Kye Meeks goes back-to-back at 109th Mississippi Amateur

Kye Meeks goes back-to-back at 109th Mississippi Amateur

June 23, 2024

TUPELO, Miss. — Ole Miss rising senior, Kye Meeks wins the 109th Mississippi Amateur presented by Twain Insurance. The Walnut, Mississippi, native fired rounds of 67, 71, 67 and 66 (-17, 271) at Tupelo Country Club to secure his second state amateur title in as many years.

Meeks trailed Ole Miss men’s assistant golf coach, Emerson Newsome, by a stroke heading into the day. Together in the final group, alongside 2024 Mississippi Boys Junior Amateur champion, Tucker Gutirrez, the pair of Rebels duked it out across Tupelo CC for the state title.

Meeks and Newsome were not the blue and red at the top of the leaderboard, as rising Rebel sophomore, Collins Trolio, lurked 5 back of the lead at the beginning of Sunday’s final round. Also giving chase to the lead was TCC member, Joe Deraney. The 29th-ranked mid-am in the World Amateur Golf Rankings was battling back injuries throughout the week but nonetheless, played his way into the penultimate group on Sunday, looking to close the four-shot gap between him and 54-hole leader, Newsome.

With a stacked top 10, the patrons that graced Tupelo Country Club’s grounds on Sunday were dazzled with spectacular play from the best amateur golfers Mississippi has to offer.

As Meeks and Newsome battled throughout the front nine, Newsome grew his lead to three shots as the group made it to the par-4 9th hole. Pulling his drive nearly out of bounds, Newsome was forced to punch out and scramble for bogey. With Meeks carding a birdie and bringing Newsome’s lead back to one, we had ourselves a tournament.

Deraney threw his hat into the ring, one group ahead of Meeks and Newsome. Using his local knowledge to navigate tough pins, Deraney quickly closed the gap. He got to 5 under on the day and 13 under for the week through 12 holes, getting him well within striking range with just six holes remaining.

Behind him, the battle between player and coach had only begun.

Gaining momentum with the two-shot swing on No. 9, Meeks rattled off two more birdies to start his back nine. With seven holes to go, Meeks took his first solo lead of the tournament at 15 under.

Newsome struggled to get anything going after being electric around and on the greens all week long. Struggling with iron play and shots off the tee, Newsome was putting to save par, rather than scoring to hang with Meeks.

With Deraney in at 12 under, Meeks (-17) and Newsome (-13) made it to the driveable 276-yard,  par 4 16th knowing it was practically a two-horse race. Meeks laid up shy of the water that protects the left side of the green while Newsome, forced to make something happen, pushed a 3-wood pin high but into the crowd right of the green.

Meeks came away with par following an up-and-down attempt that nearly went in while Newsome followed suit with a par of his own. All that stood in the way between Meeks and his second Mississippi Amateur title were two holes.

Following a routine par on 17, Meeks left his birdie putt just a couple of rolls short on the 18th green. With Gutierrez already holed out, he nearly hurried his tap-in for par. Newsome spoke up while Meeks caught himself. Coach Newsome wanted his player to have his winning moment all to himself.

Marking the tap-in, Newsome cleaned up his par, leaving Meeks with a tap-in to officially secure his second consecutive Mississippi Amateur Championship.

Immediately, the two shook hands which quickly turned into a congratulatory hug, illustrating that a coach is always proud of his players, even if they’re competing against one another.

With the victory, Meeks was awarded an exemption into the 124th U.S. Amateur (His third time to compete in the event), hosted by Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota August 12-18th. Hazeltine National has hosted 12 major golf events since 1966, most notably the 1970 & 1991 U.S. Open, the 2016 Ryder Cup and most recently the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Coverage of the 124th U.S. Amateur Championship can be seen on Golf Channel, NBC and streamed on Peacock.