BELDEN – Austin Bynum strolled up the 16th fairway Monday afternoon with a beach towel draped over his head and shoulders.
The West Union golfer was trying his best to beat the heat … along with Pontotoc rival Clif Hanna.
Bynum overcame what he termed an “awful” round to defeat the charging Hanna by three strokes to win the age 16-18 division of the North Mississippi Coca-Cola Junior Tour Championship at the Tupelo Country Club.
“I did awful; I was hitting it everywhere,” said Bynum, who led Hanna by eight shots following Sunday’s opening round. “I couldn’t make any putts. I just lost it, I guess.”
Bynum recorded a 10-over-par 82 after shooting an even-par 72 in the first round.
Hanna, who finished the final round with a 5-over-par 77, said the eight-shot lead was too tough to overcome.
“I didn’t hit the ball well on the first nine and my putts didn’t seem to fall,” Hanna said. “Mainly, I just wanted to play well, maybe go under.”
Hanna’s play, however, challenged the struggling Union County golfer.
“Clif had me worried, especially as bad as I was playing,” Bynum said.
Baldwyn’s Tucker Jenkins captured the age 14-15 division championship with a two-day total of 5-over-par 149, giving him his fifth consecutive Coke Tour championship.
Jenkins, a member of Baldwyn’s state championship golf team last spring, won the Coke age 12-13 division title last year.
“I bogeyed four of my first five holes on the back nine and I was still one over,” he said. “I knew if I could par out I’d be good.”
Jenkins said the idea of winning a fifth straight title had crossed his mind.
“I just go out there and play, and what happens, happens,” he said.
Three more champs
Corinth’s Alex Tull won the 12-13 championship while Starkville’s Cameron Stokes was the 10-11 winner.
Ingomar’s Molly Hale, recorded a 10-over 82 in the final round, but captured the girls championship.
“I didn’t play well,” she said. “I missed many, many putts.”
Gene Phelps / NEMS Daily Journal