Palmertree finishes second as St. Al qualifies for MAIS South State tournament

Published 8:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2018

St. Aloysius’ boys’ golf team had one last chance Wednesday to extend its season, with each bogey, birdie and par balancing them dangerously along the cut line.

When the final scores were added up, the Flashes made it by the skin of their teeth.

Sophomore Wilson Palmertree shot a 77 to finish second in the individual standings, and St. Al shot a 348 as a team at the Warren Central Invitational at Vicksburg Country Club. The team total was only good for fourth place in this tournament, but was low enough — by two shots — to qualify for the MAIS Class AAA South State tournament May 2 in Natchez.

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It’s the first time this season that St. Al has gotten under the score of 350 that’s required to qualify for the postseason, and came in its last regular-season tournament.

In addition to Palmertree, John Michael Jabour shot an 86, Joshua Larsen an 88, and Will Keen a 97 to comprise the team score.

“It was really great. I knew that this year was going to be a rebuilding year, because we have a really young team. I’m glad for our guys and glad for everyone on the team for being able to pull it through the last tournament before South State,” Palmertree said. “It was a goal of ours to qualify for South State, and I’m just really happy that we did. Honestly, at the beginning of the season, I thought we wouldn’t. But these guys pulled it through. I’m really proud of them.”

Brandon won the boys’ tournament with a team score of 316, and Cole Ketchum was the medalist with a 73. Brett Wilson shot an 80, Brison Flynt an 81 and Josh Connor an 82 for the Bulldogs.

Warren Central’s Red team finished second, with a total of 335. Taylor Lampkin led the way with a 78, while Chance Bishop and Zane Flaharty each shot 85 and Hartley Sullivan rounded things out with an 87.

Warren Central also fielded a second team, Warren Central Blue, that fared well. Josh Hallberg shot a 79 to lead the charge to a 361 team score that was good for sixth out of seven teams.

WC coach Matt Williams said the team’s performance provided a good bounce going into Monday’s Region 4-6A tournament at Clear Creek Golf Course in Bovina. The region tournament is a qualifier for the MHSAA Class 6A state tournament.

“Looking at all 12 that played, we had two under 80. That’s Josh’s personal best, and I think that’s Taylor’s personal best. We’ve still got one more tournament (Thursday at Patrick Farms in Brandon) before we play district on Monday, so I’m very, very pleased with where we are,” Williams said. “Second place in this out of eight teams is very good. It’s where we need to be.”

Warren Central’s girls, meanwhile, had no problem collecting a pair of first-place trophies on Wednesday.

Karley Whittington shot a 2-under par 70 to take medalist honors by a whopping 14 strokes over Germantown’s Presley Baggett, and the Lady Vikes won the team title with a score of 173. Mia Wamsley shot a 103 for WC’s second score, and Sydney Stuart a 107. The top two individual scores count toward the team score.

Baggett was the runner-up with an 84 — she and Whittington were the only two girls’ golfers to break 90 — and Germantown was second in the team standings with a score of 181.

Whittington made four birdies in her round, including two in a three-hole stretch from Nos. 4-6 that helped her get going and another late that led into a strong finish.

“I played really well. I hit the ball solid and I putted really well. On No. 15 I hit the green in two and that really helped my confidence. I hit a 5-iron into the green and birdied it, and that was when I was like, ‘I’ve got it from here.’”

Whittington has won five high school tournaments this season. The Central Arkansas signee said she’s rededicated herself to the game as she prepares to move on to college golf in the fall.

“I’ve put my mind to it that I’m going to do good this year. I have to prepare myself for college. I’m not going to get anywhere if I just lollygag around here,” she said. “This was definitely a confidence booster. I have a big (junior) tournament this weekend, so this helped with that as well. Hopefully if I play good this weekend it’ll be an even bigger confidence booster. Or if I play bad, it’ll show me what I need to work on before district and state.”

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 reporters in the paper's 140-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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