Amory’s seniors couldn’t have given River Birch Golf Club a finer farewell and the Panther underclassmen couldn’t have asked for a higher standard to live up to.
Amory seniors Barrett Edens, a Mississippi State signee, and Dane Christensen, the tournament medalist and Utah Valley signee, finished off their high school careers Friday with a third straight MHSAA Class 3A state golf championship. All three victories came on their home course.
Amory beat Corinth 631-656 and finished 35 strokes better than third-place Carthage on a windy day in Amory.
“Three times in a row is awesome,” said Christensen. “The greens were running the best they’ve run this year. When they’re running good, you’re going to make some putts.”
Victory wasn’t in hand after Thursday’s opening 18 holes. Corinth’s 315 on Day 1 had the Warriors atop the leaderboard by three strokes over Amory.
First-year coach Bradley Parham took over the Amory program after Charlie Llewellyn stepped down after winning two rings. Parham said all five of his guys practiced after Thursday’s opening round.
Another Amory senior, Mitchell Baxter, and seventh grader Will Thompson each improved their Friday scores by five strokes and Christensen and Edens finished with the tournament’s lowest scores to propel Amory to its third trophy.
For Christensen, who birdied his final prep hole, it was his second consecutive state tournament medal. Edens medaled in the 2007 win.
“I knew our guys were playing pretty well when they made the turn,” Parham said, “but I also knew the wind could play a factor today. I think the wind actually played in our favor.”
Christensen shot 5-under on Thursday and 2-under Friday. Edens shot even-par on Thursday and 2-over Friday.
“When you keep scores like that, it gives you a little play room,” Parham said. “They’ve carried this team and that’s the reason they’re toting around three state championships.”
Christensen shot a 70 on Friday, Edens 74, Baxter 88, and Thompson an 81.
“There was a lot of pressure, but having guys like we’ve got, it was a lot of fun, too,” Parham said.
Corinth is losing senior Garrett Whitehurst, but returns two seventh graders, a freshman and a sophomore. P.J. Platt led the Warriors with a 78 on Friday, and edged Whitehurst (84) 154-155 for the team’s best total.
“We didn’t get off to a good start (today) against a good Amory team on their course,” Corinth coach Keith Greene said. “Then the wind picked up today. The first five holes, everybody was a little jittery.
“When you start getting behind, you press a little bit, but (Amory’s) good.”
Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal