Earl Goldman’s birth certificate told him to play in the Senior Division of the Pine Bluff City Championship, but his body told him to enter the Open Division.
Unfortunately for Tony Capshaw and the rest of the Open Division field, Goldman, 67, listened to his body.
“I’ve been hitting the ball really good, and the tee boxes are only about 15 yards apart,” Goldman said about deciding to enter the Open Division. “Plus, the entry fee was the same.”
Goldman shot a 3-over 73 to take a one-stroke lead over Capshaw into the final day of the two-day tournament at Jaycee Golf Course in Martin Luther King Park.
The tournament has three divisions. The Open Division, as its name would suggest, is open to all ages, the Senior Division is for players age 60-74 and the Super Senior Division is for players age 75 and older.
Jaycee is a nine-hole course, but is set up to play 18 holes. The only difference is that some of the holes have two sets of tee boxes, so the distance to the hole might change depending on whether one is playing the front nine or the back nine.
Capshaw, 32, of Pine Bluff, started his round well, but then double-bogeyed No. 10 and triple-bogeyed No. 12.
When asked about the course’s most difficult aspect, Capshaw said, “Oh, the greens, for sure.”
Capshaw, who plays the course about four or five times a year, said he thinks he needs to shoot “somewhere between 71, 72 or 73” to have a good chance to win on Sunday.
Goldman, of Pine Bluff, said he tries to play the course at least once a week, but sometimes has to settle for playing every other week. He said he has played in the tournament the past three years.
Last year, Goldman shot a two-day score of 149 (74-75) playing in the Senior Division. He finished second in the division after losing on the seventh hole of a playoff.
After learning that, it’s not too surprising to hear that Goldman thinks the most difficult thing about the course is the mental aspect.
“The course is playing really well,” Goldman said. “You just got to be able to keep the ball in a good position.”
Goldman might have a one-stroke lead in the Open Division, but he only tied for the lowest round of the day with the Senior Division’s Mike Vaughn of White Hall.
Vaughn, 64, is the head coach of the White Hall High football team. Because of this obligation he only gets to hit the links a few months out of the year, but he takes advantage of it.
“Well, I’ve played practically everyday, five days a week, so 10 times in the past two weeks,” Vaughn said. “I play this course about 20 times total during the summer.”
Vaughn said he has played in the city championship before, but hadn’t participated the past few years because the tournament was held in August and conflicted with football practice.
“This golf course is hard, man, you can’t beat it,” Vaughn said. “It’s in the best condition I’ve seen it in years.
“I mean, if you miss a putt, it’s your fault. It’s not the green’s fault.”
One group that didn’t miss many putts was the Super Senior Division. There were only three entrants in the division, but they all shot very well.
Billy Kimbrell (77), Abel White (78) and Joe Wood (81) all shot well enough that if they had chosen to enter it they would have finished the day inside the top 10 in the Open Division.
White, of Pine Bluff, said the hardest part of the course was, “Any of the par 3’s, and, really, any of the par 5’s.”
White, 77, who said he plays the course “All the time,” missed shooting his age by one stroke.
“I’m just glad that I’m alive to have the opportunity to shoot my age,” White joked.