Randall Weems closed out the final day of the 96th Mississippi State Amateur Championship Sunday the same way he started.
The West Point native shot a +5, 77 at Old Waverly Golf Club to finish +20 in the four-day event and 30th overall.
Thursday, Weems shot a 77 and his +9, 76 on Friday was enough to make the cut.
Another native, Wilkes Bryan shot an 84 to close out the tournament. He shot a hole-in-one on number 12 on day two. Ryan Ratcliff also aced the 190 yard, number 17.
"I hit the ball really well this week," Weems said. "I was on the verge of some really good rounds this week, but I just haven't been playing that much in the last few years."
He hit 14 greens Sunday but said he struggled with his putting. For the weekend he knocked down nine birdies and hit 41 pars.
Weems credits his decade long coaching by Old Waverly's V.J. Trolio as the key to him getting back into golf shape.
This was his first competition in the last four years and just his second appearance in the the Mississippi Golf Association state championships since 2007 where he made the cut and finished in the top 50. He was just 17.
Weems hasn't played much since he started college at Mississippi State, but said he couldn't resist the chance to come back and play at his home course.
"The course was in really great shape," he said. "I really enjoyed getting back in the competitive environment again here."
Weems shot a 78 on day three and entered into the final round tied for 33rd in a tournament filled with some of the best collegiate players in the state including Ole Miss' Billy Brozovich, Southern Miss' Nick Brown and Mississippi's State Alex Rowland.
Weems no doubt has the upper hand over many other competitors. After all, this is his home course. The Oak Hill graduate, who finished third in the MAIS championships his junior season, knows this course like the back of his hand.
"As comfortable as I am out here, playing often as I have, I know where I can miss it," he said. "And that's the key. It's a big advantage. But if you cant get the ball in the hole it doesn't really matter."
Old Waverly officials have said was the best the course has been all year, and with temperatures quite warm over the last four days, high-80's to mid-90's, it took it's toll on the scoreboard. Weems said the greens were firm and the course was fast all the way around.
Although Weems hasn't been back on the course as often as he would have liked, he plans to continue to play in a few tournaments a year, just to stay in that competitive mindset.
"It's tough to go from a weekend golfer to playing in a tournament like this," he said.
For him, it's hard to resist.
"I just love the competitive nature of it (golf)," he said. "It's taught me a lot of life lessons over the years. It's helped me mature a lot."
Weems hopes to be back on the links in July at the Mississippi PGA Trustmark Invitational in Jackson.View more articles in: