ASU golfer Lamela leads Harvest Club Open

Published 2:35 am Sunday, April 6, 2008

NATCHEZ — Marlo Lamela, a native of Los Angles who is currently living Natchez, shot a 4-under-par 67 Saturday to take the lead in the championship flight of the 2008 Harvest Club Open.

Lamela, who attends Alcorn State University and is a member of the Braves’ golf team, had six birdies and two bogeys at the Duncan Park Golf Course while many others were happy to get their opening round over.

“I just tried to hit it one shot at a time. I wasn’t worried about the score. If I did that, there would be more pressure,” Lamela said. “It’s just better off worrying about one shot at a time, one hole at a time.”

Email newsletter signup

Lamela added that he had his putting and his driving working for him except for one hole in which he put his tee shot in the water. He shanked his tee shot on No. 1 and it went into the pond on No. 2.

Tournament director K.G. Watkins said the first day went pretty good, but it could have been better had it not been for the rain that fell Friday night and the cooler-than-expected weather that had out-of-town players scrambling to buy something to keep them warm while playing.

“Turnout was good. The weather changes in the last 48 hours hurt us. At least it didn’t rain. We got everybody off about 15 minutes later than we were hoping for. Colder weather slowed us down,” Watkins said.

Before Lamela, or anyone for that matter, was done playing, Watkins said that the cool and wet weather – the temperature was only in the 50s the entire first round – would keep the lowest scores around even par 71, if not higher, and that any scores in the 60s would take place today in the championship and first flights. Especially with sunshine from start to finish and a high temperature around 80 degrees.

This year’s Harvest Club Open will have 132 players, which is down from last year’s 155 players, but there are more players from Mississippi in this year’s event. Last year there were just seven. This year there are about 20.

“I’m pleased with the local participation. We’ve got quite a few local participants,” Watkins said. “We’ve got so many players from border states – Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas and Tennessee.”

In addition to defending champion Lamela, other past champions playing this weekend include back-to-back winner Thurman Glass and two-time champ Jerry Scales, both of who are from Memphis.

“We have 132 players scattered throughout the city. That’s a boom to the economic circumstance in Natchez,” Watkins said. “We have players at Passport, Isle of Capri, the new Hampton Inn and one or two at the Eola. Most of them stay two nights. Three meals a day plus tourism.”

Watkins added that due to the size of this year’s tournament and with an early shotgun start, the Harvest Club was forced to rent 25 golf carts to accommodate the players so they could get their rounds finished early.