Lessley wins city golf title

Published 12:01 am Monday, August 6, 2012

NATCHEZ — Even though the hole setup at Duncan Park for the final round of the Bill McKenney Memorial City Golf Championship is different than it is in the first round Jay Lessley parred all every hole on the front nine of the course.

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Morris Hughes putts on the green of the 16th hole Saturday morning.

However, no one else in the final group — Wesley Rogers, Kevin Smith Jr. and Lee Jones — was able to make a serious charge on him. That, along with three straight birdies to start the course’s back nine, allowed Lessley to run away with his four city title.

Lessley shot a final-round, 2-under-par 69 on Sunday afternoon to finish with a two-day total of 8-under-par 134. The next closest competitor to him was Smith, who shot a final-round 73 to finish at 2-under-par 140.

Email newsletter signup

“Feels good (to be a four-time champion),” Lessley said. “I enjoyed it. I just played good two days in a row. I didn’t do anything stupid today. ”

Lessley birdied the 10th, 11th and 12th holes to get to 3-under-par for the day and 9-under for the tournament. Then he had a down-up-and-down finish to the back nine with a bogey on No. 16, a birdie on No. 17 and a bogey on No. 18 before closing out with pars on Nos. 3, 4, and 2.

“We had a good time. Jay played as solid as he could play. We didn’t pressure him any,” Smith said. “I had a couple of bad holes, but I don’t think it would’ve mattered. Congratulations to him. He deserved to win. It’s a tournament I look forward to every year.”

Rogers shot 3-over-par 74 to finish in third place at 1-under-par 140.

There was only one other under-par round among those in the championship flight. That belonged to Casey Ham, who shot 1-under-par 70 to finish in a tie for fourth with

Jones at even-par 142. Jones had a disappointing final-round score of 74.

K.G. Watkins won the first flight in a scorecard playoff over Larry Davis after both players had final-round scores of 72 to finish at 147.

“Today was more consistent. Even though my putter wasn’t as strong as it was yesterday, I was more consistent hitting the ball,” Watkins said. “I was at 2-under with six holes left to play. Just couldn’t make any putts.”

Watkins added that he almost allowed Davis to come back and win the first flight after bogeying three of his last five holes — No. 17, No. 3 and No. 2.

Clay Arnold won the second flight with a two-day score 152 after shooting a final-round 1-over-par 72.

“The golf course was in excellent shape. Played good today,” Arnold said. “Had birdies on 9, 10 and 11 and an eagle on 14. I had 138 to the pin. Hit a pitching wedge to within two feet. Made the putt and carried on.”