The 2020 Arkansas Amateur Championship has concluded after a tremendous weekend of competitive golf at Hot Springs Country Club. Congratulations to our 2020 Champion Matthew Cole. Cole shot rounds of 68,70, and 67 to finish at -11 overall.
It was a roller coaster ride in Hot Springs this weekend. Friday’s first round was cut short due to multiple rain delays, the second one ending play for the remainder of the day. Players who were still on the golf course at the time of the second delay restarted their round at 8AM the next morning and then would later play their regular scheduled second round later in the day. Thankfully, this only had a large impact on the Championship division and other division tee times were only moved back 20 minutes, with the final group of the day beginning at 4:00. This was a collaborative effort, and we would like to express our appreciation to Barry Howard, and the rest of the Hot Springs Country Club staff. They faced multiple challenges, but continued to provide a pristine environment for championship golf throughout the weekend.
At the end of Friday's first round it was Fayetteville native and University of Houston golfer, Luke Long, who topped the leaderboard with a four under 68. Long, the 2018 Amateur champion, birdied the final hole of the round to post the low score of the day. However, fellow Cougar Matthew Cole, was unable to finish his first round due to the second delay, and upon resuming play on Saturday morning, Cole matched his teammate with a first round 68. Cole would then follow that up with a two under 70 and head into the final round at -6 with a two shot lead over Long and Cabot native, Logan Stephens. Stephens, a Freshman playing at Southern Arkansas University, posted a first round 70, but caught fire on Saturday afternoon posting a second round 68. Stephens bogeyed his first hole of the day, but did not drop another shot the rest of the way.
“I got to three and made birdie and made a couple more birdies coming through there, and after that I felt like I could hit any shot I wanted and the putts just started to fall.” Stephens said after his second round. This set up an explosive final group on Championship Sunday.
On the final day, it was all Matthew Cole. After a bogey on the first hole, Cole got into a rhythm with back to back birdies at five and six. Long tried to keep pace by matching Cole with a birdie at the sixth. However, On the back nine Cole caught fire and made five birdies to win by six strokes. Cole finished at -11 with Long finishing in second at -6.