By Gene Phelps
Baldwyn and Tupelo have won a combined 10 state championships in high school golf since since 2008 – the Bearcats four and the Golden Wave six.
Baldwyn hosts the Class 2A state tournament Wednesday and Thursday at the Natchez Trace Golf Club, a course where it captured the 2010 and 2012 titles.
“I tell my guys if you can play this course you can go anywhere and play,” Baldwyn coach Michael Gray said. “It’s an advantage for us.”
The Bearcats’ lineup features seniors Jacob Dixon, Clayton Gray, the coach’s son, and Tucker Jenkins. Gray (38.25) and Jenkins (38.27) are nearly even with their nine-hole stroke average. Dixon, according to Michael Gray, has been the team’s “most consistent” player.
“I’m still waiting for all three to play together at one time,” Michael Gray said. “It would be fun to see all three light up a course on the same day.”
Baldwyn should be favored in a field that includes Union and Calhoun City. Union’s lineup features the two-time defending 2A medalist, Andy Ogletree, who as a sophomore has committed to Georgia Tech.
“On a good day, we’re as good as anybody in the state,” Gray said of his team’s chances to win a fifth straight state title.
Tupelo travels to Lake Caroline Golf Club in Madison this week seeking its seventh consecutive Class 5A/6A state championship.
The Golden Wave’s lineup features Mississippi State signee Austin Rose, last season’s 6A medalist, and Missouri signee Hayden Buckley. The remainder of that lineup – the No. 3, 4 and 5 positions – is up for grabs.
“I haven’t had this problem before,” said Tupelo coach Mark Enis, who must pick three golfers from a talented group of four to play this week.
The Lake Caroline course is challenging,
“Our guys are familiar with it,” Enis said. “The course is lightning fast. I think we’ll have to shoot below 300 both days to win.
“Our guys are ready for this. We just haven’t put together back-to-back (good) rounds.”
Scheduled to end today
Class I and III: Clear Creek, Bovina
Class II: Kirkwood National, Holly Springs
Class 1A: Clear Creek, Bovina
Class 2A: Natchez Trace, Saltillo
Class 3A: Windance, Gulfport
Class 4A: Kirkwood Nat’l, Holly Springs
Class 5A-6A: Lake Caroline, Madison