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Golf: White Plains' Okins finishes tied for fifth at State Junior Championship

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White Plains' Kenny Okins watches his tee shot during a 4A sub-state high school golf tournament Monday at Silver Lakes Golf Course. (Photo by Trent Penny)

COVID-19 robbed Kenny Okins of most of his junior golf season at White Plains and his chance to play for the Alabama North All-Stars. He still came away with a major confidence boost, headed into his senior year.

Okins finished tied for fifth in the Alabama Golf Association’s 75th State Junior Championship. This after shooting a 1-over-par 73 during Thursday’s third round on the Goose Pond Colony Resort’s Lake Course.

Okins finished 8 under for the tournament, six shots back of winner Max Johnson, from Fairhope. Okins tied Huntsville’s Nick Dunlap.

“To have this confidence on the golf course now, after playing like that, it’s just great,” Okins said. “I know I can contend with these great players. I can compete and have a chance to win.”

Okins entered Thursday tied with Johnson for the lead, after shooting 67-68 in the first two rounds. The difference Thursday was his putter.

“I hit the ball good today. It’s just the putts weren’t falling today,” he said. “They fell the first two days and weren’t giving it to me today.

“I still didn’t play bad. Playing with Max and Greg (Jones, from Mobile) was a lot of fun.”

Okins rebounded from early hiccups in the first two rounds. On Tuesday, he birdied his second hole then bogeyed ahead of a weather delay.

“After that, it was all forward from there,” he said. “I played real good. I hit 16 of my 18 greens the first day. I was hitting everything correct.”

Wednesday, he double bogeyed his fourth hole after his ball settled against a tree, forcing him to lay up, but he wound up with seven birdies on the day to finish 5-under par.

“I think I hit every green on my back nine,” he said. “Everything was close. I made four birdies from inside 10 feet.”

Okins called his first two rounds in Scottsboro “by far the best” rounds he’s played in tournament golf, especially in such a significant event.

Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.