White Hall soon-to-be senior Camryn Ruggeri was happy to win the Pine Bluff Junior City Championship on Tuesday.
Not only did it mean winning the tournament for the second straight year for the girls senior division, it also meant not coming home empty handed after her half brother, Grayson Martin, had already won the boys senior division earlier that day.
“It would have been a little awkward,” Ruggeri said. “That’s a little motivation there.”
Ruggeri shot an 89 and Martin finished with a 72 as the duo won the one-day tournament at the Jaycee Golf Course.
“It felt pretty good,” Martin said.
Martin, 15, was one shot behind Jake McNulty heading into the final hole — which is a par-3. But McNulty’s tee shot sailed out of bounds — unknown to Martin.
“I didn’t know it went out of bounds,” Martin said. “I just went up there and hit my shot on the green about 15 feet from the hole.”
McNulty’s approach went wide right and Martin easily made par to win the match.
“I knew I had it,” Martin said. “His second ball went way right of the green.
“I was really more worried about his brother (Josh McNulty) coming in and shooting a good number to beat me, but he shot a 74.”
Ruggeri’s path to victory was not quite as dramatic as her younger brother’s as she finished five strokes ahead of second-place finisher MacKenzie Stewart, who shot a 94.
Ruggeri, 17, did however start out kind of slow on Tuesday, finishing the first hole with a double bogey.
“The first nine is always a little shaky for me,” Ruggeri said. “The back nine is where I get my stuff together.”
She said she is used to having a slow start.
“I’m usually pretty good about turning it around,” Ruggeri said. “If you have bad shot, you have to let it go and do it again.”
Ruggeri made three pars in a row on the back nine. She said one of the reasons why she struggled early was due to the lack of a driving range at Jaycee.
“You just have a few practice swings and then you have to tee off,” Ruggeri said.
She did have a practice round on Monday.
Martin, who isn’t as familiar with the course as his sister, shared some of her concerns.
“You could hit the ball right down the fairway and it could be on some hard, no grass area,” Martin said of the course. “The greens are really slow and it is hard to get used to that.
“I usually play on greens that are faster.”
Even though Martin is only 15, he is able to play in the older group because he wanted to play from the blue tees instead of the whites.
“I was going against older kids and have better competition,” Martin said.
Martin, who is a freshman on the boys’ golf team at White Hall, will compete in the Junior PGA overall championship on Thursday at the Maumelle Country Club.
Ruggeri said while winning the city championship was a “great experience,” she was more concerned about the play of her White Hall teammates.
“I was worried about how the team would do,” Ruggeri said. “Because we have a tournament coming up.”
The Lady Bulldogs will be competing as a team on Aug. 15 in the Relyance Bank Classic at the Pine Bluff Country Club. Ruggeri said they are expecting eight other high school girls’ teams in that tournament.