Natchez ready for city golf championship

Published 12:29 am Thursday, July 27, 2017

The 2017 Bill McKenney Memorial Men’s City Golf Championship will take place this weekend at the Duncan Park Golf Course with Jordan Farmer looking to defend his title against a field of past champions and top contenders.

Duncan Park Golf Course Superintendent Greg Brooking said the course is in much better shape than it was last year when it was hot and dry in the Miss-Lou. And that has led to more players participating in this year’s event.

“We’ve had a lot of rain, but it hasn’t kept us from working on the course. The golf course is in excellent condition,” Brooking said.

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Tee times will start at 7:30 a.m. with the final group teeing off at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. Tee times and pairings for Saturday’s first round will be posted in Friday’s edition of The Natchez Democrat.

As of late Monday morning, 78 players have already signed up and Brooking said that only 12 spots remain to fill the field of 90 golfers. He said he is surprised that so many players have already registered “because we didn’t have that many players last year.”

Among the past champions that will be playing this year are 11-time champion Pete Powell, K.G. Watkins, Jay Lessley, Chandler Russ, Lee Jones, Kevin Smith Jr. and Wesley Rogers.

The top contenders this year include Brooking, Bill Byrne, Tom Bryant, Casey Ham, Paul Guido, Dan Bland, Phillip West and Jeff Anderson.

“Casey is the defending Beau Pré club champion. He’s on a roll. Tom is always a contender. Jeff is always a potential champion. That’s a pretty good list of favorites,” Brooking said.

“The conditions of the golf course has brought out so many players this year. It’s such a great value for your $125 entry fee,” Brooking added.

The entry fee includes two days of green fees and cart fees, range balls both days. Lunch is served both days. It will be barbecue chicken on Saturday and grilled cheeseburgers on Sunday. Brooking said that drinks and lunch both days are free.

“And we have a tee prize on the first hole, which is a city championship hat and Titleist golf balls. There’s a lot of benefits to the city championship.” Brooking said. “Plus what person wouldn’t want to be city champion?”

Tommy Snell with the United States Golf Association (USGA) will be officiating the tournament.

“He’ll set the tee times. He’ll set the tees. He’ll set the pin placements. Plus he’ll be the rules official,” Brooking said.

Despite the rain that has fallen in recent weeks, Brooking said it has not affected the practice rounds and he does not anticipate any problems during the tournament.

However, a rare late-July cold front is expected to move through the area sometime on Saturday, which will bring with it showers and thunderstorms. Behind it will be cooler temperatures — as in mid-80s — and lower humidity on Sunday.