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Brooking, Byrne, Mississippi claim Gov.’s Cup

TEXARKANA, Ark. — After a dominant performance in Day 1 of the 2013 Governor’s Cup at Texarkana, Ark., the Mississippi Golf Association needed just six and a half points in Saturday morning’s singles (individual) matches to bring the cup back to the Magnolia State.

The Arkansas State Golf Association, on the other hand, needed a miracle to keep the cup in the Natural State after having a tough Friday in both the four-ball and foursome (alternate shot) matches.

And there was no such luck for the defending championship team as the MGA won five matches and tied three others go give it the 20 1/2 points needed to win the Governor’s Cup. The ASGA also had six and a half points for 12 1/2 points, but the outcome had been decided.

And there were still seven matches taking place on the course at that time. And while the outcome of the singles matches was much closer than the four-ball and alternate shot matches — 11 points for the MGA and nine points for the ASGA, the MGA still ended up adding to its already impressive lead to finish with 25 total points while the ASGA wound up with 15 total points.

Two members of the MGA team that played very well over the two-day event and won their matches on Saturday were Bill Byrne and Greg Brooking from Natchez.

Byrne rallied to defeat Keith Browning of Bryant 2&1 after giving away an early 3-up lead.

“I started out good. I won the first three holes. But then he whittled that away from me,” Byrne said. “Walking off the 11th green, I was 1-down. Then I won three of the next six holes to win the match.”

“I just made some mistakes and let him back in the match. I made a couple of up-and-downs on the last few holes,” Byrne added.

Bryne was also complimentary of the Texarkana County Club course.

“It’s an awesome course. Tree-lined and very, very fast greens. Beautifully conditioned. Both teams were impressed with the golf course.”

Byrne said he was very pleased that the Mississippi Golf Association won the back the Governor’s Cup. This was Byrne’s first time playing in this event.

Brooking said that he, Byrne and everyone on the team was very ecstatic about bringing the cup back to Mississippi.

Brooking held off a valiant effort by Clark Fitts of Little Rock to defeat him 1-up. Brooking won the match with a par on the 18th hole.

“I didn’t know how good of a player Clark was. He gave me all the match I had,” Brooking said. “I made a couple of mistakes. He was a very good player. It went back and forth between us. He was 1-up at the turn. I got 2-up after 11. He got back to even by 15. I won 16 and tied 17 and 18 to win the match.”

He said that the course was “very tough and challenging and in magnificent shape for this tournament.”

“I don’t want to every putt on any greens faster than that. They were fast like Augusta National,” Brooking noted.

As it turned out, the MGA had 14 points heading into Saturday’s action and the ASGA had six points – not the 14 1/2 point-to-5 1/2-point lead that Brooking said it had late Friday afternoon. One of Friday’s alternate shot matches, Clay Homan and Richard Reed, both from Starkville, against Lyle Middleton of Conway and Trey Schaap of North Little Rock, finished all-square, giving both teams half a point.