By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
OLIVE BRANCH – Tupelo High School’s golf team – one its coach says hasn’t reached its full potential – won Monday’s Division 1-6A tournament by 60 strokes.
“I know it sounds cliche’, but we haven’t peaked,” said Golden Wave coach Mark Enis, following his team’s dominating victory at Cherokee Valley Golf Club. “Our top players haven’t played their best yet.”
Next up for Tupelo is the MHSAA Class 6A state tournament, scheduled for May 8-9 at Canebreak in Hattiesburg.
The Golden Wave will be bidding to win its fifth consecutive state championship.
In Monday’s play, two Tupelo players – senior Noah West and freshman Blake Harris – battled windy conditions to capture medalists honors with 3-over-par 75s.
“The wind wasn’t that bad, but you had to pay attention to it,” said West, an Ole Miss signee, who is the defending 6A state medalist. “You had to work the ball into the wind in order to control it.
“I thought I hit the ball well today, but my short game let me down.”
Harris, who was playing the course for the first time, struggled on the front nine.
“It was tough on the front side; I don’t think I hit but one green,” he said. “On the back, I bogeyed 11, but birdied 12 and 18.”
On the plus side
Sophomore Hayden Buckley’s 76 and senior Wilson Reeder’s 78 gave Tupelo its winning 304 score in the seven-team field. Austin Rose, a sophomore, recorded an 82.
“I was happy with Harris and Buckley,” Enis said. “It’s good to get those scores from your No. 4 and No. 5 guys. When you do, it’s a plus for your team.”
South Panola finished second overall with a 364. DeSoto Central would have finished second, but had two of its players disqualified for rules infractions.
The Golden Wave will spend the next two weeks working primarily on its short game at the Tupelo Country Club.
“We’ve got to buckle down and start preparing,” Enis said. “Putting and chipping will be an issue. We need to work on being consistent and stay away from big numbers.”