By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
SOUTHAVEN – Tupelo’s Austin Rose was pleased with his round in Tuesday’s MHSAA Division 1-6A golf tournament at Wedgewood Golf Club, but he knew he could have gone lower.
“He told me, ‘There was a 67 out there for me today,” Golden Wave coach Mark Enis said.
Rose, a junior, shot a 1-over-par 73 to lead five-time defending state champion Tupelo to a 16-stroke victory against a seven-team field. His round included an early eagle on the par 5, 469-yard No. 3, and three birdies.
“Austin is a good ball striker,” Enis said. “He hit the ball well today. He just needed a couple of putts to fall. If they do, he can go low.”
Rose sank a 4-foot putt for the eagle, moments after he hit a 5-iron 175 yards to the green on his second shot.
“The greens were pretty smooth and the course was dry,” he said. “We had some wind for a couple holes at the beginning, then it died off, and then came back. It was nothing bad.”
Rose missed a couple of short birdie attempts – a 3-footer on No. 10 and a 5-footer on No. 13. However, he saved a bogey with a 10-foot putt on No. 9. He also had birdie putts of 17 feet on No. 18 and 20 feet on No. 12.
“I struggled at times reading putts,” he said.
Tupelo, behind Rose, Blake Harris (77), Hayden Buckley (78) and Miles Johnson (79), recorded a 307 team score. The division win was the Wave’s fifth straight.
DeSoto Central, which was led by sophomore medalist Braden Thornberry (69), finished second with a 323.
Tupelo and DeSoto Central were the only teams to qualify for the 6A state tournament, which is scheduled to be played May 1-2 at the Tupelo Country Club.
The Golden Wave will remain busy in the days leading up to the state tournament.
“Definitely, playing at home will be a big advantage,” Enis said. “Our guys have all grown up out there. They know the pace of the greens.
“We need to spend the next two weeks getting prepared to play the Tupelo Country Club.”