Bobcat golf team seeks improvement
Written By: By Shawn Wansley
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date Submitted: 2011-02-26 09:46:40
By Shawn Wansley
JCJC Sports Information Director
ELLISVILLE – The Jones County Junior College golf team has moved up to Division II status in NJCAA competition this year.
And first-year head coach Jeff Jennings expects the Bobcats to move their on-course game up a notch, too.
“We have moved up a level in junior college golf,” said Jennings, who is in his seventh year as the head golf professional at Laurel Country Club. “We want to take them to a higher level of competition as well. We want to beef up and pay more attention to the program.”
The 2011 Bobcat golf team features three sophomores and four freshmen. The sophomores are Andrew McMahan from Long Beach, Bing Waldron from Oak Grove High School and Mitchell Smith from Simpson Academy. The freshmen are Markas Holifield and Jared Hodge from Northeast Jones, Ryan Blackwell from West Jones and Braxton Spiers from Pearl River Central.
The Bobcats started off the season by finishing eighth in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Invitational on Feb. 6-7 at The Oaks Golf Club in Pass Christian.
Jennings believes they can perform better than they showed in the first tournament.
“The guys know how to play – we just have to teach them how to think,” he said. “For the freshmen, it’s a huge learning experience going from high school to college and you could tell that in the first event. Our players were nervous and there was nothing to be nervous about it.”
The Bobcats are currently trying to select their top five players to compete in the next tournament – the Co-Lin Community College Invitational, which will be March 6-7. The first round of that tournament will be at Wolf Hollow Golf Club on the Co-Lin campus and round two will be held at Brookhaven Country Club.
McMahan posted the team’s best score at The Oaks, firing an 82-78 – 160, which was good enough for a ninth place overall finish in the tournament.
“Andrew is exempt from qualifying for the next tournament,” said Jennings. “The other players will play five qualifying rounds and we will take those who make the best scores to Co-Lin.”
Jennings has coached before on the collegiate level. He played at Southern Miss from 1984-88 and served as an assistant under then head coach Jimmy Carpenter for the Golden Eagles after graduation. He served as a teaching pro in Hattiesburg for several years before coming to the Laurel Country Club in 2004.
“I have not coached in a long time, but I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “The main thing is I expect us to improve in each tournament. And I think you will see that starting at Co-Lin.”
Jennings believes the program should continue to progress in the future.
“We want to keep the kids in the surrounding area at Jones instead of them having to go off and play golf somewhere else,” he said. “They will get to play and practice at the Laurel Country Club, which is a pretty good recruiting weapon.”
The Bobcats will compete in the Northwest Mississippi Community College Invitational on March 21-22 and the East Mississippi Community College Invitational on April 3-4. The MACJC Tournament will be at Deerfield Country Club in Jackson on April 11-12 and the Region 23 Tournament will be held at a date to be determined at Riverbirch Golf Club in Amory.