By John L. Pitts/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – After the best round of his young life, TCPS eighth-grader Parker Brooks rested easy on Wednesday night.
“Watched the NBA playoffs with my dad and talked about the day,” he said. “I felt pretty confident about the final round.”
On a rainy Thursday morning, he backed up his opening-round 66 with a 1-over 73 to easily win the MHSAA Class 1A individual state title at Big Oaks Golf Club.
St. Alyosius, from Vicksburg, won the team title by an overwhelming margin – 70 strokes.
Brooks’ TCPS teammates elevated their game on Thursday, shaving 38 strokes off their opening-day total to finish second.
But the talk around the clubhouse continued to be the only red number put on the scoreboard during the event, Brooks’ 6-under 66 on Wednesday.
“I started off with two birdies and then hit from the fairway for an eagle on No. 8,” Brooks said. “It’s easily the best round I’ve ever played. I’m still in awe of that.”
Thursday’s challenge, then, was to avoid giving his rivals any opening.
“I knew he was playing well coming into the tournament, but you always wonder how a young player will deal with the pressure of a first-day lead,” said head coach Mike Hester.
Brooks stayed out of trouble and won by 11 strokes. Hunter Hammett of Sacred Heart finished second (74-76–150) and Gabe Riversos of St. Alyosius was third (76-78–154).
“I was trying to shoot another 66,” Brooks said. “I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to win just by making pars.”
All three of Brooks’ TCPS teammates who finished in the scoring improved their second-day scores despite soggy conditions: Heath Davis (88–82–170), Nate Hester (105-101–206) and Garrett Scott (116–91–207).
It’s the fourth consecutive state 1A title for St. Alyosius, which has won six of the last seven.
“A great experience,” head coach Mike Jones said. “Big Oaks is always a fun place for the kids to play.”