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No. 2 Bulldogs win yet another district title

No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast clinched a trip to the national championship in style Wednesday. The Bulldogs won the NJCAA District D title by seven shots over No. 10 Meridian, making it 12 of the last 13 region/district crowns for the program.

Chase Wilkinson (Fr, Madison Central/Madison) finished in a tie for first at the end of 36 holes before falling in a three-person playoff. Meridian’s Diego Leslie won the playoff to break the tie at 6-over, with his teammate Ethan Dyess also in the mix.

“Chase gets the game ball,” Gulf Coast coach Tommy Snell said. “Our four-man was in a playoff for medalist. He just really played great, especially down the stretch. When we were tied on 15, which is a tough par-3, he knocked it to 2 feet and made birdie.”

That was one of three birdies for the five Gulf Coast golfers on the hole. The Bulldogs also played their two bugaboo holes from Tuesday much better. They lost 11 shots on Nos. 13 and 17 in the first round, but played them at 1-under in the second.

Wilkinson was joined on the All-District Team by Matt Wilkinson (Fr, Madison Central/Madison) and Reeves Johnson (Fr, Germantown/Madison). Matt Wilkinson had a three-shot lead after 18, but ran into a string of bad golfing luck.

He had a shot land in a divot on one hole and saw a shot land a half-inch out of bounds on another.

“Matt has been stellar the whole year,” Snell said. “He was having, for him, a very uncharacteristic day. It just goes to show you how the team picked him up.”

Matt Wilkinson finished fourth at 7-over, and Johnson was fifth another shot back. Hayden Green (So, D’Iberville/Biloxi) rebounded from a poor first round with a 75, tied for the fourth-best score of the day, to help carry the team.

Northeast Mississippi finished third, 33 shots back of Gulf Coast. The Tigers will send three individuals to the national tournament, with Itawamba and Southwest sending one each.

Gulf Coast has won 15 region or district titles since 1990. The Bulldogs will play in the NJCAA Division II Championship in Plymouth, Ind., on May 18-21. The team finished third there in 2019 and fourth in 2016 and 2014.

Team Scores

School                              Score

  1. Gulf Coast                     304-303—607 (+31)
  2. Meridian                       305-309—614 (+38)
  3. Northeast Mississippi     319-321—640 (+64)
  4. Copiah-Lincoln             337-329—666 (+90)
  5. Itawamba                      352-334—686 (+110)

MGCCC Scores

Player                              Score

T2. Chase Wilkinson         77-73—150 (+6)

  1. Matt Wilkinson              72-79—151 (+7)
  2. Reeves Johnson             76-76—152 (+8)
  3. Hayden Green               81-75—156 (+12)

T10. Ethan Trouth             79-81—160 (+16)

For more information on MGCCC’s 10 intercollegiate athletic teams, follow @MGCCCBulldogs on Twitter and MGCCCBulldogs on Facebook, and go to mgcccbulldogs.com.