Sweet home Georgia: Jack Larkin Sr. wins the Jones Cup Senior
Jack Larkin Sr. (Kevin Price Photo)
Jack Larkin Sr. (Kevin Price Photo)

Jack Larkin Sr. admitted he doesn’t play as many tournaments as most players in the field this week at the Jones Cup Senior Invitational.

But perhaps he should play more often.

Based on his most recent play and his past accomplishments, the Atlanta golfer plays well when he does tee it up in competition. On Thursday, he walked away with the Jones Cup Senior crown as he topped the field from start to finish, winning the three-day tournament on Sea Island Golf Club’s Seaside Course with a 1-under score that was good for a one-shot victory.

After shooting back-to-back 1-under 69 scores on the par-70 layout along the Georgia coast in the first two rounds, Larkin shot 1-over 71 over the final 18 to hold off a charge by Miles McConnell in the closing round. McConnell is currently ranked No. 5 in the Senior Rankings.

Jack Larkin Sr.

McConnell, from Tampa, Fla., carded a 67 on Thursday, which tied for the low round of the week, and the closing push catapulted him into a solo second-place finish at even-par for the tournament.

The Jones Cup was the first tournament in 2024 for Larkin, who hadn’t played in a tournament of this type since winning his second Georgia Senior Amateur championship in three years back in late September.

“For whatever reason, I didn’t play in anything else until now,” Larkin said. “I practiced a little bit and prayed a little bit during the winter, but not a ton with the rain and the cold. So, I came down here thinking, who knows? “It turned out pretty good. I just kind of kept in the present and did all the stuff everybody always says. But, it was good, it was fun. My biggest objective was to have fun. If you hit some good ones, great, and I hit a lot of good ones.

Larkin, who is 62 years old, shot 9-under over the three rounds at the state senior am in the fall and was one of only two players in the stacked field to shoot under par each round of the event, which again showcased the talent in Georgia’s senior division which is loaded with nationally-ranked players.

His 5-under 67 in the second round was Larkin’s lowest score that week, as he posted five birdies without a bogey over that 18 holes. At Sea Island this week, Larkin made very few bogeys over the three rounds.

He made one in the opening round, one in the second, and two in the final round for four over the 54 holes of the championship. He offset those with five birdies - two in each of his first two rounds and one early in the round on Thursday.

“I made a ton of pars. I felt like I was 7-, 8- or 9-under,” he said. “I felt like I really did so much better, but the score didn’t reflect how well I thought I did. I think everybody was in that boat.” Larkin said the prevailing wind which blew in the same direction in the first and third rounds but was totally opposite in the middle round, challenged the players and made for very few sub-par rounds each day.

“In my group today, between three guys playing 18 holes, we made one birdie,” he noted. “I birdied the second hole, and that was the only birdie any of us made all day. We were having a hard time getting them in.”

Larkin tied for sixth last year in the Jones Cup Senior as he shot a 3-over total over the three rounds. His top-10 finish in this event, which typically produces one of the strongest fields in senior amateur golf, was part of a solid year for Larkin, who also finished in solo second place at the Lupton Senior and Chanticleer National Senior last year. He also made the match play portion of the U.S. Senior Amateur. This win moves Larkin up to No. 14 in the Senior Rankings.

He said the Chanticleer, coming up later this month in Greenville, S.C., will be his next tournament. This year at the Jones Cup, Larkin was one of six players tied for the lead after the first round as the leaders shot 69 on the opening day. Larkin became the lone leader after round two with his second straight 69 score, which gave him a one-shot cushion going into the closing 18 holes.

Chris Hall, of Acworth, Ga., was second at 1-under, while Jack Hall, a former Jones Cup Senior winner, was two-back at level par.

Jack Larkin Sr.

Jack Hall, currently ranked No. 6 in the Senior Rankings, ended up third at 2-over following his final-round 72. He also tied for sixth last year. Chris Hall, another two-time Georgia Senior Amateur champion, settled for a 76 on Thursday and wound up tied for eighth at 5-over. Larkin said his short game was the key to his victory on the Seaside Course, which features tight run-off areas around the undulating greens.

