By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Scotty Lawrence won the North Mississippi Coca-Cola Junior Tour championship Tuesday on his final attempt.
The Vernon, Ala., golfer captured the boys 16-18 championship with a two-day, 36-hole total score of 9-over-par 151 at the Mississippi State University Golf Club.
Lawrence, who will be a senior in high school this fall, shot a 4-over 75 in the final round to win by 11 strokes. It was his first Tour championship in four summer seasons.
“It feels good to finally win the major tournament,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed playing the Tour. It’s a good atmosphere to play in.”
Calhoun City’s Brandon Walker won the boys 14-15 championship with a two-day 151 while Bruce’s Cameron Clarke captured the boys 12-13 championship with a 155.
All three players – Lawrence, Walker and Clarker – were first-round leaders. Tupelo golfers Margaret Hill and Kathleen Reynolds won the 10-12 and 13-18 age girls division titles.
The Coca-Cola Junior Tour, based in Tupelo, is for boys and girls players, ages 6-18. This was the first season for the Powerade division for players ages 6-9.
Lawrence had the longest drive of the day, ripping his tee shot on No. 6 350 yards to the green.
The outcome of his big shot, however, wasn’t as wonderful. “I three-putted and bogeyed the hole,” he said, then smiled. “I was just trying to keep it in the fairway and I hit it well.”
Houston’s Chance Crawford witnessed Lawrence’s blast.
“It didn’t rise; it leveled out right away,” said Crawford, who placed third overall. “Every time he hits it, it looks like he got all of it.”
Lawrence credited his short game and putting for his victory. “My putting saved me,” he said.
Walker’s 73 on Tuesday was the day’s best round. Tupelo’s Hayden Solomon, who placed third in the 14-15 division, had a 74.
“I knew the course better today,” Walker said.
Clarke’s round of 78 featured a pair of long birdie putts on No. 10 (30 feet) and No. 14 (20 feet).
“I just wanted to shoot a good score today,” he said.