St. Al, VCC chosen to host Class 1A state golf championship

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 18, 2002

[12/18/02]After his golfers finished third at last year’s state tournament, St. Aloysius coach Jim Taylor made them a promise. If they continued to work hard and practiced over the summer, he would try to give them an advantage at this year’s tournament.

With a little help from the Mississippi High School Activities Association, Taylor has been able to keep his word.

St. Al’s home course at the Vicksburg Country Club, with its challenging layout full of hills, dips, and hollows, has been selected as the site of the 2003 Class 1A state tournament.

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“I think it would enhance our chances of doing well,” Taylor said of playing at VCC. “The country club is a unique course, and if you don’t play it a lot you can get in a lot of trouble. Just walking the course is quite a chore.”

The tournament will be played May 5-8, and will include a banquet for the medalists from the different divisions in Class 1A, Taylor said.

The last time VCC hosted the state tournament, in 1998, St. Al took full use of its home-course advantage by winning its second state championship. St. Al also won a state title in 1993.

With all of his golfers back from last year’s team, including all-stater Chase Smith, Taylor thinks the Flashes have a good chance to add a third championship to the school’s trophy case.

“We’ve never been able to put two good days together. We either had a bad day on the first day or the last day,” Taylor said. “Hopefully, playing on our home turf, we’ll be able to put two good days together.”

St. Al’s other returning golfers include Don Marcus, Nick Whitney, Brett Bailess, Charles Waring and Carter Sessums. With their knowledge of VCC’s 6,059-yard, par-70 course, Taylor felt all of them had a chance to put two good days together this time.

“Several … really have a chance to vie for medalist honors, playing on the home course,” Taylor said.

After a bad second day at last year’s state tournament, Taylor made his promise to the St. Al golfers on the trip home. He knew last year’s host, Copiah-Lincoln Community College, wasn’t interested in hosting again so he talked with VCC pro Kent Smith Chase Smith’s father about applying for this year’s tournament.

Kent Smith was open to the idea, especially since this year’s tournament only involves golfers from Class 1A. In previous years, several classes were combined in an effort to centralize the tournament.

“Sometimes it’ll close your course down,” Kent Smith said. “We only have 1A, so it won’t tie my course up too much. We can start them at 9 (a.m.) and be done by early afternoon.”

Wolf Hollow, the course on Co-Lin’s campus, will host the Class 2A tournament this year. The Class 4A and 5A tournaments will be at Caroline Golf Club in Madison.