GLENWOOD – Benton senior golfer Ethan Bearden earned All-State honors as the Panthers would finish fifth overall in the 5A State Tournament Monday at Glenwood Country Club in Glenwood. 

Bearden shot a 3-over 75, good for fifth overall, to get All-State and capped off his high-school career in grand fashion. 

“I was very proud of him, happy for him,” Benton Coach Mark Balisterri said. “He finished his last hole in high school golf with a birdie. He did like he did all year. He had the opportunity to shoot 71, 72 and ended up hanging in there shooting a 75.” 

And the course conditions weren’t prime after a cold front moved in over the weekend. 

“The conditions were really, really tough,” Balisterri said. “It rained an inch and the wind was blowing about 30 miles an hour. Ethan is a good enough golfer where he could manage his game in those type of conditions.”


Benton senior golfer Ethan Bearden takes a shot in a match earlier this season. Bearden earned All-State honors at the 5A State Tournament at Glenwood Country Club this past Monday. 

But, as a team the Panthers struggled. After shooting a 321 during the 5A South Conference Tournament for second place at Glenwood, Benton would shoot a 347 on Monday for their fifth-place finish, just one shot behind Greenwood’s 346. 

Jonesboro ended up winning state with a 320, followed by Lakeside’s 333 and Little Rock Christian’s 336 for third. 

“It was kind of disappointing,” Balisterri said. “We shot a 321 in conference, and with a Lakeside player getting disqualified, a 320 ended up winning the thing. We felt like we were good enough to shoot a 320, everybody just couldn’t put it together.” 

Lakeside would have won, but a Ram signed his scorecard as a 74, when he actually shot a 75. It would have given Lakeside the title with a 308, but it wasn’t meant to be.  

“Jonesboro didn’t play very well and backed into a state championship,” Balisterri said. “That’s just part of it.”

Benton senior Corbin Beard had a tough day on Monday. After shooting a 77 at the conference tourney, Beard came in with an 89 Monday, 10 strokes higher than his season average. 

“Corbin probably had the worst round he’s shot in two years,” Balisterri said. “Corbin played good all year long and I don’t want him to look at his round Monday to define what his career has been. He’s had a good career, played really well and has come a long way since his ninth-grade year.”

Senior Max Bell shot a 90 and senior Grant Berry a 93 to round out Benton’s scoring, while junior Anderson Dingus had a 98.  

“I was disappointed we didn’t play our best in the state tournament, but overall this team came a long way,” Balisterri said. “Seeing these golfers, four seniors, where they started to where they are now is pretty dang good. I’m proud of them.” 

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