For the second straight year, youth was served at the Chuck Morton Memorial Junior Golf Tournament.
Wil Gibson, a 15-year-old from Jonesboro, shot a 72 Friday to go with his first-round 74, and defeated Mitchell Ford in a playoff to win the first-place trophy at the ASGA Designated Stroke Play event at Big Creek Golf & Country Club.
Gibson isn’t the first to hoist the trophy after taking down older competition.
Fayetteville’s Luke Long won last year’s boys’ championship as a 16-year-old, while the girls’ event was won by 13-year-old Casey Ott of Conway.
“My irons weren’t very good the first day,” said Gibson, who still shot 2-over-par Thursday, “but today I got them rolling. I just didn’t roll in the putts.”
Ford rebounded from a first-round 75 to shoot 71 Friday, forcing the playoff with Gibson, who won after the first hole.
Big Creek has become Gibson’s home away from home. The rising sophomore at Jonesboro High School was his team’s top performer as the Hurricane won the Ultimate Ford Tournament at the course last August. The Hurricane went on to win the Class 6A State championship in the fall.
Gibson also won his age division in the Chuck Morton Tournament last summer.
“I’ve played here a lot,” Gibson said. “I wish I had made a few putts, because I can play better here. Overall, I played pretty well, though.”
Miles Smith of Little Rock and John Edgin of Ozark tied at 147, and Smith won third place after a playoff. Edgin was the leader after a first-round 71, the lone under-par score Thursday.
Katelyn Dunstan of Little Rock was the girls’ overall champion, playing back-to-back 73s for a 146.
“My approach shots were really good,” said Dunstan, who placed sixth overall last year. “I hit almost every green. My iron shots were just spot-on.”
Dunstan’s consistency gave her the 5-stroke victory as Taylor Loeb of Maumelle was second at 151, following a 77 with a 74 on Friday.
Josie Roberson of Maumelle was third overall and won the girls’ 14-15 age division with a 155 (77-78). Roberson was 11 strokes ahead of her next age group competitor, but was just 2 strokes ahead of Rogers’ Kate Robertson, who placed third among 16-18s with a 157.
Palmer Hays of Fayetteville was second behind Gibson in the 14-15 boys’ division with a 152, and Josh McNulty of White Hall defeated Denver Davis of Fayetteville in the third playoff of the day for third after both finished at 153.
Jackson Gilbert of Little Rock won the boys’ 12-13 division at 171 (84-87), while Harrison’s Nicholas Thiel won the boys’ 10-11 at 127 (61-66, nine-hole rounds).
The course was soggy from rain both days, but the greens ultimately sped up in the hot afternoon sun.
“The fairways weren’t too rough, but if you hit it in the rough, it was wet,” Gibson said. “So, I just tried to hit it in the fairway every time.”
Among local competitors in the tournament, Mountain Home’s Matt Robbins shot a 178 (91-87), Bradley Ludwig shot a 180 (88-92), Ben Hagaman shot a 205 (101-104), and Dylan Osmon shot a 215 (100-115).
For local sports updates, follow Neal Denton on Twitter @BBSportsNeal and Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/BBSportsNeal
14th annual Chuck Morton Memorial Junior Golf Tournament
at Big Creek Golf & Country Club
Boys’ overall standings
*1st -Will Gibson, Jonesboro…74-72-146
2 nd-Mitchell Ford, Little Rock…75-71-146
*3rd-Miles Smith, Little Rock…73-74-147
4 th-John Edgin, Ozark…71-76-147
5 th-Ryan Spurlock, Maumelle…75-74-149
6 th-Logan Solomon, Waldron…77-73-150
6 th-Logan Greer, Harrison…77-73-150
8 th-Jay Trusty, Danville…75-76-151
9 th-Grant Hynes, Fayetteville…73-79-152
9 th-Sam Rainwater, Jonesboro…80-72-152
9 th-Palmer Hays, Feyetteville…77-75-152
* — won in a playoff
Girls’ overall standings
1st -Katelyn Dunstan, Little Rock…73-73-146
2 nd-Taylor Loeb, Maumelle…77-74-151
3rd-Josie Roberson, Maumelle…77-78-155
4 th-Kate Robertson, Rogers…79-78-157
5 th-Allie Weiner, Maumelle…80-79-159
6 th-Bailey Dunstan, Little Rock…88-78-166
7 th-Mary Claire Meredith, Jonesboro…84-83-167
7 th-Alexis Montgomery, Maumelle…81-86-167