Gooch earns 7-shot win at Lambert

SALTILLO – Trey Trapp recorded the shot of the day with an eagle on No. 3 in Sunday’s 25th annual Butch Lambert Invitational golf tournament.
However, his 80-yard strike with a wedge didn’t win him the stroke-play tournament at the Natchez Trace Golf Club.
He didn’t come close.
That honor belonged to the club’s professional, Lan Gooch, who recorded a 7-under-par two-day total of 69-68 – 137 for a seven-stroke win over Trapp in the championship flight.
“The best player won today,” Trapp said after signing his 71-73 – 144 scorecard. “He was the best player.”
Gooch, who became the second player to win three consecutive Lambert titles, had six birdies in his weather-delayed final round. Two rain cells moved through the area, stopping play for nearly two hours.
Mark Enis, who won three straight from 2002-04, played in Gooch’s group in the final round. Enis was four shots off the lead to start the day, but finished with a two-day 73-82 – 155.
“I’m in good company,” Gooch said of his third straight win. “Mark’s a good golfer, he just struggled today.”
Gooch entered the day with a one-shot lead on Bill Donald, who finished third with a 70-76 – 146 two-day total, and a two-shot advantage over Trapp.
Gooch’s first birdie came on the first hole with a 6-foot putt. He added a 15-footer for the first of back-to-back birdies on No. 6 and No. 7.
He held a three-stroke lead over Donald after 27 holes.
Gooch increased his lead to 8-under with three birdies on the back nine. The highlight was a 15-footer on No. 12. A bogey on No. 16 brought his score back down to 7-under.
“I never hit any shots way off line today,” he said. “I seem to play better as the round went on.
“However, I never felt comfortable with my lead. I guess that’s just tournament golf.”
Ken Hogue, 64, opted to skip the seniors division and play against the younger players in the championship flight.
He tied for seventh overall with a two-day score of 74-77 – 151.
Roger Voyles won the seniors title with a score of 73-76 – 149 while Jim Mealer took super seniors honors with a 71-73 – 144.
Susan Hayden easily captured the women’s division with a 78-77 – 155, 14 strokes ahead of the second-place finisher. Adam Hall won the high school division with a 78-69 – 147. Hall plays for Saltillo High School’s team.
Next year’s Butch Lambert Invitational will sanctioned by the Mississippi Golf Association, which means the field will include players from around the state competing for state points.
“That’s great for our tournament,” Gooch said. “Everybody did a great job this year, our staff, the volunteers. They helped make it a great week.”

Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal