City championship brings best to Park

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NATCHEZ — Dozens of Natchez’s best golfers will take to the Duncan Park golf course this weekend vying for the title of city’s top golfer in the 2011 Bill McKinney Memorial City Championship Golf Tournament.

So far the tournament field already consists of approximately 75 registered players, and several former city champions, Duncan Park golf superintendent Greg Brooking said. Registration is open until Thursday.

“We have a bunch of people that have won before,” Brooking said. “Some of the (players) are perennial favorites. We have a lot of past champions playing that have a chance at this. It’s as strong a field as I’ve ever seen in a city championship.”

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Brooking said the tournament would feature former Natchez residents who are coming from as far away as California and Oregon to participate.

“We have a lot of people coming back into town to play that moved away,” he said. “We got a gentleman from California, who was a good friend of Bill McKinney and his family. Kenny Weeks is coming from Oregon. And the defending champion, Wesley Rodgers, is coming from Jackson.”

Brooking said play would begin at 8 a.m. Saturday. The players will play by USGA rules, and he said the course is in great condition.

“The course is in good shape, ask anybody around town that drives by it,” he said. “It may be the prettiest piece of property in the City of Natchez.”

Brooking said the competition would be stiff for the players, who range in age from 17 to approximately 80 years old.

“We want to crown a champion, and consider them the champion golfer of the city for that year,” he said. “It’s an honor to go on the plaque that’s been the face of the golf course for years. It will be a good, challenging match, because we have so many good players.”

Brooking said he has records that contain the winner of the city championship all the way back into the 1940s.

The tournament will be split up into three or four flights after the opening round, and the top four finishers in each flight will win prizes, Brooking said.

The city championship is named for Bill McKinney, who was golf pro at Duncan Park for over 20 years, Brooking said.

“Bill had the job here for a long time, and did a great job. He taught so many people to play and helped a lot of children play,” Brooking said. “There are people here older than me that Bill helped play golf.”

Brooking said the tournament would not be possible without the help of the sponsors.

“Without the sponsors we couldn’t have the quality recreational opportunities we have here,” he said.

Registration is $100 and will close Thursday. The fee includes two days of green fees, cart fees, lunch and beverages on both days. Players can register at the Duncan Park clubhouse, or call 601-442-5955 for more information.