Top amateur golfers headed to Tupelo

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Defending champion Olly Thomson and a field of the state’s top club golf professionals and amateurs will be in Tupelo this weekend for the annual Mississippi PGA Trustmark Invitational.
The 54-hole stroke-play tournament – scheduled for Friday through Sunday at the Tupelo Country Club – was last played at the TCC in 2002.
Thomson, a native of Leeds, England, who moved to Mississippi from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, is the pro at the Canton Country Club.
“Olly’s always one of our better opportunities to win,” TCC pro Jim Rose said. “He can play.”
He’ll be challenged by a competitive field that includes some top amateurs, including Tupelo’s Fletcher Johnson, who lost to Thomson in a sudden-death playoff last year the Country Club of Jackson.
Johnson, a former Tupelo High standout, just completed his freshman season of golf at Mississippi State. One of his MSU teammates, Fulton’s Chad Ramey, is also entered.
Rickey Riley, who won last month’s annual Butch Lambert Invitational at the Natchez Trace Golf Course, is another local amateur playing well.
Former MSU golfer Alex Rowland of Houston, Ole Miss golfer Thomas Watkins of Madison and Tupelo High golf coach Mark Enis are entered. Two players from the Class 6A state champion Tupelo High golf team – Wilson Reeder and Austin Rose – are signed up.
Bobby Bascomb, the assistant pro at the TCC, says the recent afternoon rains will make a difference in how the TCC course plays.
“Everything’s in great shape,” he said. “The rough will be pretty thick. The (Champion Bermuda) greens will be fast, but we’ll try to keep them under control. They will be faster than most of these guys are used to.”
Added Rose, “Our greens, as usual, are the defense of our course.”

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