By Gene Phelps
WEST POINT – Hayden Buckley was the medalist in Wednesday’s inaugural Waverly Classic, but the Tupelo senior thought he should have posted a better score.
“I had a (2-under-par) 70, but it didn’t feel like a 70,” said the Missouri signee. “I stayed around even par most of the day. I wasn’t hitting it well, but I was still on the green.
“I made two good putts at the end.”
Buckley’s two birdie putts on 16 and 17 helped the Golden Wave take a two-stroke victory in the team standings against a field of defending high school state champion teams from 2013.
Tupelo, the six-time defending 6A champion, finished with a winning total of 308 to edge four-time defending 2A champion Baldwyn with its 310.
Lewisburg, the 4A champ, was third with 321, followed by 5A Oxford, 374, and 1A Vicksburg St. Aloysius, 416. The 2A champ, St. Patrick, did not compete.
Officials at Old Waverly Golf Club are hoping to make the tournament, featuring the previous year’s MHSAA state champions, a yearly event.
Buckley edged Baldwyn senior Tucker Jenkins for medalist honors. Jenkins recorded a 1-under-par 71.
Jenkins sank a 12-foot birdie putt on 17, but lost a stroke with a finishing bogey at 18.
“I played pretty well today. I bridied the second and third hole. I just wanted to go ahead and finish before I made a quad,” he said, then laughed.
“I felt like every shot I hit would be a bad one and ruin my round.”
Tupelo’s Austin Rose, a Mississippi State signee, and Baldwyn’s Jacob Dixon both recorded 2-over 74. Lewisburg’s Parker Sewell led his team with a 75.
Need to improve
Tupelo coach Mark Enis says his team has to get better at its fourth and fifth spots to compete for a seventh straight title.
“Rose and Buckley have played well,” he said. “We hang our hats on those guys. We need the rest of our guys to be consistent. We’ve got four weeks to our regional tournament to get ready.”
Baldwyn coach Michael Gray believes his team, which returns four starters, will improve in the season’s final month.
“As the weather warms up, hopefully our golf will get better,” he said.