BY BRANDON SPECK
WEST POINT – Asked after the final hole of the 2013 Mississippi Junior Golf Association State Championship about his day, Tupelo golfer Austin Rose said to an onlooker, “It was bad.”
Tupelo teammate Hayden Buckley didn’t have a terrible day at Old Waverly. He shot 2-over-74 and finished the tournament tied for third place.
It would have taken better than great to beat Jacob Ross. The Ole Miss signee, a former Brookhaven standout, hit only one bad shot – and escaped it – to win the event’s 16-18 division with a three-day 212. He finished 3-under-69 on
Thursday’s final 18, 4-under for the champion-ship, for a one-stroke victory.
On No. 18 with a two-stroke lead, Ross hit his tee shot near the No. 1 tee box. He still managed a bogey.
“I was on today. I only had a few bad swings on the last hole. Other than that, putts were falling. Just my day, I guess,” Ross said.
Ross finished second last year at Country Club of Jackson. Defending champion Braden Thornberry (Desoto Central) finished second Thursday, a stroke back. Buckley and Olive Branch’s Phillip Hickman were third with three-day 218s.
Tupelo’s Blake Harris finished seventh. Rose came into Thursday a stroke off the lead, but tied for eighth with an 8-over day.
“Definitely being in the last group with three of the best players in the state was a little stressful,” said Buckley, two back after Wednesday. “I hit the ball well all day. On the front side, I just didn’t make enough birdies.”
Buckley turned at 1-over. In the foursome leader group, Rose, Buckley and Ross each birdied No. 9, Ross’ a 30-footer. Rose was three back of Ross, in third place for the championship. Harris had pulled even with Buckley four back in a tie for fourth.
“He caught fire with the putter on No. 9,” Rose said of Ross. “I hit the ball really bad, didn’t have anything going for me.”
On the first dry day of the event, Kathleen Gallagher won the girls 16-18 division by 42 strokes, 7-over-223. She recently won the State Am here.