MONROE, AL . (July 30, 2011) -
Friday afternoon's W.E. Cole Cotton States
Amateur Invitational quarterfinals finished with
almost 20 golf carts of
spectators following the action, raising the
stakes as the day closed with one of the
week's best matches.
The increased attention began as local
Bob Cooper, the 1999 champion, tried in vain
to fend off Louisiana-Lafayette golfer Andrew
Noto and carried through Riley Pumphrey's 19-
hole survival of Martin Kim.
Oklahoma's Pumphrey will open this
morning's semifinal play against Ole Miss's Billy
Brozovich at 8:30 a.m. Noto will tee off with
Stephen F. Austin's Mitchell McLeroy 15
"It's fun," Cooper said. "I
got a lot of great local support, and I kind of
thrive on that, so it was good, good to see the
The club members following behind Cooper
and Noto were hard to ignore, but the young
New Orleans native managed to keep his cool
even when the local favorite took holes No. 9
and 10 to draw back even.
"I felt like I was in control early
after I went two up even though he got it
back square after 10," Noto said. "I
felt like I kind of gained control of the match
on No. 11 and just tried to stay positive the
whole time, even though it was a very pro-
Noto's father gave Cooper, his college
teammate at then-Northeast Louisiana
University, some prematch advice to play
conservative, but the attempted aid proved
Cooper ran into trouble on the 11th green,
and Noto capitalized and rode the momentum
to a four-hole victory after No. 16.
"He knocked it two feet on No. 11,
and I knocked it about six feet, and it did
everything but go in," Cooper said.
"It went in and came right out. And that
was kind of a heartbreaker ... I zapped a little
momentum away on No. 10, then he got it on
No. 11, and I never could get it back after
The golf cart caravan, with the addition of
Cooper, shadowed Kim and Pumphrey from
The pair, which had played together
during Tuesday's and Wednesday's qualifying
rounds, fought back and forth throughout the
afternoon before Pumphrey charged back from
three back headed to the 14th tee.
"When I got to the par-5 (No. 14)
and I made eagle, it gave me a lot of
momentum because I'd just lost the hole
before that," Pumphrey said. "I had
been two up at one point on the front nine,
and when we finished the front nine, I was
down two. It gave me some more adrenaline I
needed to finish the round off."
Kim, an Argentina native, seemed poised
for victory when Pumphrey, with the match
even, struck his second shot into a bunker shy
and to the right of the 18th green.
But Pumphrey lifted the ball nicely into
position for a long putt to save par and the
"At least it was a good tournament,
I guess," Kim said. "He's a good
player. He can make any putt, so there's a
chance he could do it." Kim sent his tee
shot on the playoff hole a good distance, but
off to the right, and his second shot bouncing
past the green back into the rough and leaving
him noticeably frustrated.
He gave himself a chance with his third
shot, but the ensuing putt just missed, and he
conceded victory to the lower-seeded
"It was draining," Pumphrey
said of the afternoon.
Defending champion Ken Looper of LSU ran
into Northern Illinois' Jeff Dick in the morning
Dick, fresh off a seven-hole victory
Thursday, proved too hot for Looper, sending
one of the few remaining Louisianans packing
after hole No. 15.
"I still should have at least gotten
the match back to even at one point, but my
putter was cold and his was hot," Looper
said. "But overall I didn't play that well,
and he did."
Dick cooled off after lunch, though, and
Brozovich won by five holes with four to play
McLeroy meanwhile edged out Arkansas'
Will Pearson by two holes with one remaining.
"That's my hardest match I've ever
gone through," McLeroy said. "He
was actually three up through eight, and I won
No. 9 and No. 10 ... It was huge. My putting
was not good. It wasn't as sharp as it's been,
and making that putt (on No. 9) before him, I
think really put my swag back in me, and I
didn't miss a putt after that."