Simmons Bank has signed a five-year presenting sponsorship agreement with the Arkansas State Golf Association (ASGA). As part of the partnership, a new amateur event, the Simmons Bank Cup, has been established. The inaugural, Ryder Cup-style tournament was held at the TPC Southwind golf course in Memphis, Tennessee on April 11–13, 2021. The annual tournament matched amateur champions from the ASGA and the Tennessee Golf Association (TGA). After many hard-fought matches, team TGA defeated team ASGA 19 - 9.

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Former ASGA Junior golfer Mitchell Ford was recently crowned the individual champion of the 2021 Rattler Invitational in San Antonio, Texas.

 

The Henderson State senior fired off a final round 68 to seal his first individual collegiate victory. Ford made four birdies in his final seven holes to hold off late charges from multiple competitors. He finished the tournament at 9-under par to win by three strokes over Austin Gean of Arkansas Tech University.

 

“I remember telling my dad on #1, "let's shoot 68 and see what that does." It was great to see myself pull it off. I knew the golf course was going to provide a bunch of opportunities, I just had to stay patient and let them come. It was a Maxwell format, so it was fun to have my team there every step of the way. One of my goals for the semester was to get my first college win, and I am stoked for achieving it.” Ford said.


Ford got off to a great start in 2020 with two top 15 finishes at the Arkansas Collegiate Invitational and the Newberry Ocean Course Invitational before the season was suspended due to COVID-19. We spoke with Ford about having last season cut short and how it impacted him and the rest of the Reddie program.

 

“It was extremely tough at first because we were losing three of our starters. I really felt like our team could have done some big things that spring, and it was such a shame to see it get canceled. We were at practice when the news hit. I don't think I'll ever forget that day. Personally, it worked out okay. I had a lot of time to work on my game. I played wonderfully the entire summer.”

 

Ford’s win this week came after an unprecedented winter storm in the Natural State. Many places in the state saw over a foot of snowfall after years of seeing little to none. Ford talked about the team’s unorthodox preparation due to the weather.


“It was tough. Luckily, HSU has the Ken Duke Center which allows us to practice inside. We didn't get to see the ball fly for around 14 days, which I think hurt some of us. Coach Schultz did a great job keeping us focused by holding practice as frequently as possible.”

 

The Rattler Invitational was the first event of the season for Henderson State. The Reddies finished 4th in the 12-team tournament. The team finished higher than any other non-ranked team in the event, finishing behind #18 Arkansas Tech, #19 Dallas Baptist, and #21 St. Mary’s (TX). Henderson State is back in action on March 2nd at the Harding Invitational in Cabot.

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