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City championship: Lessley changes golf routine

NATCHEZ — Last year, local golfer Jay Lessley didn’t practice at all leading up to the Bill McKinney Memorial Natchez City Championship golf tournament.

Despite winning the city championship without picking up a club for an extended time, Lessley said he decided to change things up in anticipation of the 2013 city championship, which takes place Aug. 3-4 at Duncan Park.

“I’ve been playing a little,” Lessley said. “I’ve been playing more this year than I did last year. Last year, I hadn’t played a round of golf (before the championship), but this year I have practiced.”

But after winning the event without a practice routine, Lessley joked that he wonders if he should have just stuck with what worked a year ago.

“Maybe that should have been my game plan,” Lessley said, laughing. “Sometimes it’s like riding a bicycle — you can just come out and play.”

Lessley said he’s won at least four city championships, and he’s expecting a good field in a few weeks, with names such as Greg Brooking, Casey Ham, Pete Powell, Jordan Farmer and Lee Jones to be among those golfing.

“I’m sure Casey Ham will be chomping at the bits to win,” Lessley said, referring to the area golfer who made it to the final round of the National Golf Association’s Magnolia Bluffs Casino Classic last weekend.

The NGA Tour event was a nice outing for Lessley this past weekend, and he said he wouldn’t have minded playing in it — except when it came to the rain.

“I went out and watched a little,” Lessley said. “They hit the ball well. I would have loved to try it, but I don’t think I could have made 36 holes on Friday. That was a lot of golf.”

Though he may have several city titles to his name already, Lessley said he never tires of taking to the course and going against other local golfers every summer.

“I like the competition,” he said. “I just enjoy playing. I’m competitive anyway; it’s just my nature. It ought to be a lot of fun this year. I imagine there will be a pretty strong field. The course is winnable by probably a dozen people or better.”

The chance to play at Duncan Park is a major reason he enjoys the city championship, Lessley said. And he also said he’s impressed with the shape of the course.

“It’s in better shape than it was a year ago,” Lessley said. “It’s incredible what kind of shape it’s in.”

Registration for the city championship is currently ongoing. For more information, call the Duncan Park Pro Shop at 601-442-5955.