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Bryant to compete in U.S. Senior Open

NATCHEZ — For Beau Pré golf pro Tom Bryant, the wait was worth it.

Bryant sat in the Old Waverly golf course clubhouse last Wednesday for more than an hour and a half with a score of 69, hoping it would be good enough to make the cut.

And when the final results were tallied, the news was what he wanted to hear. He won the qualifying match for the U.S. Senior Open. Bryant will compete in the Senior Open July 29-Aug. 1 at Sahalee Country Club outside Seattle, in his third USGA event as an athlete.

“I won it by four shots, and I really don’t think it’s sunk in yet, where I’m going to be playing,” Bryant said.

And it didn’t take long for the news to get out to friends from around the area.

“As soon as I left the course, I was on the phone all the way home. Natchez is one of the few places that people genuinely care for you. I’ve got a lot of respect for the people of Natchez,” Bryant said.

Even though it hasn’t quite sunk in yet, Bryant said he understands just how big a deal this is for his golfing career.

“I accomplished something (last Wednesday). This is the largest senior tournament in the world,” Bryant said.

“I’ve been golfing my whole life, and I’ve tried qualifying for U.S. Amateurs, Opens and Senior Opens. I missed two U.S. Opens by a shot apiece, so this is by far the biggest tournament I’ve ever played in.”

Bryant is also the lone Mississippian to qualify for the Senior Open.

“That’s an honor in itself, but golf is more an individual type game. I look at myself as just more of a golfer, instead of a golfer from Mississippi or Louisiana,” he said.

Even though he has a golf course at his disposal, Bryant said he isn’t going to be able to spend too much time prepping for the Senior Open out at Beau Pré.

“My job here doesn’t afford me a lot of time to practice, which is probably a good thing. It’ll keep my mind off of it, and allow myself to not overdo it,” Bryant said.

“I’m a good ball striker, so I probably don’t need a whole lot of practice. I’m just going to work on my short game a little bit.”

Bryant said the two people who were most excited were his wife and son, Jackson.

“Jackson’s going to caddy for me, and he’s really excited about that. Our family’s always excited, and the people at Beau Pré are all excited. The facilities here go a long way in preparing for something like this,” Bryant said.

And Bryant added that he’s not simply satisfied with making the tournament.

“I want to win it,” he said.

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