Demarkis Cooper was dressed for the part, wearing a black Nike hat with the black pants. Under his black sweater was a Sunday red — technically Wednesday red — Nike polo, the trademark color worn by world No. 1 golfer Tiger Woods on the final day of a tournament. Entering the final day of the state tournament down five shots, the Oxon Hill High School senior was just looking to channel any inner-Woods he had. If not, “at least I’ll look good,” he said.
His game wasn’t quite as sharp as his looks. He struggled at the start, bogeying four of his first five holes to shut out any chance of an individual state title. But he recovered, grinding at the University of Maryland, College Park golf course for an 80, not a score he was raving about, not one he was hanging his head over either.
“I wasn’t trusting it, really,” said Cooper, who shot a 78 on the opening round. “It’s not a big deal. After the start I made I would have had to make like 12 birdies in a row or something crazy like that. Coming into the day, I knew I would have had to get out to a really hot start to have a chance and then hold on to it. To start off it was just tough conditions. It was raining, it was cold, I couldn’t feel my fingers. It warmed up quite a bit but to start off it was just tough conditions.”
On the bright side, Cooper was joined by a good bit more of his Prince George’s County comrades than initially expected. The individual cut on Monday was originally announced at 84, meaning only Cooper and Eleanor Roosevelt’s Bryan Morris and Andrew Hung would be returning for the finals. But then, sometime on Tuesday, the cut was raised to 87, meaning Ishmail Jabbie and Lance Jewell would also be making the trip to College Park for the season finale.
“I didn’t even find out until eight last night,” said Jabbie, who shot 87, 86. “I hadn’t even touched a club, hadn’t even washed a club.”
The junior Raider had been fighting a fever all week though he wouldn’t attribute any of his uncharacteristically poor play to a raised temperature.
“I definitely haven’t been swinging it too well recently,” he said. “Two years in a row at the University of Maryland I’ve been left disappointing.”
Jewell chopped off seven shots of his opening round 86 and was the only county player to break 80 on the day. Morris coupled his Monday 79 with a Wednesday 81 and Hung was a model of consistency, finishing 84, 83.