TUPELO – Scotty Lawrence felt like a perennial third-place finisher on the North Mississippi Coca-Cola Junior Golf Tour until Monday.
“I was third in the points last year in my age division and finished third in the Tour championship,” said the sophomore from Lamar (Ala.) County High School. “I had a third-place finish in one tournament and a couple of second places.”
In this season’s third Tour stop, at Big Oaks Golf Club, Lawrence overcame a poor day off the tee to win the boys 16-18 championship by two strokes.
He recorded a 3-over-par 75 to defeat Pontotoc’s Clif Hanna, who fired a 77.
“I struggled, but the course played well,” said Lawrence, who finished second last week in Starkville. “I could make putts, but I struggled with my drives all day.
“I’d play for a hook and it would fade; I play for a fade and it would hook. I was all over the place.”
Lawrence recorded two birdies in his round. One was a 12-footer on No. 3, his 12th hole (he started on the front 9), while the other was a tap-in on No. 9.
He also missed eagle putts on No. 4 and No. 8.
“I couldn’t get anything going on the front, but I played a lot better on my back,” he said.
In the age 9-11 division, Tupelo’s Miles Roy recorded a 43 on nine holes for the win.
In the age 12-13 division, Tupelo’s Parker Brooks won in a scorecard playoff against Amory’s Will Thompson. Both recorded 80s.
In the age 14-15 division, Baldwyn’s Tucker Jenkins won with a 76.
In the girls divisions, New Albany’s Summer Sanderson (age 13-18) and Lucy Martin (age 10-12) were winners.
Tour director Thomas Groome said the largest turnout for an event this season – 82 players – competed Monday at Big Oaks.
“We have 110 players signed up to play the Tour,” he said. “We keep adding players every week. We had a good turnout for our first tournament at the Natchez Trace.”
Next week’s fourth Tour stop is scheduled to be played Monday at Hillendale Country Club in Corinth.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal