The 41st Maumelle Classic last week lived up to its name.
Noah Tullos, a sophomore at UALR and the 2012 Class 5A Arkansas state champion at Paragould High School, survived a three-way playoff with a birdie on the second extra hole at Maumelle Country Club to earn his green jacket.
Tullos, Austin Harmon and Dennis Godoy had finished 54 holes of regulation at one-over-par 217. Tullos shot 74-72-71; Harmon, a sophomore at Central Baptist College from Bryant, fired 70-74-73; and Godoy, of Hideaway, Texas, an incoming freshman at Arkansas Tech, carded 70-73-74.
Godoy bogeyed the first extra hole, falling out after Tullos and Harmon parred it. On the second extra hole, Harmon got in trouble on his second shot and wound up taking bogey. Tullos sank a four-foot birdie putt for the title.
"The weather started out very nice Friday with low humidity, but by the end of Sunday it was true Classic weather — July hot, and the golf was exciting to go along with it," said Cary Maddox, head professional at MCC.
"It’s almost turned into a college tournament. That’s what it looks like if you walk up and look at all the players’ bags, and even more so this year. Noah’s a big strong guy who hits it a long way."
Maddox has worked five Classics, and he said a college player had won every one of those.
Connor Murphy of Searcy, Luke Bakke of Seattle (a former champ) and Richard Wrentz of Little Rock tied for fourth at two-over 218. Bryon Shumate of Fort Smith, another former champion, tied Eddie Craven of Maumelle for seventh at three-over 219.
Craven, an MCC member, shot 78-71-70.
"Eddie played great over the weekend," Maddox said. "If he’d had a lower round Friday, he would’ve been right there at the end."
Craven works for Metro Appliances & More, which has sponsored the tournament for the last several years. Maddox said he and Todd Krauser, another MCC member who works there (and played in the mid-senior division), had been instrumental in getting the sponsorship and thus improving the tournament.
"We’re going to build each year," Maddox said.
Austen Moix of Conway; Easton Key of Meridian, Miss.; Michael Wharton-Palmer of Texarkana and Tyler Reynolds of Little Rock tied for 10th at five-over 221.
Tracy Harris of Little Rock shot 72-76-79—227, 11-over-par, to win the mid-senior division (40+) by seven strokes over Jason Palecek of Little Rock. Stan Lee of Tumbling Shoals, another former champion, rolled to an eight-stroke win in the senior division (55+) with 71-68-69—208, to beat Bev Hargraves of Helena (71-77-68—216, even-par). Maumelle’s Bill Jett shot 75-73-75—223, seven-over-par, to eke out a one-stroke win over Oscar Taylor of Hot Springs Village in the super-senior division (65+).
Jett’s title was a popular one. He started the Classic in 1973 and won the first mid-senior tournament in 2000. He led wire-to-wire this time.
"But I was leaking oil," he said. "(His competitors) just ran out of holes."
Added Maddox, who was born in ‘73: "He loves that tournament so much and looks forward to it every year. He played a good, solid first two days and managed to keep it together."
Jett said the goal from the first Classic was to make it better every year.
"We’ve done that," he said.
Support from the club members has been instrumental.
"Between volunteering and spectating, and we had 20 play this year, we had more than ever out there," Maddox said. "They love coming out and watching and spotting balls for players. They’ve come to know a lot of them who come back every year."