By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Bruce golf coach Allan Clark has seen the leaderboard. He knows what has to happen.
Clark’s Trojans must make up 14 shots today against Baldwyn in the MHSAA Class 2A state tournament at the Mississippi State Golf Course to have a shot at dethroning the three-time state champions.
“Hey, we’re looking forward to the opportunity,” he said. “Baldwyn’s got a really good team with five solid players.
“I thought we played really well. We left a few shots out there.”
Baldwyn, led by junior Jacob Dixon with a 3-over-par 75, recorded a team score of 305 Wednesday to take the first-round lead in a steady drizzle. Bruce was second at 319 in the eight-team field. Union at 335 and Calhoun City 336 third and fourth.
Baldwyn coach Michael Gray hasn’t cleared a spot in the Prentiss County team’s trophy case just yet.
“You never know about golf, it’s a weird game,” he said. “It’s going to take a good round for somebody to catch us.”
Gray’s strategy won’t change for the final 18 holes. “We will have the same game plan,” he said. “Hopefully, we’ll finish a little stronger.”
Tucker Jenkins, a junior, recorded a 76 for the Bearcats. Senior Will Moore and sophomore Cason Collins shot 77s. Clayton Gray, a junior playing No. 1, had a 79.
W.D. Newlin’s 77 and Cameron Clarks 78 paced Bruce.
Union’s Andy Ogletree, who shot a 3-under 69, has a six-stroke lead over Dixon in the medalist hunt.
Jenkins believes the Bearcats’ balanced lineup gives them a chance in every tournament.
“We’ve got five guys who can all shoot the same score,” he said. “You never know who’s going to shoot what, who will play the best.”
A victory today would give Baldwyn its fourth consecutive state championship.
“It would be fun to be able to say you’ve won four … then next year maybe five,” Jenkins said. “A lot of people in Baldwyn have been keeping up with us and supporting us.”