Childhood friends Jackson Cole, Denver Davis lead U.S. Open qualifying at Hot Springs Country Club

Jackson Cole
University of Arkansas golfer Denver Davis, left, tied Henderson State’s Jackson Cole in Tuesday’s U.S. Open qualifying at Hot Springs Country Club.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Childhood friends Jackson Cole and Denver Davis are bound for the Dallas Cowboys Golf Club and Sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. The 2021 U.S. Open will be at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Ca.

Cole and Davis met when they were 12 years old, and finished high school together at Fayetteville. That’s when their path as golf rivals split, whith Davis staying home to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks. Cole moved south to Arkadelphia, where he is a member of the Henderson State golf team.

The two Fayetteville natives conquered difficult conditions with 4-under-par 68s Tuesday at Hot Springs Country Club to lead a field of 76 players from all over the Southwest.

Also qualifying for the next round was Robert Hudson, who also grew up in Fayetteville, but now resides in Dallas. Cabot’s Connor Gaunt and Shawn Tsai of Tampa, Fla., tied for fourth place. Two Texarkana golfers made the top 10, with 15-year-old Thomas Curry tied for sixth at 71, and Baylor graduate Garrett May tied for eighth with a 72.

Jackson Cole
Fayetteville native Robert Hudson was third in Tuesday’s qualifying.

Jackson Cole shows up Reddie teammates

One might say Tuesday’s results were bitter-sweet for Jackson Cole and Denver Davis. Henderson State recently finished second to Arkansas Tech in the Great American Conference Golf Tournament, but Cole didn’t get to play, and won’t be going to Kansas City for the NCAA Division II regionals. Davis didn’t get to play when the Hogs lost to Vanderbilt in the SEC Championship match.

“It’s unfortunate I didn’t get to play in the conference tournament, which was held here in Hot Springs,” said Cole. “This could make up for it, and maybe they’ll have alternates if the Reddies go to Nationals. My only disappointment today was that I didn’t clip Denver by one shot.”

Jackson Cole

Playing conditions at HSCC were difficult

Heavy rains left HSCC wet and muddy in spots. Then the wind picked up considerably Tuesday afternoon to make conditions even tougher. Both Cole and Davis had five birdies and one bogey in their rounds.

“It’s really neat that we tied,” said Davis. “We’re good friends and go on a lot of trips together. Today, I just hit the ball alright. I had a lot of putts going in. Conditions made the course play a lot longer than usual, and I’m not very long at all. I hit the ball lower than most of the guys, which might have been a plus for me.”

Jackson Cole
Texas High sophomore Thomas Curry tied for sixth place in the U.S. Open qualifying with a 1-under-par 71.

Curry has momentum going to state

Texarkana’s Curry considers his 1-under-par performance to be a momentum builder going into the Texas 5A State Golf Tournament in two weeks. He won medalist honors at region with a pair of 71s.

“I hit the ball really solid today,” said Curry. “It was nice to go out there and hit lots of greens, I just didn’t make many putts. It feels good going to state. I like our chances at state, everybody’s game is going in the right direction.”

Curry’s high school teammate, Carter Maneth, tied for 33rd at 75. Jack Wilson shot 77. Texarkana’s Ben Davis tied for 14th place with a 73, and Zayne Madden of Ashdown, Ark., shot 76.

Hot Springs had several golfers in the field. Leonardo DiMarino tied for 14th with a 73. Wil Griffin shot 74, Carson Garner 75, Cooper Gordon 76, and Brett Taunton 76. Arkadelphia’s Nathan Cossement also shot 76, while Ryan Camras of Bismarck posted a 79.