Natchez native notches spot in USGA tourney

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Bill Byrne demonstrated poise and composure on the golf course at perhaps the most opportune time.

The Natchez native managed to par the par-5 playoff hole Monday at Deerfield Country Club, besting two other competitors for the USGA Mississippi qualifier championship.

“I have not had a good summer playing golf,” he said. “But two weeks ago, I started hitting the ball real well, and I hit the ball real solid today.”

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With the qualifier in hand, Byrne now advances to the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship to take place Sept. 17-22 at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.

“It’s extremely exciting to have the opportunity to go to a national championship,” Byrne said. “They’re very hard to get in. I’m nowhere near the best player out there today; I was just very fortunate.”

Byrne shot a 75 ate the 18-hole championship.

On the playoff hole, he managed to reach the green in three shots while his opponents both overshot the green on their approach shots. From there, Byrne said he was just focused on making a good putting stroke.

“I was very nervous,” he said. “I was just trying to settle myself down.”

The mid-September showdown won’t be the first time Byrne has participated in a national event as he competed as a 17 year old at the National Junior Championship.

“You just try every year to get in (to a championship), and it’s a tough deal,” Byrne said. “I’m just ecstatic.”