Jaycee Golf Course might want to put up a sign that reads, “Age is just a number.”
On Monday, 12-year-old Josh McNulty won the Pine Bluff Junior City Championship, which comes just six weeks after 67-year-old Earl Goldman won the Pine Bluff City Championship. Like Goldman, McNulty could have played in his own age group and easily won a trophy, especially considering nobody else signed up for the 12-and-under age group.
McNulty, whose father Wes is a legendary golfer in Arkansas, shot a 3-over-par 73 to win the tournament by two strokes over 17-year-old Micah Cottrell.
Cottrell, a soon-to-be senior at Ridgway Christian, played well his second time through the nine-hole course, but not well enough to overcome a rough first time through.
“The front-nine round, I struggled,” Cottrell said. “I left a lot of birdies out there.
“I didn’t have the greatest putting round.”
Cottrell, the captain of Ridgway’s golf team, finished 4-over-par on the front nine and just 1-over-par on the back nine.
“Overall, it was a decent round,” Cottrell said. “Could have been a little lower, a putt here, a fairway there.”
When he finished, Cottrell, who was playing in the group in front of McNulty, thought his back-nine performance might be enough to win him the tournament.
“When I got into the clubhouse with a 75, I thought I had a pretty good chance,” Cottrell said. “I knew Josh McNulty and David Norwood had a good front nine and thought they might keep it up.
“Obviously, Josh did.”
McNulty, a soon-to-be seventh grader at White Hall Middle School, was as surprised by his round as anybody.
“I didn’t think I was going to do this good,” McNulty said.
McNulty, who believes he shot a 79 in last year’s tournament, said he plays at Jaycee “at least once a week, usually two or three times,” but that he usually plays at Pine Bluff Country Club.
“I usually shoot in the high-70s or low-80s here,” McNulty said of Jaycee. “I was just hitting everything really good, today.”
Arguably, the most impressive thing about McNulty’s day was the fact that he beat out the champions from the past two years. He topped 2011 champion Regin Reginio by 12 strokes and beat out the reigning champion by five strokes.
Even though he wasn’t paired with him on Monday, the reigning champ is somebody McNulty plays golf with quite often — his 16-year-old brother Jake.
“We play together a lot,” the younger McNulty said. “It’s always very competitive.”
When asked how he could possibly improve on such a great round, McNulty shook his head and said, “I don’t know.
“I’ll just try my hardest, I guess.”
Pine Bluff Junior City Championship
Leaderboard (final results)
1. Josh McNulty, 73
2. Micah Cottrell, 75
3. David Norwood, 76
4. Jake McNulty, 78
5. Regin Reginio, 85
tie-6. Jeffrey Manning, 87
tie-6. Jase Wilson, 87
8. Michael Ingram, 89
1. Grayson Martin, 76
2. Jackson Rasor, 95
3. Ethan King, 103
4. Caleb Hickman, 118
Girls 13-18 (nine holes)
1. Camryn Ruggeri, 43
2. Madeline Harvey, 48
3. Kelsey Capps, 59
Girls 12-under (three holes)
1. Anaya White, 25