Concord dominated Tuesday's Class 1A state golf tournament at Magnolia Country Club. The Pirates posted four of the top five individual rounds while tallying a team score of 232 ¬ 64 strokes ahead of runner-up West Side.
Junior Luke Cornett, who also shot the best round at the 1A-2 District tournament, won medalist honors at state with a low score of 74 ¬ three shots in front of Armorel's Leyton Clark (77).
Concord senior Cameron Reesor followed with a score of 77 and classmate Ryan Cornelison finished with a round of 81 to complete the Pirates' championship total. Senior AJ Cannon also earned all-state honors with a score of 85, good for fifth place individually, but it didn't count in the team total since Class 1A rules only count the top three scores.
Concord Coach Keith Cornett said the Pirates expected to win state after a disappointing runner-up finish last season. “It was a little relief. When the three seniors I have were sophomores they finished third and really didn't have a chance to win it but that kinda got us a taste of it. The next year we were the best team and we just didn't play well in the state tournament and got beat. This is just something that was fixing to happen on Tuesday. It was just complete domination.”
Cornett avoided a near disaster on his last hole to claim the individual title. “Luke hit his drive into a hazard that was kinda down in a creek on his last hole,” said coach Cornett. “He had to stand in water to hit his next shot. He could have dropped and took a stroke but he felt like he could get it out and it was a terrific shot. It was a gutsy shot but he made it.”
Although Cornett led the Pirates at district and state, Cornelison paced the team for much of the season with scores in the mid-70s while Reesor played consistently in the mid-70s to lower-80s.
Coach Cornett said all three players are capable of being the low scorer on any given outing. “I tell people all the time wherever we go that I have three No. 1's. I don't have a one, two, three … I have three No. 1's even though Ryan is probably the most consistent of the three, night in and night out when we play. None of them ever play bad and one of them will always have a low score and it just happened to be Luke the last two times. In the district tournament Luke shot two over and yesterday (Tuesday) he shot two over so he is really playing well right now.”
One of Luke's best attributes is accuracy with his driver and irons. “He hits it straight,” said coach Cornett. “When Luke gets off to a good start he can throw a monster score up. He feeds off the way he starts the day. Putting is probably his worst attribute but he is working hard on it everyday. [At state] he didn't putt bad but if there is something he needs to improve it would be his putting.”
Page 2 of 2 - Reesor made two amazing shots down the stretch for a strong finish. “Cameron chipped in twice in two out of his last six holes. One was about 15 feet off the green and then two holes later he was in a green-side bunker and chipped in out of the sand,” Cornett said.
Cannon's fifth-place finish is a testament to Concord's amazing depth. “He has really come along. You kinda feel sorry for him sometimes because his score never counts when we go to the scorecard but he is a really good golfer,” said Cornett. “And it's helped him to be around this group. They all fell in love with the game at the same time and have been working towards that day.” And “that day” came four hours south in Magnolia.
Concord won all nine of its matches this season along with four tournaments.