By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
WEST POINT – Carlee Nanney’s first tee shot Tuesday at Old Waverly was her worst.
The high school freshman’s misfire was an attempt to impress her playing partner – a big hitter named Ally McDonald, the Mississippi Women’s Golf Association State Amateur Championship’s defending champion.
“I was trying to kill it,” Nanney said. “Ally hits the ball really well … and straight. It makes you feel like you need to hit it farther.”
McDonald, an NCAA regional winner and All-American this spring playing as a sophomore for Mississippi State, defeated Nanney 6-and-5 in match play to advance to today’s quarterfinals against Meridian’s Pam Posey. The winner advances to the semifinals, also scheduled for today.
The finals are scheduled for Thursday.
Both golfers are from Fulton, where Nanney is a student at Itawamba AHS. McDonald was an all-state selection and state medalist – against the boys – during her high school career with the Lady Indians.
McDonald was impressed by how much Nanney’s game has improved. The two had only played practice rounds together prior to Tuesday.
“There’s a big swing from last year to this year,” McDonald said. “You can see a turnaround in her game.”
Nanney, who finished third overall this spring in the MHSAA Class II state tournament, was excited to be paired with McDonald in the opening round of the championship flight.
“It was different playing against her,” Nanney said. “If I didn’t know her I might have been a little scared.”
Nanney held her own through the first seven holes and only trailed by two. McDonald made her move with back-to-back pars on No. 8 and No. 9 while Nanney recorded bogeys.
“I should have made pars on 8 and 9,” Nanney said. “I had a few shots here and there that weren’t very good. My putting was not great.”
McDonald nailed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 11 to go plus-6.