SAUCIER – East Mississippi Community College freshman Joey Partin has earned an invitation to compete in next month's NJCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship based on his season-long play within the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) circuit.
While tying for ninth place individually during this week's NJCAA District D Championship played at Grand Bear Golf Course, Partin received an exempt into the upcoming national tournament by posting the best season stroke average (74.14) among those MACJC golfers not advancing to nationals with their respective teams. The NJCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship is slated for May 23-26 at Longbow Golf Course in Mesa, Arizona.
As a team at this week's district tournament, EMCC (315-308--623) placed fourth in the five-team field ahead of Itawamba (326-315—641). With Copiah-Lincoln (299-289--588) running away with the district title by a dozen strokes over host Mississippi Gulf Coast (317-283—600) and 16 shots better than third-place Meridian (312-292--604), the top three teams from the district event all advanced to the national tournament.
In addition to the Co-Lin, Gulf Coast and Meridian teams advancing to nationals, EMCC's Partin along with district championship medalist Cameron Foster of Northwest Mississippi (72-72—144) were the two individuals not among the qualifying teams to also garner postseason invites. Foster held off Co-Lin teammates Brandon Blakney (75-70—145) and Zachary Smith (74-71—145) by one stroke to capture the individual title and earn the automatic invitation to next month's national tournament.
For Coach Benji Williams' East Mississippi Lions, Partin again led the way with a 7-over-par 151 (73-78) to finish in a three-way tie for ninth place. EMCC's MACJC All-State first-team selection previously sat in a second-place tie following Monday's 1-over-par 73 on the 6,741-yard, par-72 layout.
Fellow Lion freshman Eli Hemphill finished in a four-way tie for 17th place with a 159 total (82-77), while Michael McGill (83-77—160) and Conner Stevens (77-85—162) tied for 21st and 24th place, respectively. Sophomore Kent Vaughn rounded out EMCC's district tournament scorecard with a 28th-place finish (89-76—165).
Partin's upcoming appearance in next month's NJCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship will mark the seventh EMCC golfer to compete in the national tournament during the past nine years.