LAUREL, Miss. (WCBI/EMCC Athletics) – The East Mississippi Community College men’s golf team claimed state runner-up honors for the third consecutive year after finishing second to Copiah-Lincoln Community College during Monday’s final round of the MACJC State Golf Championship held at Dixie Golf Club.
After owning a two-shot lead over Co-Lin atop the team standings following Sunday’s opening-round 294, the EMCC Lions carded a 298 Monday to fall six strokes shy of the Wolfpack’s 4-over-par 292 on the final day and finish four shots out of first place. Northwest Mississippi Community College (299-295—594) placed third five strokes ahead of defending state champion Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (298-301—599).
Having previously tied for runner-up team honors during last year’s rain-shortened MACJC State Golf Championship at River Birch and claiming sole possession of second place two years ago at Deerfield, head coach Dale Peay’s EMCC Lions will be making their fourth regional appearance in five years next week in Philadelphia. This year’s NJCAA Region 23 Golf Championship, hosted by East Central Community College, will be held Monday and Tuesday (April 22-23) at Dancing Rabbit Golf Club (Azalea).
Sophomore Nick Davis, of Springville, Ala., led the way for EMCC tying for third place with MGCCC’s Jake Pritchard at 144 after firing a 3-under-par 69 to fall just a single shot out of the lead. Davis’ final-round 69 marked the best score for an EMCC golfer since two-time all-state selection Weston Wallace carded a 69 on the final day to claim medalist honors at the EMCC-hosted MACJC event played at the Mississippi State University Golf Course two years ago.
Finishing just ahead of Davis on Monday, Co-Lin’s Corbin May (70-73—143) and Chad Cupples (69-74—143) of Northwest Mississippi needed five extra holes at Dixie before May birdied the fifth playoff hole to claim individual medalist honors.
EMCC sophomore Miles Respess, of Paragould, Ark., added a second-day 73 to go along with his even-par 72 to finish tied with Co-Lin’s Chad Arseneault for fifth place. Another Lion sophomore Caleb Westmoreland, from Columbus’ Heritage Academy, placed ninth with a two-day total of 148 (71-77).
Rounding out East Mississippi’s scorecard this week in Laurel, freshman Chase Smith (80-79—159) and sophomore Matt Belk (76-84—160) tied for 30th and 34th place, respectively.
By virtue of finishing among this year’s MACJC stroke average leaders, EMCC’s Westmoreland was one of six golfers to be tabbed MACJC All-State First Team for their season-long scoring efforts. Westmoreland, a transfer from Delta State University, currently owns a team-leading 76.6 stroke average for the spring season.
Co-Lin’s May leads this year’s MACJC All-State First Team as the 2013 Hubert Tucker Award recipient for having the lowest scoring average in the state among junior college golfers. May’s Co-Lin teammate Alex Clark, along with the MGCCC trio of Hayes Weathersby, Brad Thornton and Pritchard, round out this year’s six-member squad.