Powell wins title

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 30, 2001

Despite a one-over-par round of 72 and briefly giving up the lead to defending champion Jay Lessley on Sunday, Pete Powell won the 2001 Bill McKenney Memorial Natchez Golf Championship at the Duncan Park Golf Course.

Powell, who had a two-shot lead going into Sunday’s final round, finished with a two-day score of 138.

Not only did Powell win his 11th city championship, but he also became the first person to win the championship in four different decades – the 1970s (1977, 1978, and 1979), the 1980s (1981, 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987), the 1990s (1990 and 1999) and the 2000s (2001).

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&uot;I reckon I was thinking about it all day,&uot; he said. &uot;This one felt really good.&uot;

However, the road to his victory this year wasn’t easy. Lessley, who defeated Powell in a playoff last year, took the lead after 10 holes when he birdied the 10th hole, and Powell had to settle for a par.

Lessley then bogeyed the 12th hole and double-bogeyed the 13th hole that gave Powell a three-shot lead. Lessley then birdied 14 to get back within two shots of the lead.

&uot;On the 15th hole, I hit into real heavy rough, and he (Lessley) hit a 9-iron to about 30 feet (from the hole),&uot; Powell said. &uot;He missed the birdie putt, and I parred from 20 feet.&uot;

Powell said that hole was the turning point for him as he held on for a two-shot win over Lessley, who also had with a final-round 72 to finish at 140.

Dusty Hutto, who had back-to-back rounds of 1-under 70, finished in third place.

Hutto was one of only four players to shoot under par on Sunday.

The other three finished one-two-three in the first flight – Bubba Kaiser (74-70, 144); Eric Smith (75-70, 145); and Mitch Ashmore (75-70, 145).

&uot;The course looks good,&uot; Kaiser said. &uot;I hit a lot of greens today, but I couldn’t make the putts to get my score any lower.&uot;

Larry Davis shot an even-par 71 for a two-day score of 149 for first place in the second flight.

&uot;I played pretty good,&uot; he said. &uot;I birdied the first hole, and then I made a whole bunch of pars.&uot;

After a birdie on 14, Davis bogeyed two of the last four holes for his 71.

Neal Partridge (82-73 155) won a scorecard playoff over Paul Sparks (80-75 155) with a birdie on the 7th hole for first place in the third flight.

&uot;I hit it decent. I had some bad holes. Then I birdied three in a row – 15, 16 and 17,&uot; Partridge said.