Kaiser finishes top 25, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College finishes first in Meridian Golf Tournament

Published 1:04 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2022

No. 2 Mississippi Gulf Coast didn’t leave much doubt at the end of a long day. The Bulldogs surged back from a three-shot first-round deficit to beat the hosts at the Lou Hart Invitational by 10 shots Monday in Meridian.

“I’m a big fan of winning closes matches, but I’m an even bigger fan of running away with them,” Gulf Coast coach Brad Thornton said. “I was very pleased with how they handled it today.”

Cathedral alum Chase Kaiser finished tied for 25th shooting 16 over par with a 78 in the first round and an 80 in the second round. He is in his freshman year at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

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David Beard (Fr., Madison/Madison Central) won medalist honors, finishing five ahead of teammate Reeves Johnson (So., Madison/Germantown). The Bulldogs had four golfers in the top seven finishers in the final MACCC tournament of the season.

The 36-hole tournament was compressed to one day to beat the severe weather forecast for Tuesday. No. 5 Meridian finished second, with Northeast Mississippi third.

Beard shot 4-under in the second round after finishing the first round tied for the lead at even-par 71. He had five birdies on the second 18 holes.

He won the Mississippi Junior Amateur title at the Northwood Country Club in 2020.

“I just feel really good on that course,” Beard said. “I’ve won there before, and I knew there were plenty of birdie holes out there and if I made some putts I would score pretty well.”

Alessio Graziani (Fr., Johannesburg, South Africa/Beaulieu College), who was playing as an individual, shot 68 in the second round to finish fourth at 3-over and earn All-Tournament Team honors with Beard and Johnson. Matt Wilkinson (So., Madison/Madison Central) was 1-under in his second round, finishing seventh at 6-over.

Gulf Coast, which won its first tournament of the spring semester, will have a couple weeks away from competition before the postseason starts. The MACCC Championship will be played April 8-9 at Wolf Hollow Golf Club in Wesson.

The Bulldogs have played five events in six weeks, a mental and physical grind.

“It’s great to finish on a high note,” Thornton said. “These guys know what the game plan is moving into postseason. We’ll get a little more rest and everybody can get their legs back underneath them.”