Ryan Spurlock of Maumelle earned one of two qualifying spots last week for the U.S. Amateur in Pebble Beach, Calif., next month.
He carded 67-65 — 132, 12 under par at Big Creek Golf and Country Club in Mountain Home to finish behind Mason Overstreet of Kingfisher, Okla., and the University of Arkansas, who shot 62-66 — 128 to earn medalist honors.
Spurlock, 20, will head to his junior season at Arkansas Tech having competed in the 118th Amateur, to be played at the Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill courses Aug. 13-19.
“I’ve waited a long time for this golden ticket and now I finally have it,” Spurlock wrote on his Facebook page last week. “Can’t wait to get to Pebble Beach.”
He said Sunday he was “extremely excited” to play in his first USGA event.
“It’s always a goal,” he said. “I tried for a long time with the Junior Am but never made it.”
He made it on his second try for the U.S. Am.
At the qualifier, Spurlock said he knew he was in good shape when he birdied the first five holes of his first round.
“When you’re five-under through five, you feel like you have a cushion,” he said. “Even if you hit bad shots, you say, ‘I’m fine; I can recoup.’”
He said toward the end of the first round he started to get a bit tired but finished strong and felt good.
“Then you have to mentally prepare yourself to play another 18 holes,” he said. “I birdied the first hole (No. 10) of my second round and was still feeling good and still putting good. I strung off three or four birdies on the back nine coming in and played good on my back nine.”
When the horn blew for a weather delay, he faced a 20-foot downhill putt on No. 8 — his 17th. After the 30-minute rain delay, he drained it and parred his final hole.
Spurlock and Tech teammate Austin Smith won the Russellville Country Club Four-ball Sunday. He said he would play in the Maumelle Classic and the ASGA Match Play Championship before the Amateur.
Sherwood Amateur this weekend
A new champion will be crowned this weekend for the second Sherwood Amateur, an Arkansas State Golf Association-designated event at The Greens at North Hills.
Nick Zimmerman, the hometown favorite who won by three strokes last year, is in veterinary school at LSU and had a prior commitment that will keep him from defending.
“He’s on his way to pursue his dream,” said Dawn Darter, head professional at The Greens at North Hills.
But even in Zimmerman’s absence, there will be plenty of competitive local flavor in the two-day stroke-play event that will feature open, mid-senior, senior, super-senior and master’s divisions.
Darter said entries would be taken through Friday with the tournament to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday. Already entered by Sunday were local favorites Stafford Gray, runner-up to Zimmerman last year; Kevin Walker, who finished fourth; Nick Crisco, who was fifth; and Beau Glover.
“They all play out here and they are among the top players in the state,” she said. “We have some of the finer players in the state playing. Everybody enjoys playing it; the greens are in excellent shape. We’re looking for a very positive outcome as far as turnout and playability of the golf course. It’s excellent.”
Entry fee is $150. For more information or to enter, call 501-833-3790.
Deadline extended for Maumelle Classic
The deadline for entering the Maumelle Classic has been extended to Sunday, July 22, at 5 p.m.
A field of more than 100 golfers, including former champion is Ken Moore (2000), Luke Bakke (2006) and Bryon Shumate (2008), was entered by press time. The 54-hole tournament, presented by Metro Appliances and More, will be played at Maumelle Country Club July 27-29.
For more information, contract Cary Maddox, PGA head golf professional at MCC, at email@example.com or 501-851-3700.
At press time, with three events remaining on the ASGA’s junior designated schedule, local golfers held big leads in the Player of the Year races.
The season will conclude July 23-26 at Eagle Hill Golf Course in Little Rock with the final major, the Arkansas Junior Match Play. At press time, Connor Gaunt of Cabot led the boys race with 707.5 points, ahead of Ryan Camras of Bismarck (441.5). Blaine Calhoon of Ward (424) was third and Hyun Je Lee of North Little Rock (395) fourth to lead the local boys contingent.
In the girls race, MacKenzie Lee of North Little Rock had 875 points, ahead of Maumelle’s Josie Roberson (484). Alexis Montgomery of Maumelle stood sixth with 305 points.
Greers Ferry Junior Stroke, Red Apple Inn, July 19-20; Sherwood Amateur, The Greens at North Hills, July 21-22; Arkansas Junior Match Play Championship, Eagle Hill, Little Rock, July 23-26; Maumelle Classic, Maumelle CC, July 27-29; Southern Junior Cup Matches, Old Kinderhook (Missouri), July 31-Aug. 2; ASGA Match Play, Harbor Oaks, Pine Bluff, Aug. 2-5; USGA Mid-Amateur and Senior Amateur qualifying, Pleasant Valley Country Club, Aug. 8.