Another golfer poked his head into the Pro Shop at the Pine Bluff Country Club and asked Wes McNulty a simple question.
“Are you two every going to lose this tournament again?”
Without hesitation, McNulty said “yes,” but it could be considered a serious question after McNulty and Trey Schaap won their fourth straight Pine Bluff Country Club 4-Ball Invitational on Sunday. McNulty, who has won a combined five 4-Ball titles, and Schaap beat Randy Smith and Ross Rickels by five with four holes remaining in the match play format.
“When’s next year,” Schaap joked. “But no, you don’t expect to win it four times in a row. Teaming up with Wes, he knows this course inside and out. … That is what has been working for the last four years.”
The scary part? This may be the best golf the two have played together to win the title. Their only bogey for the entire three-day event was on Sunday.
“We played very consistent this week,” McNulty said. “We were just trying to not make a bogey and that was our goal. It makes them earn the hole and they have to battle every step of the way.”
Even though Rickels, 60, and Smith, 61, lost the championship, the two still had fun on Sunday. The two took on the three-time defending champs after golfing 19 holes on Friday and 27 on Saturday.
“This is why we play the championship at 60 years old, because you always want to play up a notch,” Rickels said. “We always enjoy playing with them. They don’t make a lot of mistakes and you realize going in you have to bring your A-game and we didn’t have that (Sunday).”
Rickels and Smith may not have had their best game, but it was still enough to keep McNulty and Schaap on their heels.
McNulty and Schaap took an early lead and took the first three holes of the match. But McNulty and Schaap had their first bogey of the tournament on the fourth hole. The two rebounded to win the fifth hole, but Smith and Rickels birdied the next two holes to be down one hole after eight.
“I give a lot of credit to Ross and Randy because after we went three up after three, they could’ve packed it in after all of the stuff they went through,” McNulty said. “They battle after every shot. … Just a testament to them because their games are very good and they compete very well.”
McNulty and Schaap were able to take hole No. 10 to go up two holes and McNulty made a 25-foot putt on the 12th hole for a birdie and a three-shot lead.
“Twelve has been good to us this whole week because Trey rolled in a 40-footer on Friday,” McNulty said. “It was still anyone’s match at that point … and that putt got them down and they couldn’t get back up.”
Smith admitted that he was running out of gas along with Rickels.’
“Always have a little energy right there at first,” he said. “The more that goes on, there wasn’t anything left in the reserves. We were a little worn out. … They played excellent.”
McNulty and Schaap took hole No. 13 and Schaap made a 4-foot putt on the 14th for the win.
“That felt good because Wes was talking all of the holes (Sunday),” Schaap said. “I think I took all of the holes (Saturday).”
McNulty and Schaap will go after a fifth straight title next year and Smith and Rickels hope to be the ones playing against them for the championship next year, too.
“I hope we are in the same position next year,” Rickels said. “Just not the 27 holes on Saturday next time.”