Local teams ready for final major tournament

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, April 8, 2014

BILOXI — The final major tournament of the South Mississippi prep golf season takes place today.

Approximately 20 teams will gather at Grand Bear Golf Club for the Shamrock Cup, hosted by St. Patrick’s High School. Zach Myers of Ocean Springs is leading all golfers in the race for the Player of the Year Award with a blistering 70.67 average. A total of 24 teams and 132 prep golfers have competed in the first four events, the Bank of Wiggins Invitational at Pine Burr CC, the Admiral Invitational at Great Southern GC, the Diamondhead Pine Invitational, and the St Patrick Invitational at Sunkist CC. High school golfers must have competed in at least three events to be eligible for awards.

After the Shamrock Cup Invitational, the following major awards to be handed out will be Player of the Year (lowest average), First Team All-Major (10 lowest averages) and Second Team All-Major (next ten lowest averages).

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Pearl River Central’s Nick Sumner, who recently signed a golf scholarship with William Carey University, is currently fifth in the standing for POY with a 77 average. Teammate Malachi Spiers is also in the Top 20, standing 18th.

Malachi Spiers shot the lone subpar round of the day, a 2-under-70, to take individual honors last week at the Yellow Jacket Invitational Golf Tournament at Sunkist Country Club.

The Yellow Jacket Invitational, hosted by St. Martin, was the fourth of five Coast “Major’’ tournaments before teams compete for district and state honors.

“I was putting really good for the whole round,’’ Spiers said. “I was hitting the ball pretty crisp.

“I wound up making a double bogey on the last hole because of bad putting. It just came back to haunt me’’

Spiers finished up his round on No. 7.

West Jones won the team title with a sizzling score of 304, or 16-over. Pearl River Central was second at 313 and St. Stanislaus took third place at 315.

“I’ve been doing pretty good,’’ Spiers said. “I’ve placed on the all-tournament teams in one or two more tournaments.’’

While Spiers made it look relatively easy Tuesday, golfers were tested by some strong winds and fast greens at Sunkist.

“It didn’t affect me much,’’ Spiers said. “All I did was aim and play the wind.’’

The Blue Devils are eyeing a return to the state tournament. Nick Summer shot a 79 Tuesday, Mason Cunningham 81, Carter Nickelson 83 and Matthew Spiers 86. The Blue Devils have led after the first round of the state tourney the past 2 years.

“We have a very good chance but we have to get past West Jones, which shot 304 today,’’ Spiers said. “We can do it if we get our whole team in it.”

Picayune will also compete in today’s Shamrock Cup. The Maroon Tide is hoping to improve its overall play by the time the upcoming district tournament takes place at Millbrook in several weeks.