Jim Rivers Senior Cotton States Inv: Nelson, Siemons winners

CHOUDRANT, La. (May 20, 2011) -- Don’t ever discount some final round magic at the Jim Rivers Senior Invitational Golf Tournament staged annually at Squire Creek Country Club.

Holding 7-stroke leads going into Friday’s final round, Bev Hargraves (senior division) and Henry Cole (super seniors) appeared headed for decisive victories.

Instead, Corky Nelson of Dallas, Tex., and Gerald Siemons of Jefferson City, Mo., both shot 1-under-par 71 to capture championships in their respective divisions.

Nelson’s stunning victory came from a combination of his own excellent performance and the reoccurrence of a shoulder problem suffered by Hargraves, who was last year’s winner.

“I had no problems with the shoulder either of the first two days and got off to a good start today,” said Hargraves. “But on my second shot on No. 6 my right foot slipped and I felt a sharp pain. It was tough from then on.”

The Helena, Ark., resident added, “This is easily one of the biggest disappointments I’ve had in tournament competition. Still, that’s golf and sometimes you have to take your medicine and hope there will be another day down the road.”

After rounds of 70-73, Hargraves struggled home with an 83 (for 226) to lose by four shots to Nelson, who posted 79-72-71--222.

In fact, Nelson’s primary competition eventually turned out to be 2007 Rivers champ Ron Carter of Monticello, Ind., who shot even-par 72 Saturday for a 224 tourney score.

Nelson, 66, said, “The key for me was putting. I made a lot of putts the last two rounds and that made the difference.” Nelson, a former college player at Cal Poly, had birdies on numbers one, five and 11.

He added, “This is easily one of the best sites we play on our senior tour, and I play in about 20 of these events. The course, the club, the community and the hospitality are outstanding.”

Carter, 60, said, “We both played pretty steady all day. Actually, neither of us thought we had a chance early on. We didn’t know about Bev’s injury and he had played beautifully the first two days.”

Siemons’ victory over Cole epitomizes the way he plays here every year. Shooting 69-71 the last two days after a first-round 81, the Missouri golfer turned steady iron play and brilliant putting into victory.

“I’ve played all four years here at Squire and these were my best back-to-back rounds yet. I just felt very comfortable on the greens the last two days and the putts kept falling,” said the 65-year-old, who also won titles in the senior category at the Rivers in 2001, 2006 and 2008.

Cole, 65, shot 79 Friday and said, “I got off to a bad start (4-putted No. 1) and just never got comfortable out there today, but I still enjoyed the entire event tremendously. Gerald is a great competitor and he just kept making shots and making putts."

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