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story.lead_photo.caption Bentonville’s Phisher Phillips reacts after missing a putt on the fifth hole during Wednesday’s second round of the Class 6A boys state golf tournament in Sherwood. Phillips led Bentonville to the team title after the Tigers defeated Little Rock Catholic in a two-hole playoff. - Photo by Thomas Metthe

The Bentonville Tigers and Fayetteville senior Palmer McSpadden had to work a little extra to earn the top prizes at the Class 6A state boys golf tournament Wednesday afternoon.

McSpadden defeated Cabot's Caleb Miller in a one-hole playoff at The Greens at North Hills in Sherwood, a daunting 6,467-yard, par-71 course that produced few low scores and an abundance of drama.

McSpadden and Miller both fired a two-day total of 5-over 147 to put themselves in the playoffs. Bentonville and Little Rock Catholic were both at 616 after two regulation rounds.

"This course is very unforgiving," said McSpadden, who finished Wednesday's round with a 3-over 74. "You can hit one bad shot, and it can completely take you out of your game. There's some luck involved, that's for sure. But staying focused is the key."

McSpadden, Miller and Fayetteville senior Sam Tandy (8-over 150) qualified for next week's Overall tournament at Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock.

McSpadden started and finished his day with birdies -- the only two of a six-hour afternoon. And both of the birdies came on the 550-yard, par-5 No. 1. McSpadden tapped in for birdie on No. 1 -- the second-longest hole on the course -- on the first playoff hole.

"I basically did the exact same thing that I did when I started this morning," McSpadden said.

After a perfect shot off the tee in the playoff, McSpadden used a 2-iron to get within 40 feet of the pin.

"I wasn't trying to make it," McSpadden said of his third shot on the par 5. "I just wanted to get it close so I could finish it off."

Miller's tee shot spoiled any chance he had of matching McSpadden's birdie.

"It was not a good lie at all," said Miller, whose 2-over 73 matched Catholic's Nathan Johnson for Wednesday's best round. "I just had to hit it on the fairway as far as I could. I couldn't go for the green."

Miller missed a long putt for birdie and had to settle for the par and a runner-up medal.

Bentonville had to go two extra holes to defeat Catholic for the team title. Juniors Phisher Phillips and Michael Senn both parred the 571-yard, par-5 No. 9 to allow the Tigers to escape with the title.

Catholic made up 10 strokes on Wednesday to force the team playoff.

"The greens are unbelievably tough," Bentonville Coach Kent Early said. "It was an endurance test both days. The kids obviously didn't have their best games today, but we couldn't have asked for a better result."

Johnson helped turn Catholic's fortunes around. After shooting an 84 in Tuesday's first round and turning in a 5-over 41 on the front nine of Wednesday's play, Johnson completed the back nine with a 3-under 32, including three consecutive birdies on Nos. 12, 13 and 14.

Playing extra holes also expanded into the fight for the third Overall playoff spot. Tandy outlasted Senn for that honor, making a birdie on the second playoff hole, which also turned out to be at No. 1.

Photo by Thomas Metthe
Cabot’s Caleb Miller chips onto the green on the third hole Wednesday during the second round of the Class 6A boys state golf tournament at The Greens at North Hills in Sherwood. Miller shot a 73 to finish tied with Fayetteville’s Palmer McSpadden with a 147 total, but Miller lost in a one-hole playoff for medalist honors.
Photo by Thomas Metthe
Fayetteville’s Palmer McSpadden (above) won a one-hole playoff over Cabot’s Caleb Miller to win the Class 6A boys golf individual state championship Wednesday at The Greens at North Hills in Sherwood. Bentonville won a two-hole playoff over Little Rock Catholic to win the team title.

Sports on 10/10/2019

Print Headline: Champs pushed beyond 18 holes

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