Northwest signee runs down West to defend title

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

BELDEN – Noah West played one group behind Chad Cupples during Thursday’s final round of the Mississippi Junior Golf Association’s 25th annual Pros of Tomorrow tournament.
“I saw (Cupples) hit a bunch of shots really close,” said Tupelo’s West, the tournament’s first-round leader. “He’s a good player.”
Cupples, a Northwest Mississippi Community College signee from Southaven, hit enough close shots on the Tupelo Country Club course to defeat West and win the event’s age 16-18 division championship for the second straight year.
Cupples fired a 3-under-par 69 for a two-day winning total of 1-under 143.
“It’s nice to win this tournament again,” said the former DeSoto Central High School standout. “I love coming here. It’s a great course. It’s a good tournament with a good field.”
One of Cupples’ top shots was his 182-yard drive on the par 3, No. 17 hole. The ball landed just inches from the cup. While he recorded five birdies, a par on No. 15 may have been the clincher. He hit his tee shot into the water, but recovered to sink a 12-foot putt for par.
“That was big … kept my momentum,” he said.
West, who recorded a 3-under 69 in Wednesday’s opening round, struggled off the tee and on the green. He finished with a 76 for a two-day score of 1-over 145.
“I didn’t hit the ball as well today,” said West, a senior at Tupelo High who will play next week in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship in Bremerton, Wash. “I didn’t putt as well. It happens.”
Tupelo’s Buckley repeats
In the age 14-15 division, Tupelo’s Hayden Buckley shot 5-over-par, but managed to win the championship by one stroke against Madison’s Nicholas Cobb. Buckley, the division’s defending champion had a two-day total of 72-77 – 149.
Jackson’s Charlie Miller won the 12-13 championship with a two-day total of 80-74 – 154 while Little Rock’s Andy Ogletree was second with a 78-77 – 155.
Madison’s Simms Abney won the 11-under title with nine-hole rounds of 41-40 – 81.
In the girls open division, Madison’s Conner Beth Ball shot an 85-76 – 161 to beat Clinton’s Hope Biggs, who had an 85-79 – 164.
Players who are members of the North Mississippi Coca-Cola Junior Tour earned double points for their finishes in this tournament.
Southaven’s Braden Thornberry recorded his second career hole-in-one on the par 3, 150-yard No. 8 hole. He used an 8-iron.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com