Taylor tops amateurs in qualifier

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; Dow Taylor of Jackson didn’t let gusty winds bother him too much as he shot a 1-under-par 71 to claim medalist honors at the Mississippi Golf Association State Amateur Qualifier Sunday at Beau Pr Country Club.

&uot;The key to this course is hitting it off the tee and in play,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;I hit a lot of irons off the tees so I could make pars. Some of the par-5s are reachable in two, and I made a couple of birdies on them.

&uot;The golf course is nice. I was really impressed.&uot;

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Taylor was among 13 golfers who were vying for the top six spots who will advance to the MGA State Amateur Championship at Tupelo Country Club on June 5-8.

Taylor also said he has quite a bit of work to do to get ready for State Amateur Championship.

Conrad &uot;Chi Chi&uot; Barnes of Natchez finished second with a round of 74.

&uot;It was an average round,&uot; Barnes said. &uot;I had a couple of three-putts. The wind picked up on 12. It made a difference on 13. It’s usually a 6- or 7-iron and I had to use an 8-iron.

&uot;I didn’t have any bad holes. I had a lot of putts on the lip. I could’ve done better.&uot;

Before Taylor finished his round, Barnes liked his chances to advance to Tupelo.

&uot;I would say it’s pretty good. I may be premature, but I’m going to go ahead and make my reservations.&uot;

Sean Casey of Hattiesburg finished third with a round of 75.

&uot;This is the first time I’ve seen the course,&uot; Casey said. &uot;I played very conservatively. I made a couple of putts and I missed a couple of putts.

&uot;It (the wind) was pretty tough. You just had to make sure you trusted the iron you used.&uot;

Brad Riles of Jackson finished fourth with a 77 and Austin Frey was fifth with a 78.

The sixth and final spot to determine who goes to Tupelo next month had to be determined by a playoff between Louisville’s David Mitchell and Jackson’s Chase Bryan, both of whom shot 81.

On the par-4 17th hole, Bryan mishit his 3rd shot and ended up with a triple bogey while Mitchell parred the hole for sixth place to advance.

Four other golf clubs around the state will also have state amateur qualifiers this week to determine who will advance to Tupelo.