By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – J.R. Wright has tied for first place four previous times in a North Mississippi Coca-Cola Juniors Tour event.
All four times, the Aberdeen resident lost in a scorecard playoff.
In Monday’s 2011 Tour stop at Big Oaks Golf Club, Wright made sure he carried home the big trophy. The Heritage Academy junior turned in the day’s best round, a par 72, to win the age 14-15 division.
“I made sure today that I went low,” Wright said, then laughed about his previous close calls. “I never won a scorecard playoff.”
Wright recorded a 3-under-par 33 on the back nine with the help of four birdies. He rolled in tap-ins for birdie on 11 and 12, then sank 20 footers on 16 and 18 to post his low score.
His best putt of the round was a 40-footer for par on 7.
“I thought the course played pretty easy,” he said, moments after accepting his first-place trophy. “They could have made the pins a little tougher.”
Wright did struggle on one hole, the par 5 No. 8, with a bogey.
“I tried to go for the green in two,” he said. “I had been drawing the ball all day, but on this one I cut it right … into the water.”
Wright’s high school team, Heritage Academy, won the state championship in Class AAA.
West Point’s Chase Nash scored 76 and Aberdeen’s Will Thompson 79 in the 14-15 division.
Tupelo’s Parker Brooks won the 12-13 division with a 77. It was his second victory on the Tour this season.
Golden’s Isaiah Jackson, last week’s Starkville winner, was second with a 78. Calhoun City’s Brandon Walker was third with an 81.
New Albany’s Peyton Dunlap won the 16-18 division with a 78. He was followed by Alabama golfers Scotty Lawrence of Vernon with an 82 and Austin Sparks of Red Bay with an 85.
Booneville’s Austin Lauderdale and Louisville’s Cameron Clark tied for the age 10-11 division lead with 47. Lauderdale won a scorecard playoff. Tate Dickerson of Booneville was third with a 53.
In the girls action, Smith Ann Chiles defeated Mary Clay Bailey by 16 shots. Both are from Tupelo.
The fourth tour stop is next Monday at Hillandale Country Club in Corinth.
• Scores, Page 2B