Arkansas tied for second last week in the sixth Southern Junior Cup Matches at The Country Club of Oxford in Oxford, Miss.
With six local players on the 12-person team, Arkansas scored 10.5 points, tied with Mississippi, behind Alabama’s 19.5. Missouri finished fourth with 7.5.
The six boys and six girls, representing the best juniors in the state, competed in four-ball, foursome and individual matches over three days. Locals on the roster included Connor Gaunt of Cabot, the Arkansas State Golf Association’s Junior Boys Player of the Year; Blaine Calhoon of Ward; Josie Roberson and Alexis Montgomery of Maumelle; Hannah Bakalekos of Sherwood and Mackenzie Lee of North Little Rock.
“It was a great experience,” Gaunt, 16, said. “It was my favorite tournament by far. I love the team aspect of it and look forward to maybe playing it next year.”
Bryant Fortin, director of junior golf for the ASGA, and Ryan Spurlock of Maumelle, the 2014 and ‘16 Junior Boys Player of the Year and a three-time member of the Southern Junior Cup team, were Arkansas captains.
The rest of the Arkansas contingent included Jackson Marseilles and Logan Greer of Harrison, Noah Minton of Jonesboro, Josh McNulty of White Hall, Elizabeth Moon of Forrest’s City and Sydney Staton of Fort Smith.
In four-ball play, Roberson and McNulty defeated Missouri’s Allison Bray and Peter Weaver, 4 and 3; Lee and Gaunt knocked off Mississippi’s Presley Baggett and Kyle Meeks, 4 and 2; Calhoon and Staton beat Alabama’s Austin Coggin and Karlee Allen, 2 up; Montgomery and Minton halved Missouri’s Jack Rundle and Kate Keuss; and Bakalekos and Marseilles fell to Alabama’s J.P. Cave and Sophie Burks, 4 and 3.
In foursome competition, Montgomery and Greer beat Missouri’s Rundle and Samantha Cornelius, 3 and 2; Bakalekos and Minton knocked off Mississippi’s Riley Mathew and Kaye Meeks, 5 and 4; Moon and Calhoon lost to Mississippi’s Baggett and Cameron Clarke, 3 and 1; Gaunt and Staton fell to Alabama’s Patrice Sim and Ally Williams, 1 up; Roberson and Marseilles lost to Alabama’s Ethan Hagood and Michael O’Berry, 1 up; and Lee and McNulty fell to Missouri’s Alex Locke and Keuss, 4 and 3.
In singles matches, Calhoon beat Jake Kight of Mississippi, 4 and 3; Roberson defeated Taryn Overstreet of Missouri, 3 and 2; Lee knocked off Baggett of Mississippi, 2 up; Gaunt lost to Alabama’s Sim, 4 and 3; Bakalekos lost to Alabama’s Burks, 2 and 1; and Montgomery lost to Alabama’s Williams, 4 and 3.
The ASGA’s Facebook page included this post from last week: “We could not be more proud of Team Arkansas! We came in 2nd against the top junior golfers in 4 states at this year’s Southern Junior Cup Matches! We are already looking forward to next year’s Cup Matches in Missouri!”
It also thanked the outgoing seniors on the Arkansas team — Bakalekos, Minton, Marseilles and Greer.
“We are going to bring that Cup home next year for you!”
ASGA Match Play
The Arkansas State Golf Association Match Play Championship, the final major of the ASGA season, will be played Thursday through Sunday at Lost Springs Golf and Athletic Club in Rogers.
On the line will be the 2017 Player of the Year awards. At press time, North Little Rock’s Nick Zimmerman led Wes McNulty of White Hall in the amateur race, 490 points to 445. Bill Wrentz of Cabot led Joe Bushee of Hot Springs Village in the super-senior (64+) division. Trey Schaap was atop the mid-senior rankings (40+); Fred Stamey of Hot Springs Village was atop the senior standings (54+).
Deadline for entry for the Match Play was extended to Monday. An 18-hole qualifier will be played Thursday for seeding into the various brackets.
The amateur winner will take custody of the Roy Wood Trophy for the next year.
ASGA Match Play, Lost Springs, Rogers, Aug. 10-13; RidgePointe Men’s Stroke Play, RidgePointe CC, Jonesboro, Aug. 19-20; U.S. Mid-Amateur qualifying, Paradise Valley, Fayetteville, Aug. 28.