Two tied for lead at City Golf Championship

Published 1:48 am Sunday, October 11, 2009

NATCHEZ — Both K.G. Watkins and Duncan Park golf course superintendent Greg Brooking had their opportunities to take the outright lead in the first round of the 2009 Seniors and Ladies City Golf Championship Saturday afternoon.

Each player was at 3-under-par late in their round, but Watkins had two bogeys down the stretch and Brooking had a costly double bogey and the two ended up in a tie for first place in the Senior Men’s (50-59) age division at 1-under-par 70.

“Got it to 3-under, but I couldn’t hold it. Unfortunately, I had two bogeys on the back (nine). I lost my concentration for a moment,” Watkins said. “I bogeyed 14 and 16 and I three-putted both holes. But tomorrow’s another day.”

Email newsletter signup

Watkins added that he didn’t play very well on the front nine and that he missed too many birdie putts.

“I had four birdies and I should’ve had four more birdies,” Watkins said.

Brooking, who had three birdies on the front nine, another on the back nine and an eagle on No. 12, was at 3-under-par going into the 16th hole. That’s where he said he got greedy and it cost him.

“I played well. I had a double bogey on 16, which was my downside. I tried to go for a par and ended up with a double,” Brooking said.

Despite the hiccup on 16, Brooking said he was “very happy” with his round of 70, but that he was not happy that defending Senior Men’s champion Bill Byrne withdrew because he thought it was going to rain.

“I had a good round with K.G. and Larry (Wagoner). We miss Bill Byrne out there. Wished he had played,” Brooking said.

Wagoner, who is from Ferriday and owns Far Golf Driving Range, is three shots back at 2-over-par 73.

“Couldn’t make any birdies on the front. Made three birdies and two bogeys on the back. Missed three birdie putts on the front,” Wagoner said. “Hit the ball fair. Chipped pretty good. Course played real good.”

Frank Dominick of Jackson, La., who is the marshal at Beaver Creek Golf Course in Zachary, La., is in fourth place at 5-over-par 76.

“The short game was not there. Inconsistent on the greens,” Dominick said. “Hit the ball good from tee to green. Y’all have a beautiful golf course. The grounds crew did an excellent job. I had four birdies and too many bogeys.”

George Hude leads the Super Senior (60-69) division with a first-round score of 78 and Prem Vidhana is four shots back with an 82.

Clayton Foster of Natchez, who won the Super Seniors title in 2004 and 2005 and the Legends (Grand Masters) title in 2006 and 2007, leads the Grand Masters (70+) division after firing a opening-round 4-over-par 75.

“The group (Hude, Mike Smith, Mike Kern) encouraged me to hang in there and never give up. I made a few putts. Bogeyed No. 1 and double-bogeyed No. 2,” Foster said. “You just have to bear down and concentrate on each hole. They were very supportive. A little encouragement goes a long way. Stayed out of major trouble.”

Defending Grand Masters champion Cornelius Lewis trails Foster by four shots after a round of 79.

Fran Farmer overcame a couple of front-nine double bogeys and bogeys on the two par-5 holes on the back nine, No. 10 and No. 14, to shoot an 81 and take a three-shot lead over Mia Taylor.

Taylor started her round with three straight double bogeys en route to a front-nine score of 11-over-par 46. She played better on the back nine, thanks in large part to a huge birdie on the difficult par-3 13th hole.

Byrne wasn’t the only former champion who withdrew from the tournament. So did 2007 Ladies City champion Beverly Knapp and 2006 Super Senior Men’s champion Frank Griffin.

Also, defending Ladies champion Sonja Blaney was not able to play this year, ensuring this will be the sixth straight year that a new Ladies City champion will be crowned. This streak started when Mary Kate Byrne became the youngest Ladies City champion at the age of 16 back in 2004 (Mary Edwards – 2005, Margo McLeod – 2006, Knapp – 2007, Blaney – 2008).