Cupples birdies No. 4 to hold off Saltillo’s May in Pros of Tomorrow

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

BELDEN – Chad Cupples usually doesn’t depend on his short game.
Wednesday, in a sudden-death playoff against Saltillo’s Corbin May in the 24th annual Pros of Tomorrow junior golf tournament at the Tupelo Country Club, the Southaven golfer rode his wedges and putter to victory.
Cupples, 17, clinched the championship with a 5-foot birdie putt on the par 4, 506-yard No. 4 hole. He set up his winning putt with a 100-yard shot from the middle of the fairway.
“That was a great shot on that last one,” said May, who will be a senior at Saltillo High School.
Then Cupples’ putter didn’t fail him.
“I was confident over that last putt,” he said. “I putted well both days. That saved me.”
On the third playoff hole, he hit a 40-foot chip to within two feet to save par.
On the second playoff hole, he needed a 40-foot chip and short putt to save par after May had hit his second shot to within two feet of the hole.
“I’m just glad I got it done,” said Cupples, who will be a senior at DeSoto Central High School. “That really puts a strain on you. I usually don’t rely on my short game. Today, I was able to knock it up there nice.”
Following Cupples’ chip to within two feet on No. 3, May pulled off some magic of his on when he rolled in a 15-foot, par-saving putt.
“That was fun,” said May, who pumped his fist after the ball rolled in.
Cupples and May, who played in the same group Wednesday, finished regulation play tied at 1-over-par 145. Both players shot 2-under 70s for their round.
Cupples recorded a par on the final hole of regulation to force the tie after May recorded a bogey.
Rain stopped play for two hours in Tuesday’s opening round, but that wasn’t the case for the final 18 holes. A brief rain halted play for about 30 minutes only.

Huffman wins third straight
– Olive Branch’s Esther Huffman fired a 1-under-par 71 in the final round for a two-day winning total of 1-under 143. It was her third straight Pros of Tomorrow girls title.
“I had an up-and-down day,” said the Mississippi State signee. “I had four birdies and three bogeys.”
Three of those birdies came on her final nine holes, but so did the three bogeys. The final bogey came after she hit into the bunker on No. 9, her final hole.
Starkville’s Korakot Simsiriwong shot even par in the final round to finish second with a 2-over 146.
– Belden’s Hayden Buckley recorded a 6-over 150 to win the boys 14-15 division.
– Tupelo’s Blake Harris shot a 14-over 158 to capture the boys 12-13 division title.
– Jackson’s Ethan Mangum recorded a 12-over 84 to win the 18-hole 11-under boys.