Louisiana leads at Gulf States PGA

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 1, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; The first day of the 2004 Gulf States PGA Cup Matches at Beau Pr Country Club had its share of ups and downs for PGA professionals from Mississippi and Louisiana.

And after 18 holes of golf were completed Monday afternoon, the Louisiana PGA pros finished with 11 and 1/2 points to take a two-point lead on the Mississippi PGA pros.

But this tournament almost didn’t take place. Several inches of rain in short period of time a week and a half ago put several holes on the back nine under water.

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That caused the tournament to be pushed back to a two-day tournament and the golfers to play four-ball and singles matches at Beau Pr Monday and at Brookhaven Country Club today.

And if that wasn’t enough, the back nine at Beau Pr was closed because most of the holes are still unplayable, forcing the golfer to play the front nine twice.

Leigh Brannan and Anthony Price of the Mississippi team defeated Oliver Thomson and David Church of the Louisiana team 2 & 1 in the four-ball match.

However, Thomson defeated Brannan 3 and 2 and Church defeated Price 2 and 1 to give Louisiana an early two to one lead.

&uot;Leigh beat himself. He missed some easy putts,&uot; Thomson said. &uot;He had a chance to make six or seven birdies in a row.&uot;

Brannan had a chance to be just 2-down to Thomson after his second shot to the green on No. 9 ended up just a few feet from the hole. But he missed the birdie putt to remain 3-down at the turn.

&uot;I made a couple of early birdies and pretty much stayed there,&uot; Thomson said. &uot;I don’t beat Leigh too often, that’s for sure. It was a good match.&uot;

&uot;It’s always fun to come up here and play,&uot; Church said. &uot;Natchez is a good host. Mark (Powell) does a great job getting the Isle of Capri and Beau Pr to support these PGA professionals.&uot;

Of his match against Price, Church said, &uot;It was kind of like watching Lewis and Clark. He was hitting it all over the place.&uot;

Price was 1-down after three holes, but a pair of birdies on Nos. 4 and 5 put him 1-up. Then he got into trouble with his driver.

&uot;Starting on No. 8 he struggled with his driver until No. 6 (the 15th hole of the round),&uot; Church said. &uot;He managed to scramble and stay in the match.&uot;

Church won No. 8 the second time around to close out the match, but it was a par by Brannan on that same hole that gave he and Price a much-needed win in the four-ball match and one point for the Mississippi team.

&uot;We shot five-under,&uot; Brannan said. &uot;We brother-in-lawed well. We had five birdies and no bogeys. We’ve been doing this every year for the last seven or eight years in cup matches. We complement each other usually.&uot;

Kent Smith and John Shoemaker of the Mississippi team defeated Kevin Kelin and Tate Zyroll of the Louisiana team 1-up in the four-ball match.

In the singles matches, Klein defeated Smith 3 & 2, but Shoemaker defeated Zyroll 3 & 2 to tie the score at three points each.

&uot;Tate and I were roommates at Mississippi State. We go back a long time,&uot; Shoemaker said. &uot;I’ve got to admit I was intimidated because he’s played on a couple of tours.&uot;

After a bogey on No. 9 put Zyroll only 1-down at the turn, Shoemaker got back to 2-up when he parred No. 1 and Zyroll three-putted the hole. Shoemaker put the match away when he parred No. 7 and Zyroll bogeyed the hole.

&uot;It was a good match,&uot; Shoemaker said. &uot;I didn’t really make any mistakes. I want to thank Mark Powell and Beau Pr for hosting this. I want to thank Baxter&160;Lee and Isle of Capri for putting us up.

As for the four-ball match, Smith and Shoemaker were 1-down with two holes to play, but they birdied the last two holes, 8 and 9.

The Louisiana team regained the lead when Bobby Chrestman and Reg Adams defeated Jerry Covich and Kenny Hughes of the Mississippi team 2 & 1 in the four-ball match and Adams defeated Hughes 2 & 1 in a singles match.