Belmont cruises to Class 2A golf title.

After finishing round one atop the leaderboard, Belmont saved its best for last.

Leading by three strokes going into the final round, The Cardinals torched Caroline Golf Club to win the Class 2A State Tournament Wednesday.

Jody McClung's team posted a second-day 307 to win by 24 strokes over runner-up Philadelphia. The state title believed to be the school's first on the boys' side since 1947.

“We struggled a little bit Tuesday and didn't do quite as well in our practice round Monday,” said McClung, now in his fifth year. “The guys came out in the final round and showed they were ready to play.”

Belmont, featuring two juniors and three freshman on its team, was lead by Tyler and Nick Sparks. Tyler, a junior, took top medalist honors closing the tournament with a sizzling two under 70. Not far behind was Nick – a ninth grader – coming in at even par. The younger Sparks claimed the third place medalist just behind defending champion Freddie Janneck of Greenville St. Joseph.

Curt Sparks and Trey Adams each had final round 83s while freshman Tanner Sparks fired an 82.

“Those guys are a coaches' dream,” said McClung. “You don't have to tell them, they're out there on the course everyday. Right now, I'm tickled to death. We're young and we hope to be back next year, but for now, we're going to enjoy this.”

St. Joe was third followed by Bruce and St. Andrew's. Mantachie edged Clarkdale by a stroke for eighth place.

Dale A. Leonard