Baucom pulls away to win Future Masters 10-under title

BY KEN ROGERS [email protected] Jun 23, 2020

Grayson Baucom felt right at home on the Dothan Country Club golf course again on Tuesday.

The Hickory, N.C., resident fired an even-par second round and pulled away to a five-stroke victory in the Press Thornton Future Masters 10-under age division.

Baucom took a one-shot lead after Monday’s first nine-hole round, a 2-under-par 33 on the front nine. On Tuesday’s back side, he hit clutch shots at key times and avoided big numbers that hurt his playing partners and allowed him to pull away.

Baucom finished the tournament with a 2-under-par 68 total. He won by five shots over Cavin Hall of Moultrie, Ga., who shot a 73. Two shots further back were Jude Desmond of Pompano Beach, Fla., and Maxwell Morgan of Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

That he did it in front of extended family was a bonus. Buddy and Janice Jones, longtime Dothan residents, are Baucom’s maternal grandparents. The champion had his own parents, Mark and Jennifer Baucom, and extended some family cheering him on.

“I thank my grandparents for letting me stay at their house,” Baucom said. “My 5-year-old cousin, Trent Jones, watched me both days. I’m glad my mom and dad and my grandparents and cousins came to watch me.”

They saw a good show. He started the round with a one-shot lead over playing partners Hall and Morgan. Cyrus Joseph of Melbourne, Fla., also played in the final foursome.

Baucom opened a two-shot lead when he birdied the par-3 No. 11. He hit a 9-iron to 10 feet on the 111-yard hole and made the putt.

“My players, they were really nice to me,” Baucom said. “Cavin was giving me fist bumps the whole round. I was trying to be nice to him and he was really nice to me.”

Hall pulled back within a shot when he birdied the 12{sup}th{/sup} hole.

Baucom made a clutch nine-foot par putt that kept his lead at one shot on No. 13. He excitedly pumped his fist when he saw the putt fall.

“It was pretty big because he (Hall) had just birdied the last hole,” Baucom said. “That meant I was just one up. He was in with a par and was like, ‘I’ve got to make this.’”

The next two holes allowed him to pull away.

Hall, his closest pursuer, pulled his approach shot into the ditch left of the green.

“I had 111 yards in and when Cavin went left, I said, ‘OK Grayson, focus. Don’t get too excited. Just put it in the middle of the green.’ And I had a 22-footer left and two-putted.”

He called 15 an even bigger hole. He was over the green and in a bunker in two shots, facing a downhill sand shot.

“I chipped it with a lob wedge and hit it to a foot and saved par there,” he said.

His lead wasn’t threatened after that point.

His father, Mark Baucom, said he “broke down” as it set in that his son was going to win the tournament.

“This was his 75th tournament,” Baucom said of his 10-year-old. “He just loves the game.”

“We were here last year and we weren’t quite there yet, you know?” grandfather Buddy Jones said. “This was really special to us, it really was. He’s a really good kid.

“He came down here and stayed with us about two weeks. Me and my wife were born and raised here. His mother, Jennifer, was born here in Dothan, also. We had to move in 1985 for a job with the airlines. She grew up in Memphis and she married Mark and they live in Hickory, N.C.”

Mark Baucom said Grayson’s 76th tournament will be next weekend in Pinehurst, N.C. He said the fine play and sportsmanship of the final round was impressive.

“Those kids fought hard. They were grinding. Their parents were some of the most supportive parents we’ve ever been around. It’s the most supportive group of kids we’ve ever played with,” the winner’s father said.

He also expressed his thanks to the tournament director Kevin Klein, tournament coordinator Angelia Wade Turner and DCC assistant pro John Fountain.

“Those three have been beyond supportive of us and us trying to come down here a few times a year, like when we’re down here at Christmas time,” Mark Baucom said. “The hospitality from them and Lyn Thornton met us yesterday and talked to us. It’s the most unbelievable group of people and marshals we’ve ever been around.”

Zachary Felton of Estero, Fla., won the Bill Maddox Award — which annually is presented to the 10-under golfer who improves the most from the first round to the second. Felton shot a 46 on Tuesday, an eight-stroke improvement from Monday’s 54.