Nearly 40 junior golfers to play in Norman Puckett Junior Golf Championship this weekend

Published 11:19 am Thursday, June 8, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Junior golfers from Natchez, throughout the state, and from across the South will descend of the Duncan Park Golf Course for the 2023 Norman Puckett Junior Golf Championship on Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11.

Tee times for this prestigious junior golf tournament will begin at 8:30 a.m. both days. This is a 36-hole individual stroke play event. Among those returning to play this year is Sophia (Seda) Macias from Denham Springs, La. the defending overall girls’ champion.

“She won with scores of 74 and 71. She had a total of 145,” Duncan Park Golf Course Superintendent Greg Brooking said. “A lot of the golfers are returning from last year. Some of them are favorites this year.”

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Surprisingly, only two junior golfers from Natchez are playing this year — Micah Bertelsen and Archer Doyle. Not so surprisingly, the majority of this year’s competitors are from the Magnolia State. Bertelsen is one of the favorites in the boys’ 10-11 division.

“There’s probably 25 from other parts of the state. Louisiana has about four or five. Texas has four. Georgia has one,” Brooking said. “There are 37 and they are from as far away as Evans, Georgia and Carlsbad, New Mexico. The majority of our players are coming from out of town. It’s good for our economy.”

The player from Carlsbad, New Mexico is RyAna Salcido. The player from Evans, Georgia has already become quite the celebrity in 12-year-old Xeve Perez, Brooking noted.

“He’s done interviews for the Golf Channel and with the pros. Taylor Made kind of helps sponsor him. He might be the new Tiger Woods. He’s well-known nationally. He’s on Facebook,” Brooking said.

And now he will bring his talents on the course to the Norman Puckett Junior Golf Championship at Duncan Park. Whether he will be one of the contenders for the boys’ overall championship remains to be seen.

Brooking said there are several prizes which will be up for grabs in not only the championship division for girls and boys, but for the other age division flights as well. And there will be several age groups for both girls and boys this year.

“We’ve got great prizes for the kids. First place for the championship division for boys and girls is $500.00 in merchandise. Other flights is $300.00 in merchandise for first place,” Brooking said.

Brooking added that there are nine divisions this year. Four divisions are for girls — 10-12, 13-15, 16-18, and 9 & Under. Five divisions are for boys — 10-11, 12-13, 14-15, 16-18, and 9 & Under. 

Those playing in the 9 & Under divisions in both boys and girls as well as the boys’ 10-11 and girls’ 10-12 divisions will play nine holes each day, Brooking said. The players in the older age groups will be playing 18 holes each day.