By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
MADISON – Clay Homan didn’t get off to the best start on Sunday’s final day of the 97th Mississippi State Amateur.
But the Mississippi State golf coach and Fulton-native did more than enough to win his fourth State Am championship, this one his second straight.
Homan finished with a 9-under 279 at Reunion Golf and Country Club to win by four strokes over Batesville’s Grant Goforth and five over Millsaps golf coach Eddie Brescher, III.
“It was a lot tougher today. I got off to a terrible start,” Homan said. “Made two straight bogeys right out of the gate, couldn’t find my swing.”
Homan then made par on five straight before a bogey and par closed his front 9. He hit five more par putts and four birdies on the back. Three straight birdies, including a 4-footer on 15, a 15-footer on 16 and a downhill 20-footer on 17 sealed the deal.
“I just kind of settled down a little bit on the back, made a few good swings and then once I felt those swings, I got into more of a rhythm,” he said.
Homan’s junior at Mississippi State, former Itawamba AHS golfer Chad Ramey, shot a final-day par to finish the event in fourth place at one over.
“For the most part I was fairly decent. Today I just hit the ball real bad,” said Ramey, who shot par a day after going 2-over. “I couldn’t put it all together in one day.”
Fellow MSU golfers Fletcher Johnson and Barrett Edens finished in the top seven of a 144-man field.
Johnson, a sophomore from Tupelo High School, finished 2-over in fifth place and Edens, a junior from Amory High School, finished 3-over in a tie for seventh.
Homan, 40, won last year’s State Am at West Point’s Old Waverly and was met on the 18th green Sunday by 4-year-old Ivy Frances and 1-year-old Henry.
“I don’t know if it’s any sweeter but at my age I’ll take any one I can get,” Homan said. “With a three-shot lead (after 17), I could kind of breathe a little bit. But a two-shot lead is not safe, especially with Grant playing as well as he was and Eddie was playing well as well.”
Homan’s win gave Mississippi State a sweep in State Amateur titles with MSU freshman Ally McDonald winning the women’s title last week.