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Three county teams win division championships

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
April 18, 2001
In a span of just a few hours Tuesday, a trio of high school golf teams in Lauderdale County beat the wind and their respective opponents to capture Mississippi High School Activities Association division tournaments.
Northeast Lauderdale won for the eighth time this season by capturing the Division 5-4A Tournament at the Laurel Country Club, while West Lauderdale won the 5-3A title at Decatur and Clarkdale brought home the 4-2A crown at Ponta Creek.
Each of the three also sported the medalist in their respective tourneys: Northeast's A.J. Long shot a 74 and won on the first hole of a playoff; Clarkdale's Daniel Boles fired a 76; and West's Matt Smith shot a 74.
All three advance to their respective state tournaments in May.
Division 5-4A: Northeast's team total of 311 was 10 shots better than Laurel and 19 shots better than third-place West Jones.
Long's 74 was followed by Clinton Hales' 76, John Barr's 80, Matt Downing's 81 and Brian Stringer's 84.
Quitman finished fourth in the event with a total of 356. The Panthers were led by Yancy Whitaker and Barry Howard, who each shot an 83.
Division 5-3A: Smith's 74 and a consistent effort from Richard Ferguson (85), Shane Parker (85) and Josh Boyette (90) helped the Knights capture the 5-3A title at the Decatur Country Club by 30 strokes over second-place Carthage which fired a 360.
Newton County was a close third with a score of 361, as Kody Comans fired an 82 for the Cougars and Michael Kelly an 89.
Southeast Lauderdale was fourth in the event with a 378, and the Tigers were led by Travis Riley (91) and Kenny Neal (92).
Dillon Vaughn fired a 95 and had the low score for Choctaw Central, which was fifth with a 401.
West and Northeast's teams will be in action in the Class 3A and 4A state tournaments on May 8-9, which will both be held at Dixie Country Club in Laurel.
Division 4-2A: Clarkdale shot a 326 and all five Bulldogs were under 90 at NAS Meridian.
Clarkdale was 27 strokes better than second-place Sumrall, and in doing so, picked up its third win of the year.
The Bulldogs are also in state action May 8-9 when they visit Wolf Hollow at Copiah-Lincoln Community College in Wesson for the 2A tourney,
Tyler Phillips shot an 80 for Clarkdale, while Paul Gower fired an 85, Jared Culpepper an 85 and William Clinton an 87.
Enterprise was third with a 368, led by Kyle Murray's 84 and Dennis Watson's 92.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.

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