think that because we’re about to take you to the woodshed.’”

His dad, Tim, also was an influence.

“He taught me less about golf and more about how to compete and be mentally tough,” McBride said.

A turning point was working with then-Mizzou coach Tim Robyn in McBride’s freshman and sophomore seasons.

“We didn’t overhaul everything,” McBride said. “But he taught me how to self-diagnose myself (during a round). He made it simple.”

Weeks after the end of his sophomore year in 2000, McBride won the Missouri Amateur at Oakwood Country Club in Kansas City. In the final round against PGA TOUR and European Tour veteran Bryan Norton, he fell behind on the 24th hole but won 2-and-1 after making birdies on holes 9-12 and 17.

His 2001 victory was flat impressive against Len Johnson, the 1994 and 1997 Kansas Amateur champion.

A 50-foot putt on the 13th green ultimately helped McBride win in sudden death. Instead of putting directly at the hole, he aimed toward an embankment, and the ball bent at the right time, landing at the bottom of the cup. In essence, he rallied to win after trailing by four with only 11 holes to play. He and Johnson combined for 19 birdies in 37 holes.

“The best part was that my mom (Kathy) and dad were there,” McBride said.

“I still get really emotional talking about the Missouri Amateur,” McBride added. “They are a culmination of everything you work for.”

So how did ever get spotted by Mizzou? That’s a crazy story, too. At state his junior year, McBride birdied No. 16 after his tee shot landed in a bunker. Nearby was soon-to-be-retired Mizzou golf coach Richard Poe (MSHOF 2015), who then drove his cart by and winked.

That December (1997), McBride broke his ankle walking off a tee box at Pinehurst, N.C., but he recovered to play his senior year, with Robyn offering a scholarship to Mizzou.

There, McBride won the 2000 Colbert Intercollegiate, and the 2001 Purina Classic. He also helped the 2002 team finish fifth at the Big 12 Conference Championship, marking Mizzou’s best finish since 1988.

These days, McBride lives in Lee’s Summit with his wife, Rochelle, and children Claire, Ian and Nate.

“I’m most thankful for the gifts that God has given me and for parents who let me do it and a country club that embraced me and a salty old coach (Poe) who winked at me,” McBride said. “Golf isn’t my most precious accomplishment in life – that’s my family – but it has some of the most cherished memories.”