By D.E. Wheeler

Daily Journal

JACKSON Brodie Mask looks more like a lineman on the Cougars football team than a golfer who was representing South Pontotoc at the Class 2A State Golf Tournament.

One of the favorites to challenge for the 2A medalist title, Mask shot a pair of 76s Wednesday and Thursday at Shady Oaks Country Club to place third in 2A for the second straight year.

“I had been hitting the ball well going into this tournament,” said Mask, who won his division tournament the week before with a 1-over-par 73 at Pontotoc Country Club. “I only hit two greens yesterday (Wednesday), but got up and down good.

“Today (Thursday) I had a good back nine. I wasn’t pleased overall with the way I hit the ball, but I was pleased with the way I scored.”

It would have been very easy for Mask not to be in Jackson this week, not be swinging a golf club, and not be pleased with how he scored. On March 11, Mask’s father died of a heart attack.

“It was hard at first this season, but I played well later,” Mask said. “I knew he was with me on the course each time, and I knew he wanted me to go on with my golf game.”

Though Mask did not win the 1996 medalist honors in the 2A tournament, he still has one year left because he is only a junior.

“I wanted to win this year, but I knew I also had next year.”

Check the scorecard: After the first day of play Wednesday in the Class 2A tournament, Greenville St. Joe had officially posted a total of 330, 10 strokes back of Ackerman. If not for a scorecard error, St. Joe would have been only one stroke out of first.

A St. Joe player signed a scorecard that gave him a score of 40 on the ninth hole of Shady Oaks West Course. The St. Joe player actually had a 4 on the ninth hole, a 40 on the front nine, and an 83 as an 18-hole total.

But the St. Joe player signed the card, making the 40 official. That made his score for Wednesday a 153, and cost his team nine strokes.

Cockerham only needed a sand save: Coming into his last hole Tuesday in the Class 1A tournament, Hamilton’s Tracey Cockerham needed only a par-4 to clinch his third straight medalist title. But the Hamilton senior hit his second shot into the face of a greenside bunker.

Cockerham then needed three strokes to get out of the bunker, taking an 8 on the hole. That put him three strokes out of the medalist position.

Cockerham did come back to finish third after a three-way playoff.

Anthony Ling to the tee: At the state tournament, each player is called to the first tee each day over a loudspeaker. Wednesday and Thursday, this week, Anthony Ling was called to tee off for Tupelo.

Now in four years of high school golf, Anthony Ling helped Tupelo win four straight championships. But that was between 1974-77.

The player really being called to the tee this week at Shady Oaks was junior Jason Ling, Anthony’s son. Jason’s full name is Jason Anthony Ling, and the Mississippi High School Athletic Association used the middle name instead of the first name.

Winter still felt in May: The harsh winter of 1996 was still showing its effects in Central Mississippi at the State Tournament.

At Shady Oaks this week, the 17th hole on the West Course, normally a par-5, was playing as a par-4 at 380 yards. Shady Oaks was using a temporary green that shortened the hole by 100 yards.

But as most Northeast Mississippi coaches and golf course personnel would say about that situation, that’s par for the course this spring.

Best quote: Perhaps the line of the four days of the tournament was uttered towards the end of the last day, Thursday. Tupelo sophomore Keith Rutledge, on seeing that his team had lost by only six strokes, said, “Now I really want to break something.”

Earlier in the day, Rutledge, on the way to an 84 on Thursday, had said, “I’m trying real hard not to break anything.”

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