Louis Lee isn’t too worried about winning the Arkansas State Golf Association-designated tournament at Harbor Oaks, and it has nothing to do with his six-stroke lead.
Lee, who shot a three-under-par 69 on Saturday to lead the Senior Division, is using the tournament as a tune-up for the United States Golf Association Senior Amateur Championship.
In the Championship Divison, Wes McNulty of White Hall leads with a three-under 69, two strokes ahead of his good friend Trey Schaap. The duo paired up to win last weekend’s Four-Ball championship at Pine Bluff Country Club.
Schaap, of North Little Rock, had an up-and-down round Saturday finishing with five birdies and four bogeys for a one-under-par 71.
“I’ve got to warm up a little better (Sunday),” Schaap said. “I have never had to put on a jacket in August, but I had to (Saturday).”
Saturday’s round may not have been Schaap’s best but he still did well enough to make the division’s final grouping with McNulty and Mark Bartlett, of Little Rock, who shot a 73 on Saturday.
“I’ll be relaxed as all get-out,” Schapp said of playing today’s final round with McNulty. “We each know the other’s game so well, it should be fun.
“Last week, we were both out there hoping the other would do good, and this week we’ll both be out there hoping the other does good. I just hope to do a little better (today).”
If Lee’s round Saturday at Harbor Oaks was any indication, he could be in the hunt for the amateur championship, which starts Sept. 21 at the Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C.
“Played pretty well,” Lee said. “Not great but solid. …
“Had just one bogey, but I finished under-par, which is what I expect. So definitely no complaints.”
Lee, who made it to the quarterfinals of last year’s amateur championship held at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, N.J., doesn’t plan on playing in any more tournaments until the amateur championship.
“I haven’t played much this summer,” Lee said. “I’m basically just playing to try and get ready for the U.S. Senior Amateur.
“This course is a good test for me.”
Lee, 57, said he has not played in many tournaments but has practiced a lot this summer. One possible reason is that he didn’t have to worry about qualifying for the amateur championship, because he won the tournament within the past 10 years he is exempt from qualifying.
The Heber Springs resident captured the title in 2011 defeating Philip Pleat 1-up in the championship match at Kinloch Golf Course in Manakin-Sabot, Va. Earlier in the tournament, Lee needed 19 holes to defeat his older brother Stan in the quarterfinals of the tournament.
Lee’s title came just four years after his brother won the amateur championship by beating Sam Farlow 4-and-3 at Flint Hills National Golf Club in Andover, Kan.
“He’s playing well right now,” Lee said of his brother. “He’s won the last few tournaments he’s been in.
“He’s probably going to be one of the guys to beat at the senior amateur, of course, I hope I am, too.”
Despite the pressure of trying to prepare for the amateur championship, Lee said he was very laid back on the course Saturday, and his playing partners Mark Brugner of Heber Springs and Robert Green of Warren were a big reason.
“I’ve played with (Lee) several times,” Green said. “I’ve played with Mark before, too.
“It was just a really comfortable group. Everybody was pulling for each other.”
Even though he’s seen Lee play several times, Green, 59, still thinks it’s a fun experience.
“Anytime you get to play with a U.S. Senior Amateur champion it’s a good day,” Green said. “It’s truly an honor to play with him, I mean, I’d pay just to watch him play. …
“So, even though I’ve played with him before it’s still a pretty big deal to me.”
Green finished the day with a three-over-par 75, which was good enough for second place in the Senior Division behind Lee.
“Seventy-five is a pretty good score for me,” Green said.
Despite his six-shot lead, Lee isn’t planning on letting up when he takes the course Sunday.
“I’m going to try and shoot exactly what I shot (Saturday),” Lee said. “I’m definitely not going to come out here and just relax.
“Like I said, I’m using this to prepare for the senior amateur, so I need to be able to keep that competitive edge.”
ASGA Designated Tournament at Harbor Oaks
First round • Par 72
Championship Division (top 10)
1. Wes McNulty, 69
2. Trey Schaap, 71
Tie-3. Mark Bartlett, 73
Tie-3. Trent Scogin, 73
5. Chris Jenkins, 74
Tie-6. David Dyer, 75
Tie-6. Andrew Sanders, 75
Tie-8. Gene Davis, 78
Tie-8. Corey Durham, 78
Tie-8. Jared Dutton, 78
Mid-Senior Division (top 10)
Tie-1. Tracy Harris, 73
Tie-1. Frank Martin, 73
Tie-1. David Shirey, 73
Tie-4. Jim Moser, 74
Tie-4. Mike Wilson, 74
6. Brett Lukas, 75
7. Jim Stanley, 76
Tie-8. Austin Franks, 77
Tie-8. Robby Selph, 77
Tie-10. Billy Blackburn, 80
Tie-10. Randy Patterson, 80
Seniors (all entrants)
1. Louis Lee, 69
2. Robert Green, 75
Tie-3. Jim Balch, 79
Tie-3. Clark Fitts, 79
Tie-3. Mike Hale, 79
6. Rick Kidder, 82
Tie-7. Keith Browning, 83
Tie-7. Mark Brugner, 83
9. Mike Fowler, 88
Bill Himm, NC
Super Senior (all entrants)
Tie-1. Glen Talbert, 75
Tie-1. Oscar Taylor, 75
Tie-3. Ed Hardison, 78
Tie-3. Glenn Hickey, 78
5. Dan Young, 81