Chris Jenkins, who plays out of the Country Club of Arkansas, won a record-tying sixth title in the Fourth of July Classic at Little Rock’s War Memorial Golf Course last weekend.
Jenkins, 44, grew up playing on the Little Rock public courses. This tournament is a special one to him.
“Probably more than any of them,” he said Monday. “War Memorial is one of what’s considered the (Arkansas State Golf Association’s) four majors — with the Stroke, Match and the Maumelle Classic the others. It’s got the most history of any tournament other than the state amateur. The list of winners is as good or better than any other tournament we’ve got.
“And it’s a public facility. I’ve always tried to support the public courses as much as possible. That’s where I’m from, and I need to support them.”
Jenkins fired 61-61-66—188 to escape Tyler Reynolds, a UALR golfer who held a one-stroke lead entering the final round, and Beau Glover of Sherwood, who tied for second one stroke back.
Jenkins said he preferred having a lead to rallying from behind, as he did Sunday.
“Ten or 12 years ago, when I was playing a lot more and competing better than I am, I always wanted to have the lead because I felt like I always did a good job of keeping it,” he said. “Nowadays, I guess I want the lead because somebody’s got to come get you. My nerves don’t handle it as well as they used to. My anxiety level is higher now than it used to be.”
Jenkins won previously in 1995, 2001, ’02, ’04 and ’12. He tied the mark of six by Jay Fox, executive director of the Arkansas State Golf Association, who prevailed in 1983, ’89, ’94, ’97, 2003 and ’05.
Jenkins said he put more pressure on himself to tie the record.
“Like anyone else who’s competitive, I didn’t want anybody to have won more out there than I did, but getting seven is not nearly as important as six was,” he said. “To be in the same mention with Jay out there is fine with me. If I ever get seven or more, that will just be the cherry on top.”
Reynolds shot 60-61-68—189; Glover fired 64-63-62—189. Tracy Harris of Little Rock finished fourth with 62-66-62—190, followed by a tie for fifth at 192 by Jay Lester, the Hendrix College golf coach formerly of Maumelle and now of Conway; Joey Nichols, who grew up in North Little Rock, and Wes McNulty of Pine Bluff.
“The old guard always comes around for War Memorial,” Jenkins said.
Local juniors were among the leaders again in the ASGA-designated Bubba Smart Invitational at Pine Bluff Country Club last week.
Ryan Spurlock of Maumelle won his third tournament of the season when he birdied the last hole to finish at 69-70—139, two strokes better than Grayson Jones of Texarkana and four better than Chandler Cain of Greenbrier.
“I felt really comfortable on that course,” he said. “The first day I was just making putts. Everything felt right. The second day, it came down to making a 10-foot birdie on 18.”
Earlier wins this season came at the Greater Little Rock Junior Championship at War Memorial Golf Course in April and the Bruce Jenkins Memorial at Rebsamen in Little Rock in June. He finished runner-up in the ASGA Junior Stroke Play Championship in a playoff at Shadow Valley Country Club in Rogers
“It was great to come so close the last couple of weeks and finally get a win,” Spurlock said Monday.
He will play this weekend in the Tom Millikin Memorial Junior Stroke at Harrison Country Club.
Christian Barrett of Camden won the Bubba Smart girls tournament with 78-75—153. Hannah Bakalekos of Sherwood tied her friend Taylor Loeb of Maumelle for second, two strokes back at 155. Bakalekos shot 76-79; Loeb scored 78-77.
Spurlock was already atop the Junior Boys Player of the Year standings, ahead of Garrett May of Hope by 44.5 points. The latest win will extend that lead.