Mark Bartlett is no stranger to winning Arkansas State Golf Association tournaments in Pine Bluff.
In 2012, Bartlett won at Harbor Oaks Golf Course to basically lock up the ASGA Amateur Player of the Year Award, and on Sunday he won the Open Division of the ASGA Designated tournament at Pine Bluff Country Club.
“Winning the tournament didn’t matter,” Bartlett said. “I was just trying to go out there and have a good round.”
Well, the 44-year-old Little Rock resident was old enough to play in the Mid-Senior Division (40-54 years old) but opted to play in the Open Division (39-younger).
According to Bartlett, he didn’t play his best, but he still finished with an even-par 71, the same score he shot on Saturday, to take home the title.
“Today was about battling,” Bartlett said. “First three holes I birdied, three-putted (for bogey) and double bogeyed.”
Heading into No. 16 he trailed David Dyer by two strokes, but Bartlett’s par, coupled with Dyer’s triple-bogey, gave him a one-stroke lead he wouldn’t give up.
Bartlett, who led Dyer by one stroke entering the day, followed the pattern of first-day leaders holding their leads. All four of Saturday’s division leaders ended up winning their division on Sunday.
Oscar Taylor, 71, of Hot Springs Village won the Super Senior Division (65-over) followed up his opening round 72, with a 70 on Sunday.
“I played pretty good, today,” Taylor said. “Only got in the wrong spot two or three times and picked up a couple of bogeys.
“I struck the ball better and got off to a decent start with a birdie on (No.) 1.”
David Shirey, 54, of Camden claimed the Mid-Senior Division after shooting 74, on both days. Shirey said he plays the course fairly often and that gave him an advantage.
“If you know the course, you know where you need to try and land your ball,” he said.
Shirey entered Sunday with a two-stroke lead over Austin Franks, with whom he was playing his final round.
“I watched (Franks) to see what he is doing so I could try and stay ahead,” Shirey said.
While, Shirey paid attention to what his challenger was doing, but Bev T. Hargraves tried not to worry about what his playing partners were doing.
“When you play in the last round against somebody like Stan, who I consider a real competitor, you have to take every shot as it is,” Hargraves said. “You have to block out what the competitor is doing.”
Well, Hargraves, 61, of Helena-West Helena, saw his strategy pay off as he followed up Saturday’s 68 with a 69 on Sunday for a four-stroke win over Stan Lee in the Senior Division (55-64).
“It’s great to get those competitive juices flowing,” Lee said of trying to catch Hargraves. “I just love competing.
“I’m out there watching him knowing I have to catch up, and I, actually, play better when I’m in that frame of mind.”
Lee shot a 69 on Sunday, but he wasn’t able to recover from his one-over-par 72 from Saturday.
“When you are out playing with someone like Bev,” Lee said. “You know they have to mess up for you to have a chance, and he didn’t.
“And, I’m glad he didn’t, because I was out there rooting for him, too.”
The luckiest man on Sunday might just have been 62-year-old Pine Bluff resident Bill Himm, who was coupled with Hargraves and Lee in the final round.
“It was fun,” Himm said of playing with the ASGA Hall of Famers. “They are both just really good guys.
“They make a lot more putts than I do,” he joked.
Himm, who was the only Pine Bluff Country Club member to enter the tournament, is no slouch on the course, either.
He finished second in his division last year when Hargraves sunk a 10-foot putt on No. 18 to win by one stroke.
“If (Hargraves) hadn’t made it, he and I would have entered a playoff,” Himm said.
Even though he finished in third place behind the duo, the smile on Himm’s face suggested that he would always remember his round with Hargraves and Lee.
After silently staring at the tournament’s four leaderboards for a minute, Himm finally said, almost to himself, “I’m glad I got to play with them.”
He turned and walked off towards his car, heading to grab his clubs and go play another round of golf.