Watkins shoots 70 on Day 2 to win Natchez senior mens crown

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 31, 2005

NATCHEZ &8212; The 2005 Natchez Senior Men, Super Senior Men & Legend Men Golf Championships was assured of one thing &045; a new Senior Men&8217;s city champion would be crowned this year.

That was the one thing that was certain as last year&8217;s champion, Eric Smith, would not be back to defend his title. The one thing that wasn&8217;t certain was who the new Natchez Senior Men champion would be.

K.G. Watkins, who shot a 74 and led Bubba Bruce by six shots at the end of the first round on Saturday, did even better on Sunday, firing an impressive 1-under-par 70 to finish at 144 and win the Senior Men&8217;s division by 17 shots.

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&8220;We had 10 participants last year and 13 this year,&8221; Duncan Park golf pro Marvin Gray said. &8220;That&8217;s an increase of 30 percent.&8221;

About winning his first Natchez Senior Men&8217;s championship, Watkins said, &8220;Right now it feels pretty good. Except I can&8217;t talk.&8221;

Watkins pretty much did his talking on the course, especially in the final round. He had a solid front-nine, even-par 35 that included two birdies.

&8220;I had a birdie on 3 and 7,&8221; Watkins said. &8220;I missed an eagle putt on 7. I made a long putt on 3 for birdie. But I couldn&8217;t stay away from the bogeys. I had two bogeys.&8221;

Bruce struggled on the front nine en route to a 39 that took himself out of contention.

&8220;I was just off today,&8221; Bruce said. &8220;I had to ride with K.G. today. K.G played some golf today. My wedge game was off today.&8221;

Then Bruce added, &8220;I had two legends today (Clayton Foster and Bub Mullins). I enjoyed today.&8221;

Watkins atoned for a missed birdie putt from about three feet on No. 10 with an eagle on No. 11 when he made a 20-foot putt that had a big left-to-right break on it. He added a birdie on No. 12 to get to 3-under for the day.

Watkins made a par-saving putt on the par-3 13th hole and gave a little fist pump afterwards. Then his tee on the par-5 14th ended up under a short tree and he had to settle for par. His only bad hole was No. 15, where he had a double bogey to get back to 1-under and parred the last three holes.

&8220;I was trying to stay steady today,&8221; Watkins said. &8220;It was some good golf in my group. I was just trying to stay steady.&8221;

George Hude came from out of nowhere on Sunday to finish third in the Senior Men&8217;s division. Hude shot an 80 to finish at 168.

&8220;It was good, except for the triple on No. 6,&8221; Hude said. &8220;You know when one day you hit the ball well but don&8217;t score and the next day you score but don&8217;t hit the ball well. Yesterday I hit the ball good but didn&8217;t score. The greens were fast.&8221;

Clayton Foster successfully defended his Super Senior Men&8217;s title by shooting a final-round 75 to finish at 157.

&8220;It feels great,&8221; Foster said. &8220;I was hitting the ball good off the tees. I putted good. The ball was rolling good on the greens. I&8217;m surprised at the score I had yesterday (82).&8221;

Bub Mullins won the Legends Men&8217;s title for the second straight year &8212; just like last year without any competition. Mullins had back-to-back rounds of 81 to finish at 162.