“My pitching and chipping completely saved me,” he noted. “I missed a bunch of greens, and a bunch were not in the best places to miss them. I really had great touch around the greens and was able to see the shot and let it roll out. I made a bunch of 4-, 5- and 6-footers for par this week.”

Larkin had one last pitch-shot to make on No. 18 hole where he boomed a drive down the fairway but it came to rest on a down-slope which left him a tough approach into the uphill green. He hit a low line-drive shot which landed just over the edge of a fairway bunker and rolled toward the green before coming to rest in light rough off the right side of the green.

He pitched his third shot just past the hole, but left himself with a rather routine two-putt for the bogey he needed to seal the win.

“That was the worst pitch I think I had,” Larkin noted. “It worked out fine, but wasn’t really what I was looking for.”

Larkin held just a one-shot lead late in the round, but he went to No. 18 with a two-stroke advantage over McConnell who finished with a bogey at the last while playing two groups ahead of the Larkin who was in the final pairing.

McConnell, ranked fifth after his runner-up finish, made a bid for the win in the final round after starting the day five shots out of the lead. He made five birdies and a bogey over his first nine holes in the last round, but couldn’t keep the momentum going as he made one birdie on his inward nine before the bogey at the last.

The tournament featured nine of the top-10 players in the senior rankings. Last year’s champion Bob Royak finished T5 this year at 4-over.


Also Here This Week: The Jones Cup Senior wasn’t the only tournament taking place this week on St. Simons Island where the Sea Island Golf Club is located. 

A college tournament hosted by Western Carolina is also being played this week at the Sea Palms Resort on the northern end of the barrier island. 

One of the team’s competing in the tournament which opened Thursday is Wofford, a team that includes Matthew Larkin, son of this year’s Jones Cup winner Jack Larkin. 

Jack Larkin said after winning on Thursday that he planned to hang around and watch his son play before heading back home. Larkin’s wife also made the trip here and will watch Matthew play as well. 

Jack Larkin played collegiate golf for the University of Georgia as did another son, Jack Larkin Jr.

Larkin played the final round Thursday wearing a red hat with a black Georgia G on the front. 

More on the Winner: Jack Larkin has played in numerous United States Golf Association events over the course of his career. 

He won the U.S. Junior back in 1979 at Moss Creek Golf Club in Hilton Head, S.C..

Larkin has played in several U.S. Amateurs and reached the quarterfinals of the 1988 tournament before losing to Danny Yates, another Atlanta resident and former University of Georgia golfer. 

Yates also was the 2001 U.S. Walker Cup captain when the event was played at the Ocean Forest Golf Club on Sea Island which annually host the Jones Cup Invitational for top amateurs. 

Larkin made the final 64 at the U.S. Senior Amateur last year. 

Noteworthy: With Larkin winning this year’s tournament, he became only the second player not named Bob Royak or Doug Hanzel to win this event in the last six years. 

The other was 2022 champion Matthew Sughrue

Royak has won the event twice since its inception in 2012 with victories in 2020 and 2023. The Alpharetta, Ga., golfer is currently No. 2 in the Senior Rankings

Hanzel, currently ranked No. 3, has won the Jones Cup four times, the most by any player. A resident of nearby Savannah, about an hour north of Sea Island, Hanzel’s wins came in the inaugural tourney in 2012, 2014 and also 2019 and 2021.

Results: Jones Cup Senior
1GAJack Larkin, Sr.Atlanta, GA120069-69-71=209
2FLMiles McConnellTampa, FL90075-68-67=210
3GAJack HallSavannah, GA70072-68-72=212
4IAJoe PalmerW. Des Moines, IA70071-70-72=213
T5LAStan HumphriesMonroe, LA70069-76-69=214

View full results for Jones Cup Senior

ABOUT THE Jones Cup Senior

54-hole senior invitational event inaugurated in 2012, that follows in the footsteps of the Jones Cup, an event that unofficially kicks off the amateur circuit each year.

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