Holt in prime position at national tournament

Northeast Mississippi Community College golfer Austin Holt of New Albany is making the most of his final debut in the black and gold.
Holt fired a four-over, 76 during the first day of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II National Golf Championships at Goosepond Colony Golf Course in Scottsboro, Ala., on Tuesday, May 17.
Holt’s 76 left the Tiger sophomore in a tie for 36th overall and just six strokes off the lead at the national event.
Holt carded an even par on the front nine collecting a 36 and was just one of 16 linksters to accomplish par or better on the front nine before the Northeast sophomore ended with a 76 after a 40 on the back section.
After first day action at the national championships, Mesa Community College holds a six-stroke lead on Coastal Georgia College and Black Hawk Community Collegeafter firing a two-over, 290 on the opening day.
First round leader Grant Dean (70) who was one of three golfers to shoot under-par during the first day and led Mesa Community College to the first-round lead.
Holt was the second lowest Mississippi golfer on the opening day at the tournament as Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College’s Drew Seals edged out Holt by a stroke for the state lead.
Holt qualified for the NJCAA Division II National Golf Championships after a hotpair of rounds at the NJCAA Region XXIII Golf Tournament at Riverbirch GolfClub in Amory.
Holt, who was Northeast’s only entrant into the region event, overcame a blustery second day to fire a one-under par, 71 for a two-day 149 to finish tied for secondoverall with Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Bennett Ruschewski and Keaton Stamps, who finished with second day 76s.
Along with Region XXIII champ Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, the top five golfers that are not associated with the region champion qualified to compete in the national event.
Holt had been one of Northeast’s most consistent golfers all season compiling an 80.25 scoring average for the Tigers. Holt’s 80.25 average ties the Northeast sophomore with Rob Waddell of Kalamazoo Valley Community College in Michigan in the nation.
Holt also kept Northeast’s streak alive of appearing in the national tournament.
In 2010, a pair of Tiger linksters – Blake Hatfield (Booneville) and Brandon Robbins (Corinth) – qualified for the national event while Hatfield made a solo appearance in Northeast’s first year back in Division II competition in 2009.
During the 2007 and 2008 season, Northeast went undefeated through the Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) Division III ranks and captured the Region XXIII crown and appeared in the NJCAA Division III National Golf Championship in Jamestown, NY.