Tony Tsoukalas and Sarah Moomaw
The Meridian Star
Meridian native Haynes Hinson took a 10-stroke lead into Day 2 of the State Games of Mississippi junior golf tournament and didn't look back, expanding his lead by five strokes en route to a Division D Boys 10-11 gold medal at Northwood Country Club.
After starting his day by bogeying the first hole, Hinson rebounded later in the afternoon, earning birdies on the 12th and 14th holes to finish at three over on the day. He finished the 18-hole tournament by shooting a 76, soundly beating second-place finisher Sims Dixon of Madison Ridgeland Academy by 15 strokes.
Hinson, a student at Lamar, is no stranger to Northwood and said he familiarity with the course gave him an advantage in the tournament.
“It is easier,” Hinson said. “This one is my home course. I golf here almost every day.”
Dixon started the day with two doubles and three bogeys on five of his first six holes but rebounded on the 16 to turn his luck around.
“I had a lucky shot where I hit my 3-wood and it was in the rough,” Dixon said. “There was a creek, and I bounced it right before it and over the creek. After that I just played better.”
The shot would spur a birdie on 17, as Dixon held on to shoot seven over on the day and finish the tournament with a 91, five shots better that Clinton's Carson Butler and Meridian's Eli Mitchel who both finished the day 13 shots over par.
Thirteen-year-old Parker Daily is looking to make a state Cup team by the end of the summer. Sweeping Division C 12-13 boys for his first tournament win of the summer should certainly help.
"First win of the year," he siad, "I put in a lot of work and got two good days out of it and it put me in first ... It's awesome that I'm playing good right now in the summer, if I keep playing good it'll help me make a few teams, like the Cup Team."
Parker finished the day at 8-over to end the tournament shooting a 153. He had a four-stroke lead over second place Edward Lee of Canton.
Unlike in Day 1 where he hit three birdies, eight bogeys didn't hurt the end result too badly.
"I was playing real good on the front," Parker said. "The back nine, the first few holes were okay, then towards the middle I kind of slipped a little bit, made a few bogeys but brought it in strong."
Division B 14-15 boys started with a four-way tie at 8-over. Playing in his first State Games, Gabriel Riveros of Vicksburg battled to pull ahead to shoot a 75 through the final 18 holes.
"This is actually my best tournament score," he said. "I was pretty excited to come [to State Games] and it ended pretty good."
Riveros opened the front nine with a double and two bogeys, one canceled out with a birdied on hole No. 7 from. Through the back nine, he hit for par except a bogey on 15.
"It feels pretty good to know that I can actually compete with these people and win," Riveros said.
Lamar's Lance Strickland tied for third at 14-over.
But leading the tournament with the overall low score and the week's only below par round was Jacob Ross in Division A 16-18 boys.
Thursday's 1-under lowered his total score to 2-over for a 144 and six-stroke lead over Camden Backel of Madison.
"I hit it about the same today and just got a few more puts to fall for me," Ross said. "I got off to a good part. I parred [hole No.] 1 and birdied No. 2."
Ross is Ole Miss bound in the fall, but like Daily, starting the summer with a win is a great feeling.
"It's always good to just come back from the winter. everybody had a lot of time off, just come back and the win is great," Ross said. "Haven't been playing my best here lately, but it's starting to come together."