MOUNTAIN HOME â€“ The Benton Panther golf team finished 8th out of 12 teams, shooting a 358, just four strokes from qualifying as a team in the 6A State round two today in the State Tournament at the par-72 Big Creek Golf and Country Club in Mountain Home on Monday. Benton finished fourth in the South.
â€śThis is some tough competition,â€ť Benton Coach David Torres said. â€śItâ€™s a wide-open, beautiful course. Itâ€™s well taken care of and the greens are well-groomed. Itâ€™s just the toughness of it; tough pin placement. This week, your putter was everything. Each green had two or three tiers.â€ť
Russellville and Jonesboro tied for first with 317s (Russellville won in sudden death sinking a 45-foot putt), Searcy and El Dorado tied for third with 338s, with Siloam Springs (343), Sheridan (349) and Greenwood (354) following.
Despite just missing out as a team, the Panthers did qualify three golfers for todayâ€™s individual round with senior Matthew Perry leading Benton with an 85, sophomore Sam Eddington (87) and freshman Cole Treece (89). Junior Justin Lee shot a 97 and sophomore Joe Adams finished with a 98.
â€śIt was a great experience for our kids in a rebuilding year,â€ť Torres said.
â€śBeing young, some of them got their first state tournament under their belt. It just wasnâ€™t good enough to qualify. The best thing is getting that experience with a capital E and getting ready a year from now.â€ť