E.A. Sports Today

Beam focused at state

White Plains senior opens state with 77, dedicating his play to the memory of his sister

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MOBILE — The last three weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for White Plains senior Drennen Beam.

On top of the pressure of high school finals and competing for county and state championships with the Wildcats’ golf team, he has had to endure the loss of his 16-year-old sister Keaten in a terrible car crash.

Through it all, the golf course has been his sanctuary, the place he can escape for hours at a time the realities of life and be alone with his thoughts.

Beam was in the leadoff spot for the Wildcats in Monday’s opening round of the boys Class 4A state tournament at Magnolia Grove and there was no place he would have rather been.

“The golf course to me is my life,” he said after posting 77 on the Falls Course. “I love playing golf … It’s everything I do.”

But it admittedly has been a challenge to focus on his game since losing his sister. Sunday’s practice round for what will be his final high school tournament — one Keaten surely would’ve attended as part of the White Plains’ girls program — was especially difficult.

Some days, of course, are better than others. His thoughts often turn to memories of Keaten following the boys around the course. It becomes particularly moving when a special song Keaten liked pops into his head.

“Yesterday was a really hard day for me, thinking about everything, her being here,” he said. “But I’m doing it for her. I want to win this for her.”

Beam’s 6-over 77 Monday was the Wildcats’ second-best score of the day and tied for sixth individually. If he could’ve gotten a few more putts to roll over instead of stopping on the edge or horseshoeing out it would’ve been even better.

The accident occurred just a few hours after Keaton and the White Plains girls watched Beam and the boys win the school’s first-ever boys county championship.

The boys team was scheduled to play in an event the following Monday and, understandably, Beam didn’t play, but his teammates did in memory of Keaton. He did play in the sectional and sub-state tournaments and earned his spot in this week’s lineup after what coach Marcus Harrell called “a great week of practice.” He shot 38-39 Monday.

“It’s been hard, it really has,” he said. “I’ve struggled with it but honestly it has made me better.

“All I can think about is doing it for Keaten. I think it’s made me realize my potential to get good to the best of my abilities and come here and shoot the best I can and focus and not worry about anything else but doing it for my sister who I really love and miss.”

Harrell said he was “very proud” of Beam’s play Monday, the way he handles himself and expects the senior to play “his very best” in what will be his final scholastic round Tuesday.

Beam’s mother Kristi called her son the family’s emotional rock through this difficult time.

“Brennan’s not one who gets on something and lets it bring him down,” she said. “He’s going to find the good in everything.”

The coaches at Birmingham Southern recognized his game; he has received an academic scholarship to the school and will play golf for it next season.

He was the one who pursued the college spot, approaching every place he thought might have an opportunity. The story goes the Panthers had one roster spot left, three prospects to consider (including Beam) and decided he was the final piece to their puzzle.

“Everything is going the way I’ve wanted to,” Beam said. “I’m starting to hit the ball the best I’ve ever hit it. I just have to get a few more putts to roll and it should work for me.”

It was a “very disappointing” day for the Wildcats overall as they shot 314 as a team and were third out of four teams. They were 12 shots behind leader St. James and nine behind a UMS-Wright team they figured to be favored with, and there was a time in the round they expected to be back farther.

But they have the leaders within their sights, and that’s half the battle.

“I told my assistant coach (Justin) Mallicoat if we’re less than 15 going into last day we’ve got a fighter’s chance,” Harrell said. “Thank God we do. We’re going to come out swinging first hole tomorrow.”

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