FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Sophomore Austin Cook of the University of Arkansas men’s golf team made a run at defending his 2010 Arkansas State Golf Association Amateur stoke play title with a final day, 70, but his efforts came up two strokes short as he placed second in the event at Shadow Valley Country Club in Rogers, Ark.
Cook entered the day nine strokes behind eventual champion Joey Nichols of Little Rock, Ark., but didn’t let that bother him as he made an early charge by shooting five-under par on the front nine. While Cook finished the day at two-under par, his round of 70 was the lowest of the day by any of the 28 golfers who finished the tournament.
Cook’s round began with a birdie on the first as his shot to the green landed within 10 feet of the hole. A par on No. 2 was followed by an eagle on the par five third. The 502-yard hole saw Cook land his drive roughly 170 yards from the green allowing him to land his second shot close to the hole. A birdie on No. 4 had Cook at four-under par through four holes.
The next four holes were uneventful for Cook as he delivered par after par before ending his front nine with a birdie on No. 9. Cook’s opening nine holes saw him hit all seven fairways and eight of nine greens in regulation with the one miss just off the green and led to par.
The back nine was not as kind to Cook as heat and humidity began to take its toll on all the competitors. Three holes of par opened the back side of the course and led to a bogey on the par three 13th. Cook had his opportunity to get par on the hole, but a three putt led to his bogey. A pair of pars on 14 and 15 kept Cook at four-under par as he approached the final three holes.
The 16th hole for Cook turned out to be his nemesis as a double bogey knocked him out of a potential playoff. Cook had a good drive on the par five hole and his second shot landed just off the fairway, but very playable. It was the third shot to the green that got him in trouble as the wedge sailed right of the green and into a tough spot, forcing him to take two shots to get on. Cook then two putted for his double bogey. The Jonesboro, Ark., native finished his round with a pair of pars.