Future ‘pros’ descend on Tupelo

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

BELDEN – The biggest victory of Bubba Watson’s golf career came this spring when he won the Masters.
However, before he added a green jacket to his wardrobe, he won a championship at the Tupelo Country Club when he captured his age division title in the 1990 Pros of Tomorrow golf tournament.
“We were looking through a notebook here the other day and saw a photo of Bubba Watson when he won the 10-11 age division,” said TCC assistant professional Bobby Bascomb. “We’ve had a lot of Division 1 players and some professionals play in this tournament.
“We’ll have players this year in the 16-18 age division who will eventually be playing Division 1.”
The cutoff for this year’s 36-hole tournament was extended from 120 to 130 players – representing four states – to allow more to compete.
“This tournament is big,” Bascomb said. “It’s the biggest and maybe the best juniors tournament in the state.”
The 26th annual Pros of Tomorrow, which is scheduled for play today and Wednesday at the TCC, is the major event for the annual North Mississippi Coca-Cola Junior Golf Tour. Players from the Coke Tour are awarded double points in the points standings for their finishes this week.
Bascomb, a former Coca-Cola Tour official, said playing in the Pros event is a good experience for the younger players.
“It gives them the opportunity to play one of the better facilities in the state in a two-round tournament format,” he said.
The tournament will crown a new champion in the 16-18 age division. Two-time champion Chad Cupples of Southaven played last season for Northwest Mississippi Community College.
Last year’s 14-15 champion, Tupelo’s Hayden Buckley, has moved up to the 16-18 division. Buckley was a member of Tupelo High School’s 6A state championship team this season.
The players will be challenged by the TCC’s fast Champion Bermuda greens.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com