Beau Pré all set for Farm Bureau start

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 20, 2001

The grass has been cut and watered to the Professional Golf Association’s specifications. The checkered-red-and-white Farm Bureau flags have been placed in all 18 tin cups. And the range balls have been stacked in pyramids, just like they are at professional tournaments.

The event that everyone in the Natchez golfing community has been waiting for has finally come. The Farm Bureau Invitational begins today at 7:30 a.m., as Danny Hooker, Bill Lambert and Grady Lodes tee off in Mississippi’s version of an open tournament. A total of 160 professional and amateur golfers will take to the Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club course.

Tee times will start at 7:30 a.m. and continue in 10-minute increments until 2:20 p.m. Some groups will start at the first hole and some at the tenth hole.

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Beau Pr\u00E9 club professional Mark Powell and the grounds crew have been working long hours every day getting the course in championship shape. Yesterday, work crews took care of the small, but important details, like setting up the scoreboard and scoring tent. Farm Bureau representatives were in the clubhouse, as well as Natchez Convention and Visitors Bureau representatives. Just about everything is ready for today’s event.

&uot;I think we’re just about there,&uot; said Powell.

The hard work has paid off, as many golfers and PGA officials have complimented Powell and the crew on the course’s appearance.

&uot;So far everything’s been positive,&uot; Powell said. &uot;We’re doing all the public relations work we can, as far as getting everybody lined up.&uot;

The field is complete with club pros and amateurs. Defending champion Rob Autry will start his round at 1:20 p.m. at the first hole. Two-time champs Rett Crowder and Anthony Price tee off at 12:40 p.m. at the first hole.

Golf fans might want to keep an eye out for the youngest players in the field. Mark Carter, a 16-year-old from Natchez and a junior at Cathedral High, fires away at 1:20 p.m. on the No. 10 hole. Lee Jones, a 14-year-old from Natchez and a freshman at Trinity Episcopal Day School, will follow Carter’s group at 1:30 p.m. on the tenth hole.

Play will continue on Saturday and Sunday at the same tee times. No cuts in the field will be made.

Professionals will play for cash prizes. Amateurs will play for gift certificates and merchandise prizes.