Mel Beltzhoover hits a tee shot on the front nine holes of Beau Pre Country Club during the Tom Matthews Memorial Golf  Scramble Saturday. Sixty-six players competed in the tournament which will benefit junior golfers preparing to move into collegiate golf. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)
Mel Beltzhoover hits a tee shot on the front nine holes of Beau Pre Country Club during the Tom Matthews Memorial Golf Scramble Saturday. Sixty-six players competed in the tournament which will benefit junior golfers preparing to move into collegiate golf. (Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat)

66 compete in Tom Matthews Memorial Golf Scramble

Published 12:01am Sunday, June 23, 2013

NATCHEZ — For a good portion of Saturday afternoon after completing its first round of the inaugural Tom Matthews Memorial Two-Person Scramble at Beau Pré Country Club, the team of Lee Jones and Cole Bradford had the clubhouse lead at 13-under-par 59.

However, there were still two teams that were paired together, didn’t start their rounds until 1 p.m. and would have something to say about which team — or teams — would be leading the championship flight.

As it turned out, the team of Jeff Anderson and Casey Ham and the team of Kevin Smith Jr. and Wesley Rogers ended up with a share of the lead at 14-under-par 58. The Anderson/Ham team shot 29 on both the front and back nines while the Smith Jr./Rogers team had a front-nine 28 and a back-nine score of 30.

The Jones/Bradford team had eagles on No. 12 and No. 18 to go along with nine birdies.

“We played good. My partner carried me around,” Jones said. “We shot a good number. Hopefully, we’ll make a few more putts. The golf course is in great shape and it’s a tough challenge.”

Tee Cotten, who teamed with Richard Edgin to shoot an opening-round 6-under-par 66 for a share of the lead in the first flight with two other teams, said that the Jones/Bradford team could have shot 20-under-par.

Beau Pré Country Club board of directors president Chuck Fields said the tournament is a good way to continue what Matthews started 20 years ago as the Wharlest Jackson Elks Lodge Scramble.

“This is to raise money for scholarships for seniors on local high school golf teams who are graduating. We’re trying to carry on the tradition that Tom started,” Fields said. “Thanks to the Wharlest Jackson Lodge for their hard work for keeping it going.”

Fields added that he was pleased with the turnout of 33 two-person teams.

“The turnout was very good. Some years, we have a few more teams. Other years, we have fewer teams. It’s a better-than-average turnout,” Fields said. “We have an awful lot of people and businesses who don’t participate in the tournament, but they make contributions of prizes or cash to help with the scholarship money.”

Today’s final round will have an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start.