Golfers finish junior amateur, prepare for next tournament

Published 7:26 pm Friday, July 17, 2015

The Mississippi Junior Amateur Championship ended with golfers playing 54-holes over the past three days.

Local golfers Channing Curtis, Karley Whittington and Gabriel Riveros did their best to win their divisions, but just fell short.

“Today I didn’t play that great but I scrambled pretty well,” Curtis said. “It could have been a lot worse than what it was.”

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The last few days for Curtis have been shaky, but the final day of play was better than the previous. He ended the tournament ranked 22 in his division

Temperatures averaged in the 90s during the event, but the heat wasn’t too bad for Curtis. He stayed hydrated but was mentally tired trying to play his best.

“I think I put a lot of extra pressure on myself. It wasn’t needed but I just wanted to play well,” Curtis said.

Curtis usually puts a lot of pressure on himself because of his high standards. Where most people will be comfortable in a certain situation, he doesn’t accept it and wants to be better.

The results of the tournament will serves as extra motivation for him to get back on the course and play as well as he can.

“When you don’t play good it’s kind of a mess because people expect you to play good.”

The last two days have been frustrating for Curtis. He said he wasn’t playing his normal level of golf.

“I need to make some swing changes. My short game was pretty good and I putted lights out, just wasn’t hitting the ball really well.”

Curtis is going to improve on things that didn’t go his way this week for the upcoming Warren County Junior Championship in a few weeks.

“I’m going to practice a lot more. I only had four or five days to practice. I’m going to get back into my normal practice routine this week. I think that will help out a lot,” Curtis said.

Karley Whittington shot a 75, a much better score then the previous 82 strokes recorded on day two.

She finished the tournament in 3rd place in the girls 13- to18-years-old division.

Whittington kept a level head and worked on mishaps she noticed in day two.

“I’m just keeping my frustration down and playing the way I know I can play,” Whittington said.

On the first hole she doubled bogeyed because the wind carried her golf balls and she knew she had to make par the rest of the way.

Whittington said her irons got a lot better and she putted a lot better today as well, things she knew she had to improve on from day two.

“It was something I did on the range before play was work on that. I just wanted to shoot a solid score today,” Whittington said.

Whittington said it was tiring to play 18-holes in the heat but took necessary care of her body during the week.

“If you got the proper sleep you were fine and you have to stay hydrated to play in it,” Whittington said.

Whittington leaves Sunday for the SJGP tournament in Montgomery, Al.

She’s competing against 25 girls and is looking to just finish in the top five.

Not being able to defend her title and shooting an 86 is more disappointing to her, however she learned a lot from the tournament, which means to most to her.

“When I go to a tournament I set goals for myself and try to shoot well everyday. It’s always my mind. If I defended my title I would have had back to back wins, but it just wasn’t my time to win.”

Whittington was relieved to see the outcome and said the week has been stressful but would do it over again.

“I love playing in tournaments and my love for the game just excels when I’m in the tournament.”