By David Wheeler/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Most players entering Round 1 of the Class 1A State Golf Tournament had high hopes at the challenging layout of the Big Oaks Golf Club.
Players from St. Aloysius went about business as usual.
Winners of three of the previous four 1A championships, St. Aloysius carded a first round 326 score to grab a 25-shot lead in the two day tournament.
“We have some guys that work at golf,” St. Aloysius coach Jim Taylor said. “Entering the season, I would have said we were rebuilding.”
Despite losing three seniors from last year’s championship team, the Vicksburg school took command of the first day of the event behind an even-par 72 by Nick Mekus. The junior shot 2-under on the front nine, and improved to 3-under for the day following a birdie on the par 4 No. 12, before settling for his even-par round.
Helping the team from Vicksburg set the pace was Sam Andrews with an 80, and Gabriel Riveros with an 85.
Golfers from Ingomar pulled into second place in the tournament with a 351 score, paced by Matt Hale. The sophomore carded a 78, which was good for second place for day one.
“Matt was a little tentative on his front nine, but even-par on the back nine,” Ingomar coach Mike Conway said. “Considering our No. 1 player didn’t shoot good, I feel good to be in second place.”
Hale posted a disappointing 42 on the front nine at Big Oaks, but rebounded with a 36 on the back nine that included a birdie on the par 5 No. 18. Ingomar teammate Chandler Thompson posted an 80, which was good enough to tie for fourth place overall.
The host school for the tournament, Tupelo Christian Prep, was in third place with a 367.
“We have shot 20 strokes better than that,” TCPS coach Mike Hester said. “Some of our guys had a really bad day.”
Parker Brooks paced the hosts with an 80.
Play continues today with the final round.