Wagoner has one-shot lead for final round

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 9, 2008

NATCHEZ — Larry Wagoner of Ferriday scattered four birdies with three bogeys for a round of 1-under-par 70 Saturday to lead the Senior (50-59) division of the 2008 Natchez Seniors and Women’s City Golf Championships.

Wagoner, who has a driving range in Vidalia, will take a one-shot lead over Bill Byrne of Natchez into today’s final round. Byrne had a chance to take the lead as he was a 2-under-par going into No. 17, but he bogeyed that hole as well as No. 18 to settle for an even-par 71.

Byrne played solidly until he got to the 15th hole, which also ended up in a bogey. He got back that shot with a birdie on No. 16 to get back to 2-under on his round. Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep the momentum going on the final two holes.

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“He played solid. He hit the ball well,” said Jerry Johns of Ferriday, who played in the same group with Byrne. “He could have easily shot under par.”

In a tie for third place are Bubba Bruce and defending Senior City champion K.G. Watkins, who also won this division back in 2005. Both shot rounds of 5-over-par 76, but Watkins’ round was quite unique.

The 2006 Men’s City champion, Watkins started his round with a birdie on the 1st hole. Later on he would bogey four of the final six holes on the front nine, with a birdie on No. 7 sandwiched in there, for a 2-over 37. Then he birdied No. 12 before bogeying 13, 14 and 15 and the added another bogey on 17 for a back-nine score of 3-over 39.

Altogether, there are 35 participants in this year’s Seniors and Women’s City Championships, but just one female participant. That would be Natchez’s Sonja Blaney, who has to play all 36 holes to become the new champion. She shot a opening-round 94.

“We were very pleased and surprised (with the turnout),” Duncan Park golf course supervisor Greg Brooking said. “We expected about 20 and ended up with 35. We want to thank two special people who helped with the administration of this tournament – Dick Walcott and Gary Guido. Without them, the tournament doesn’t run smooth.

As for Blaney being the only lady playing the Women’s City Championship, Brooking said, “The ladies wanted the tournament. Sonja is the best lady golfer in Natchez. She would’ve won anyway.”

Prem Vidhana took the first-round lead in the Super Senior (60-69) division with a round of 77, but he will have plenty of competition today. Joe Brumfield is one shot back at 78 while Wayne Myley and McGraw are each two shots back at 79.

Cornelius Lewis shot a 3-over-par 74 to take the leader in the Grand Masters (70-plus) division for a one-shot lead over two-time Grand Masters champion Clayton Foster, who won the Super Seniors title in 2004 and 2005.

“I played well. Played good on the front side. Shot even par,” Lewis said. “Golf course is in good condition. Greens are in good shape.”

Today’s tee times were originally scheduled to take place between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., but because of concerns about the final groups not getting in until near dark, which is between 5:15 and 5:30 p.m., Brooking said the tee times for the groups that will go on No. 1 will be between 11 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. The groups that will go on No. 10 will have tee times between 11 and 11:50 a.m.