Mills looks forward to Overall challenge

Published 5:00 am Monday, May 11, 2009

Brookhaven Academy’s Jennings Mills is looking forward to thechallenge. Mills will match his golf skills with the best playersin the Mississippi Private School Association when he competes inMonday’s MPSA Overall Championship at the Hattiesburg CountryClub.

The 18-hole tournament begins at 9 a.m. tomorrow.

“I’m looking forward to Monday,” said Mills, a slender5-foot-11, 160-pound sophomore. “When it’s just 18 holes, you haveto play good golf. You can’t afford to make mistakes.”

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Mills said he has played the HCC twice before. Recognized forits tree-lined fairways, the course was devastated by HurricaneKatrina in 2005 when over 100 towering pine trees wereuprooted.

“The (HCC) greens were really fast when I played it,” saidMills.

He qualified for the Overall tourney last Monday at Grenada’sDogwood Golf Club. Mills fired a 2-under par 70 and then won a2-hole playoff with a birdie putt on the ninth hole. He defeatedAlex Malmay of Riverfield (La.) for medalist honors in AAstate.

Prentiss Christian School won the AA team title, beating RiverOaks (La.) by 2 strokes, 327-329. As a team, Brookhaven Academyplaced sixth.

Brookhaven Academy golf coach Barry Gray said Mills playedextremely well. “Jennings had 5 birdies in the first 12 holes. Hewas on fire.”

Mills said a triple bogey on a tough par-3, 195-yard hole on theback 9 hurt his score.

“I loved the greens, said Mills. “I liked the fairways and thebunkers, too. The fairways were mostly lined by woods. There werevery few out of bounds (markers),” he noted.

The 17-year-old son of Julie and Dr. Steve Mills has beenplaying golf since he was 7 years old. His dad got him interestedin the game.”

“I started to get into it when I was about 7 years old,” saidMills. He and his family are Brookhaven Country Club members.

Asked about his golf skills, Mills said, “My driving is the bestpart of my game right now. I need to work on my short game.”

He averages around 280 yards per drive. He uses a Titleist D2driver, plus Titleist irons and wedges. He relies on an Odysseyputter.

Mills receives occasional lessons from VJ Trolio, the PGA pro atOle Waverly in West Point. He said his favorite course is BandonDunes in Oregon, a course he and his father played. “It runs rightalong the Pacific Ocean.”

Asked about his favorite player on the PGA Tour, Mills said, “Ilike Phil Mickelson. He’s a real nice guy.”

He said he wouldn’t mind playing golf on the collegiate level.He said Copiah-Lincoln Community College golf coach and PGAprofessional Ronnie Ross has encouraged him to play for theWolfpack.

Mills also established himself as a sure-handed wide receiverduring the 2008 football season as the Cougars captured theDistrict 4-AA title. He also played cornerback on defense.

BA head football coach Herbert Davis has expressed interest inmoving Mills to a running back position. “I need to gain some moreweight to play running back,” said Mills.

His first priority is making a strong showing in tomorrow’stournament in Hattiesburg.