Taking a swing: Competitors tee off in first Mayor’s Cup at Duncan Park
NATCHEZ — The thought of playing in a golf tournament in Natchez was far from the mind of golfers just a few days ago.
But Saturday afternoon, competitors tee’d off in the first Mayors Cup, at Duncan Park.
“This whole thing got started with the Ryder Cup, which started in the early 1900’s and it was the U.S. against the English, and it was the same type of format,” event director Greg Brooking said. “Then, the UGSA picked it up, which is the pros, and they called it the Walker Cup. So then individual states started having cups and they started playing against other states.”
“So the idea arose from that, and I thought, ‘Why don’t we have that type of match here, and get the best players from here relative to their handicap to play each other?”
With rain making its way through the Miss-Lou, golfers were forced to compete in not ideal course conditions, but said it was worth it just being able to play.
“It is wet, but you just have to deal with it,” golfer Allen Smith said. “It is wet and sloppy, but since the sun has come out, it isn’t as bad.”
The playing field was split into two teams, with each team having four pairings.
The teams then went through the course according to Ryder Cup rules.
“We start with four-ball, then go into alternate shots, and then individual matches,” Brooking said. “It is all match play, so it just matters who has the lowest score.”
Brooking said the event drew a good bit of interest and is a precursor to the big events scheduled for Natchez’s Tricentennial.
“We had 30 people try and qualify this year,” he said. “There are people that want to play in this and I think we’ll have 50 or 60 people trying to qualify for it. I think it’ll be a growing thing.”
Brooking said for the Tricentennial, the course will be going all out.
“We’ll have a big tournament series and this is one of the events that we are going to have,” he said. “I’m doing a lot of these dry runs, per se.”
Although the participants are frequent players and friends, it didn’t stop them from having some friendly competition.
“We get into it,” Brooking said. “Everybody ribs everybody else and we’ll carry on with everybody. We are all friends and all play golf here.”
Golfer James Saunders echoed the feelings.
“We are mixing it up a little bit,” he said.