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Golf tourney full of winners

NATCHEZ — The Norman Puckett Natchez Junior Golf Championship is always different from all other tournaments in the Miss-Lou because all of the participants are winners regardless of how they play.

And the 2010 version of this popular tournament was no exception. Children ranging from ages 7 to 17 had a great time at the Duncan Park Golf Course on the Monday morning after the Fourth of July.

“I had a lot of fun,” 11-year-old Derrion Batieste said.

“I had eternal fun,” 11-year-old Sadarrius Thomas said.

Another 11-year-old, Rudy Nugent, probably surprised everyone, including himself, by driving the green on the 1st hole.

“I went up there with my 5-iron and I hit it exactly where I swung,” Nugent said.

The rest of the hole was not as good, Nugent said; he three-putted for par.

Grace Richardson, who at age 7 was the youngest player in this year’s tournament, said she did pretty well and had “tons of fun” on the three holes she played — No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3.

Richardson said No. 3 was the toughest of those three holes because the hole was uphill and No. 1 was the easiest because it was flat.

Like Richardson, 14-year-old Rachel Benoit said the 3rd hole was the toughest hole she played, but for other reasons.

“I lost a couple of balls in the water and it was hard to get over the little pond,” Benoit said. “I had a lot of fun. It was pretty good. I played six or seven holes. I shot a 25. I hit it really good.”

But the star of the day may have been 17-year-old Austin McFarland, a student a Franklin County High School. Playing the front nine, McFarland shot a 3-under-par 32.

“I did pretty good. Course is in great shape. I struck the ball really well. My putter was working. Best I putted in a while.”

McFarland had birdies on No. 2, No. 5 and No. 7, an eagle on No. 3, and bogeys on No. 4 and No. 6.

As for the turnout for this year’s tournament, Duncan Park golf course superintendent Greg Brooking was more than pleased.

“We had at least 30. It seemed like 110, but it’s 30 to 35,” Brooking said. “Fourteen kids played nine holes and the rest played three holes. The new twist about this year’s tournament is there are trophies for girls and boys. Everyone gets trophies, Powerade, pizza and cookies.”

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