Young golfers step up to help Flashes qualify for state tournament

Published 9:10 am Tuesday, May 2, 2017

By the time he hit the seventh tee Monday, it was pretty obvious Channing Curtis was out of the running for medalist honors at the MAIS Class AAA North State golf tournament.

Fortunately, the St. Aloysius star pulled it together in time to salvage his round and the rest of his teammates were there to pick up the slack.

Five of St. Al’s six golfers shot 90 or better on a windy day at the Vicksburg Country Club, making up for an uncharacteristic bad outing by Curtis. Their efforts resulted in a team score of 336, a third-place finish in the team standings, and a berth in next week’s Class AAA state tournament in Hattiesburg.

Wilson Palmertree and Curtis both shot 81s, while Trace Daily shot an 86 and Joshua Larsen an 88. Brandon Teller was at 90 and Joseph Cranfield shot a 97.

“I was 8-over through nine. I was pretty scared. Everybody was telling me the team was doing bad. I was scared we weren’t going to qualify,” Curtis said. “Luckily, the younger guys really stepped up. Joshua and Trace and Wilson all played good today. We would not be going (to state) if they had shot their normal scores. They’re the ones carrying the team today.”

Manchester Academy’s Matt Liddon shot a 69 to earn medalist honors on a day where everyone seemed to struggle. Heritage Academy’s Dalton Ford was second with a 75, and was the only other golfer to break 80.

Heritage Academy beat North Delta in a playoff to win the team title after both finished with scores of 324. St. Al was third at 336 and Central Hinds fourth at 339.

Despite Liddon’s superb round, Manchester totaled 341 strokes as a team and missed the cut to qualify for the state tournament by two shots. The top four teams, as well as the top four individual golfers whose teams did not qualify, advanced to the state tournament.

Liddon, Hartfield Academy’s Kody Esco, and Kirk Academy’s Gracie Willis and Jake Draper got the individual bids.

St. Al, meanwhile, will take the whole team thanks to the efforts of its junior members. The eighth-grader Palmertree was one of five players tied at 81 — six others shot 80 to tie for third after Liddon and Ford — while Daily and Larsen each turned in one of their better rounds of the season.

“To me, today was kind of a mediocre day. I missed some putts, but I did hit a lot of good shots,” said Palmertree, whose successes included a 30-foot birdie putt on the sixth hole. “The other guys did all right. They did enough to qualify for state. I think we need to step it up just a little bit if we want to win state this year.”

That made up for Curtis, who didn’t pull out of his nosedive until the back nine. He had three double bogeys and three bogeys on the first six holes before breaking the string with a par on No. 7. His only birdie came on the par-4 16th hole and helped him to a birdie-par-par finish that salvaged the round.

“I was so happy. I was ready to get down on the ground and start praying. It was rough,” said Curtis, who shot a 75 and won in a playoff at a tournament at VCC two weeks ago.

The combination of a tough VCC course, windy and damp conditions, and some nerves all contributed to the field’s struggles. Palmertree said that finding a way to muddle through the struggles and live to fight another day was satisfying.

“It feels good to be able to do that, even though I’m not too happy with how I scored. Considering all the conditions, it wasn’t too bad,” Palmertree said.

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MAIS Class AAA Boys North State
At Vicksburg Country Club
Team
x-1. Heritage Academy (HER) 324
2. North Delta (ND) 324
3. St. Aloysius (SA) 336
4. Central Hinds (CH) 339
5. Manchester Academy (MAN) 341
6. Indianola Academy (IA) 362
7. Hartfield Academy (HART) 367
Note: Lee Academy (LEE), Riverfield Academy (RF), Kirk Academy (KIRK), Washington School (WASH) and Bayou Academy (BA) had individual golfers entered, but were not competing for the team championship.
x-Won in a playoff

Individual
Matt Liddon (MAN) 69
Dalton Ford (HER) 75
Will Kidder (ND) 80
Russ Lewis (ND) 80
Gracie Willis (KIRK) 80
Kody Esco (HART) 80
Wilson Palmertree (SA) 81
Channing Curtis (SA) 81
Miles Garner (ND) 81
Moak Griffin (HER) 81
Jake Draper (KIRK) 81
Josh Neel (HER) 83
Avery Rowland (ND) 83
Seth Mohler (CH) 83
Jenna Belton (HART) 85
Ryan Talley (CH) 85
Blake Montpelier (CH) 85
Robert Brown (HER) 85
Chase Rochelle (CH) 86
William Barrier (IA) 86
Trace Daily (SA) 86
Carson Westmoreland (HER) 87
Mark Peaster (MAN) 87
Crawford Allen (LEE) 88
Joshua Larsen (SA) 88
David Mason (IA) 89
Brandon Teller (SA) 90
Hunter Price (IA) 91
Parks Poe (MAN) 92
Parker Goodson (KIRK) 92
Dylan Dendy (MAN) 93
Noah Greer (RF) 93
Jon Riley Poe (MAN) 94
Drew Shaw (CH) 94
Chapman Cooper (HER) 94
Brett Foreman (WASH) 95
Joey Daniels (IA) 96
Joseph Cranfield (SA) 97
Andrew Solesby (ND) 98
John Clayton Chism (IA) 98
Austin Wilson (ND) 99
Tripp Duloney (LEE) 99
Zach Talley (CH) 100
Jack Edens (HART) 100
Chandler Humphries (HART) 102
Max Belvedresi (BA) 103
Rutledge Agostinelli (LEE) 103
Tyler Bardwell (MAN) 107
Conner Moore (IA) 107
Ben Stringer (HART) 109
Russell Strickland (HART) 110

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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