Leader Blues

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

SPORTS >> Area golfers advance to round of 16

Leader sportswriter

Colby Benton took another step toward not only winning his third consecutive tournament but becoming the third straight Benton to win the ASGA Junior Match Play Tournament.

Benton, the sophomore-to-be at Cabot, narrowly escaped with a 2-and-1 win over Nate Smith on Tuesday morning at Foxwood Country Club. He played Gardner Lile in the round of 16 on Tuesday afternoon after Leader deadlines.

Bentonís brother, Nicklaus, won the event the past two years.

Two other area golfers moved into the round of 16. Former Sylvan Hills golfer Nick Zimmerman bested Bradley Griggs 7 and 5 in Mondayís opening round, and advanced Tuesday morning with a 2 and 1 decision over Todd McDonald.

Cabotís Hunter Smith beat Bentonís Garrett Lile 7 and 5 on Monday to advance to the round of 32 where he downed Slade Hames of Rogers 1 up in 19 holes.

That pitted Cabotís Smith and Zimmerman against each other in a battle between friends in the round of 16 on Tuesday afternoon.

Benton won the Bruce Jenkins Memorial at Rebsamen Park and the Junior Stroke Play tournament at Burns Park last week.

Smith holds a narrow 20-point lead over Benton in the battle for junior player of the year. Nicklaus Benton won that honor in 2007, the same year his father Jeff Benton won menís player of the year. Nicklaus currently leads in this yearís menís player of the year standings.

Benton won Monday 7 and 6 over Lane Dailey in the opening round of 64.

The tournament concludes on Thursday with the championship match.

See Saturdayís Leader for coverage of the final two days of the event.