Trolio wins PGA Assistants tournament

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 2, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; This year&8217;s Gulf States PGA Assistant Championship at Beau Pr/ Country Club came down to a battle of nerves.

With $5,750 in prize money and a bid to the National PGA Assistant Championship in Port St. Lucie, Fla. on the line, it was easy to understand why the scores were higher across the board during the final round.

For those golfers, who were able to overcome their nerves, the scores were lower or the same.

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V.J. Trolio, of Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point was one of those who did not play as if the pressure affected him, as he shot rounds of 70 and 71 en route to winning his second title.

&8220;I felt like I could have gone after a lower score,&8221; Trolio said. &8220;But I just decided to play smart, play conservative and obviously that was the right strategy to use today.&8221;

Experience seemed to be on Trolio&8217;s side. After day one, Trolio was three shots back of the lead behind Andy Smith, who shot a 71 in round one but could not hold onto that lead and finished tied for third.

&8220;It was the Trolio train all day long,&8221; said Smith describing his opponent&8217;s consistent play.

The real drama was in the race for second place, as once again experience would make all the difference.

Last year&8217;s champion, Casey Crain of Money Hill Country Club in Abita Springs, was able to ride a wave of confidence having won the tournament before.

&8220;Well the other two guys landed in the right side bunker off the tee, I smoked my drive over the hazard, and it was then that I knew I might win,&8221; Crain said.

After a first round 72, Crain had considerable ground to make up during the final round, but five birdies on the back nine pushed him into a three-way tie for second.

Crain&8217;s hot play allowed him to overcome the pressure involved with playing in a tournament of this magnitude.

&8220;The money isn&8217;t as big a factor as is the prestige involved,&8221; Crain said. &8220;I was luck enough to be one of two guys who are going to move on from this with a chance to play for the national title.&8221;

Prestige is obviously a big part of what makes this tournament special to the players. For Dwayne David, head professional at Beau Pr/ hosting a tournament for fellow golf professionals is unlike any other tournament.

&8220;It&8217;s always special when you can put on a tournament for fellow professionals,&8221; David said. &8220;All of these guys are sort of like co-workers being that we are all in the same business.&8221;