By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Austin Rose was a sixth grader when Tupelo won its first of five consecutive state championships in high school boys golf.
Rose, a junior, doesn’t want to be on the Golden Wave team that doesn’t win a state title.
“You definitely think about it,” Rose said earlier this week during a break at practice. “You don’t want to let it go.”
Tupelo will have an advantage in its quest for a sixth championship as its hosts the MHSAA Class 6A tournament at the Tupelo Country Club.
Rose is one of three starters returning from the 2012 champion-ship squad. He is joined by junior Hayden Buckley, who recorded the team’s low score last year at the state meet in Hattiesburg, and sophomore Blake Harris, who has returned from an offseason ankle injury.
“Blake is coming off rehabing his injury, so we’re being patient with him. I feel good about him,” coach Mark Enis said. “Austin and Hayden are playing well, but they’re not as consistent as they want to be.
“A lot of that has to do with the weather. Once it warms up, you’ll see more consistency from all three of these guys.”
Miles Johnson, a junior, is No. 4 in the lineup. Three players – sophomore Kirk Reeder and juniors Drew Fandel and Daniel Purnell – are battling for the No. 5 position.
Enis will know a lot more about his team after an April 2-3 tournament at the Country Club of Jackson. The event will feature some of the top teams from three states, including Alabama and Louisiana.
HARRIS ON THE MEND
Harris broke three bones and tore ligaments his right ankle in a freak golf cart accident in August. The injury required surgery.
He began playing golf on a limited basis, with pain, in December. A left-hander, his right ankle is the one that rolls on a shot.
“It pops about every time I take a swing,” said Harris, who wears an ankle brace. “It hurts on certain lies – downhill and side. It’s better. I’ve got to trust it more.”
While his progress has been slow – it took him eight rounds to break 40 – Harris expects to on top of his game by May.
“I’ll be there by the state tournament and the summer … full force,” he said.