Notebook: Jones opts for Big I instead; Local golfers split on first day

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 30, 2003

NATCHEZ &045; The advice of collegiate scouts to play in the Big I Insurance Tournament in Clarksdale this week is why Katherine Jones withdrew from the Mississippi Women’s Golf Association State Amateur this week.

Jones’ mother Laura dispelled any rumors and speculation about her daughter’s motives to pull out before Monday’s qualifying round Tuesday.

&uot;We talked to a lot of college coaches who told us Katherine needed to play in the Big I to get noticed for a scholarship,&uot; Laura Jones said. &uot;That’s why we made the last minute reservations. She had all intentions of playing in the State Am.

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&uot;She’s a good kid with a great reputation.&uot;

All three of the top four finishers who are left from last week’s Girls State Junior in Meridian advanced Tuesday in their first-round match play events.

Amanda Mathis, 18 of Picayune, advanced with a 7 and 5 victory over Mary Hays. She said the tournament misses some of Jones’ fire and intensity.

&uot;I would always expect Katherine to shoot around par most of the time,&uot; Mathis said. &uot;She would have probably made it to the quarters, at least. She’s very competitive.&uot;

REPRESENT YOUR CITY &045; The Miss-Lou is batting .500 this week.

The local contingent of golfers went 2 for 4 in match play competitions Tuesday.

While Pat Dickens and Peggy McCall won their fourth and six flight matches, respectively, junior Betsy Powell and Sally Durkin fell a hair short of advancing.

Durkin’s day came down to the 18th, where she needed to win to even the match with Pat Ellis and extend it to extra holes.

A juiced third shot, after a great recovery from a wayward drive, caused Durkin to three putt and fall 2-up to Ellis, whom Durkin beat in the 2001 State Am at Canebreak.

&uot;Yesterday I was firing on no pistons, and today I was firing on about three or four,&uot; said Durkin, who was happy despite the second flight loss. &uot;You can quote me on that.&uot;

Powell was upbeat after her 3 and 2 loss to Ellen Walker, as well.

Some bad lies off the tee forced her to be aggressive, Powell said. But overall she couldn’t badmouth her day in regards to how Walker was churning.

&uot;She was putting lights out today,&uot; said Powell, who will be a freshman at Millsaps College this fall. &uot;She was beating me with birdies and tying me with pars.

&uot;I’m just happy to be in the first flight. There’s still tomorrow, and I hope I can come back and win the consolation side.&uot;

FAMILY VACATION &045; Junior golfer Leigh Phillips is used to having her mother Dale come watch her play in events.

This week, though, she’s got the whole package as father Les added more lagniappe by tagging along to Natchez.

&uot;Mom goes to every tournament with me and Dad took off of work,&uot; said Phillips, who plays fellow junior Alexis Rather in the championship flight at 7:38 a.m. today. &uot;This is his vacation. They’re real supportive of me.&uot;