Wes McNulty and Trey Schaap are going after their fourth straight Pine Bluff Country Club Invitational Four-Ball title this weekend at Pine Bluff County Club, so they did not need any extra help on the first day Friday.
But that is exactly what the twosome got. McNulty and Schaap were spotted a three-hole lead in the match play format against their opponents, Jason Daugherty and J.D. Lindsey.
McNulty, a White Hall resident who has won the event four times, and Schaap went on to win the first-round matchup by five with four holes left.
“They had a couple of bogeys early and we got up on them and stayed up on them,” McNulty said. “We were three up after four, so it’s nice to get a lead where they are not as comfortable as we are.”
According to the bracket, maybe that is how it should have gone. Since McNulty and Schaap have won the event the last three years, they were the top seed in the Championship Flight. Daugherty and Lindsey were the eighth seed out of eight championship groups.
Daugherty and Lindsey started to make it a match later on, but McNulty and Schaap birdied holes 11, 12 and 14 to put the match away.
“They came back and played pretty well the last nine holes,” McNulty said. “But Trey played pretty well and I don’t think he had a bogey all day.”
After four years on being on top, McNulty said they know anyone can play a great round of golf, and each year gets tougher.
“We don’t take it for granted,” he said. “We’ve had some good matches over the years. The first year we won, we didn’t have too many close matches. The last couple of years have been pretty tough.”
McNulty and Schaap, a sports personality on KABZ-FM 103.7 “The Buzz”, knows it will be a tough field again this year. The toughest challenge could come from Ross Rickels and Randy Smith, who are the No. 2 seed.
“Ross and Randy are always tough on this course,” McNulty said.
McNulty knows the nooks and crannies of the PBCC course just as well as Smith and Rickels, though.
“This is where I grew up, so I feel comfortable out here most of the time,” he said. “The matches will get tougher.”