BY DAVID MCCOLLUM
LOG CABIN STAFF WRITER
JACKSONVILLE -- Conway's Ethan King almost made his way all the way through an slightly open door Thursday before Nick Zimmerman finally slammed it shut on the 17th hole.
North Little Rock's Zimmerman, 4-up on the 11th hole when he missed a short par putt, hit a 15-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole to take home the Fred Gordy Trophy as champion of the Arkansas State Golf Assocation's Junior Match Play tournament at Foxwood Country Club. He took a 2-and-1 victory over King, a senior-to-be at Conway High.
Zimmerman missed a 4-foot downhill putt on No. 11 for birdie, then missed from 4 feet coming back. King rallied over the next five holes to pull within one.
"I knew if he went 5-up, it was over," King said. "But I was able to stay together and come back. If I lost, I wanted it to be because he was playing good and not because I was playing bad."
"I knew he (King) was closing the gap bigtime," Zimmerman said. "The only thought I had was I was still up with two holes to go (going into No. 17) and I still thought it was my tourney to win."
After a slow start, King credited his caddy and sometimes fellow competitor, Winston Sizemore of Pine Bluff, with helping pull things together.
"He kept me from getting down on myself," King said. "He kept talking but not talking about golf. He helped calm me down and keep steady."
Last summer, Zimmerman won the ASGA Junior Stroke. Jay Fox, ASGA executive director, referred to him coming back to win the match play this summer as the "Zimmerman Slam."
Zimmerman will turn 18 in the next couple of weeks and will be ineligible for any further ASGA tournaments on the junior level.
"This is it for me," he said. "It's a good way to go out."
"Last year I lost my first match in this tournament," King said. "To come back and finish like this is a big accomplshment for me."