By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
HATTIESBURG – Tupelo senior Wilson Reeder didn’t have a great Wednesday on the golf course, but his team did.
Sophomores Hayden Buckley and Austin Rose posted the lowest team scores to lead the Golden Wave to its fifth consecutive state championship with a 35-stroke victory in the MHSAA Class 6A state golf tournament at Canebreak Golf Club.
“It was evident today that Wilson didn’t have a strong day,” THS coach Mark Enis said. “He’s a team player. He wanted to win a team state championship.”
Reeder led the Golden Wave with a 1-under 70 in Tuesday’s first round. On Wednesday, he bogeyed the first two holes, then triple bogeyed his third hole to go 5-over-par.
“It was a grind for me all day,” Reeder said. “I wasn’t hitting well and I wasn’t putting well.
“Thank goodness, our youngsters played well.”
Buckley recorded a two-day total of 71-70-141, 1-under-par, to lead Tupelo. Rose recorded a 73-70-143. Both started on last year’s state championship team as freshmen.
“I hit 15 greens and I made putts today,” said Buckley, who hit a fairway bunker shot into No. 8 and sank a 20-foot putt for birdie.
“I started making putts on the back and went to 3-under,” Rose said. “Then I double-bogeyed 18.”
Noah West, a senior and the defending state medalist, finished with a 73-73-145 while teammate Blake Harris, a freshman, shot a 75-71-146.
“I hit the ball well, I just couldn’t score,” said West, an Ole Miss signee. “It was awesome to win the team championship. That shows the dedication we have. You have to want to practice.”
Tupelo, which led by eight strokes after the first round, finished with a team score of 2-over-par 570. Madison Central (605), Northwest Rankin (609) and Oak Grove (611) all lost ground on the second day.
Oak Grove’s Grant Motter owned the Canebreak course, winning medalist honors with an 8-under-par 66-68-134.
Tupelo came into the tournament unbeaten in Mississippi play. The Golden Wave finished second out of 27 teams in March in the Beau Chene (La.) Classic and was fourth in the 54-team Palmetto (S.C.) High School Golf Championship.
“I’m proud of these kids, they’ve worked hard at it,” Enis said. “This never gets old, I promise.”
The state championship was the program’s 12th overall.