Blue leads MPGA Championship

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 23, 1999

Ernie Blue shot a 32 on the back nine at Beau Pre Country Club Monday to propel him to the first-round lead at the Michelob MPGA Chapter Championship.

Blue is the golf pro at Old Waverly Golf Course in West Point.

Anthony Kail of Kirkwood National of Holly Springs fired a 71 to hold down second place.

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Tied for third at 72 is Leigh Brannon of Colonial-Deerfield of Madison and Ernest Ross of Country Club of Jackson.

Mark Powell of Beau Pre is tied for ninth place at 75, while Marvin Gray, golf pro at Duncan Park, is at 78.

Natchez native Blane Merritt of Mississippi State Golf Course shot a 77.

Blue shot a 37 on the front nine to finish at 69.

&uot;I&160;parred the first eight holes on the back nine,&uot; Blue said. &uot;Nothing was working for me. I got it one the greens. I was very patient and let the the golf course work for me. On No. 10 I saved par to make at 1-over.&uot;

Blue said he enjoyed his first day playing on Beau Pre.

&uot;If you hit a bad shot, you get penalized,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s a beautiful golf course.&uot;

Blue said he believes he needs to shoot two or three under par to win it.

Mississippi PGA Executive Director Jeff Morton was back on the course after giving Beau Pre a high rating in the spring. The course opened in July.

&uot;I thought it was an awesome course,&uot;&160;Morton said. &uot;It’s in great shape. It’s a fun golf course to play, but it is very hard to play.&uot;

The tournament concludes today.