By John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal
OLIVE BRANCH – Even though his Itawamba AHS team led by 30 strokes, Michael Nanney was worried entering Wednesday’s final round of the MHSAA Class 4A state golf tournament at the Wedgewood Golfers’ Club.
“I was really concerned about today,” the IAHS coach said following Wednesday’s second and final round. “Yes, we were ahead 30 strokes going in, but if you come out here on this course and you are lackadaisical with it … and then you gotta have four scores.
“Somebody messes up and you don’t have four scores to count, then you don’t win.”
Nanney’s worries didn’t come true on Wednesday, as his team shot eight strokes better than their opening-round 320 to win its second straight state title and third in four years. The Indians (312-320–632) won by 55 strokes on Wednesday.
Kosciusko finished second and New Albany third. Blake Conlee led New Albany (87-86–173), which ended up with a 702 total.
Meanwhile, the IAHS coach said he was proud of his team for succeeding on a long, tough course in windy conditions.
IAHS senior golfer and Mississippi State signee Chad Ramey was the tournament’s top individual, shooting a 149. He shot a 76 on Wednesday after opening up the tournament with a 73 as he recorded five birdies.
“Not his best golf, and he would be the first one to tell you that,” Nanney said of Ramey’s second round, in which he triple bogeyed the 16th hole. “But just to still be able to get it in like that, it just tells you what kind of golfer he is, though.”
Wednesday’s final round belonged to Taylor Boggs, who ended up finishing second to Ramey in the tournament. Boggs’ 74 tied for a second-round best as he finished with a 154 total, two strokes better than third-place finisher Kelsey New of Purvis, who also shot a 74 on Wednesday.
Right behind Boggs was IAHS junior Ally McDonald. She shot 80 and 77 in the two rounds for a 157 total.
Nanney was particularly impressed with McDonald, a female golfer who was playing from 6,900-plus yards.
“If she’s not one of the best girls golfers in the nation – girls golfers – then I would like to see someone who is better,” the IAHS coach said after Wednesday’s final round.
John Robertson finished with a 172 and Chaney Kennedy, who missed time this year with a broken hand, had a 194 to round out the scoring for Itawamba AHS.