Inaugural girls state invitational coming to Clear Creek|[2/23/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The drive for girls’ high school golf was born in Warren County. In April, it will take its first steps here as well.

The Mississippi High School Activities Association will sponsor a girls’ invitational tournament at the end of the high school season in April. The tournament, open to any high school girl in the state, will be played at Clear Creek Golf Course in Bovina.

“I’m just real proud of it,” said Clear Creek assistant pro Kathy Hester, who petitioned the MHSAA to add girls’ golf as a championship sport last summer. “I didn’t get a chance to play high school golf because they didn’t have it. I’m just glad to be a part of giving girls an opportunity to do this.”

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The exact format of the invitational tournament was to be announced at a press conference today. Dr. Ennis Proctor, executive director of the MHSAA, said the organization will use it as a gauge to judge whether there is enough interest to support a full girls’ tournament in 2006.

Girls on high school teams will still play alongside their male counterparts this season. The invitational will be about three weeks before the class championships, which girls can also participate in.

So far, about 40 schools have shown interest in adding the sport. Proctor said it was a number he was pleased with.

“Any time you start a new program, when you have that many it’s good,” Proctor said.

Clear Creek will host the invitational tournament because of Hester. She was instrumental in starting the petition and was asked to help with this year’s tournament. She offered Clear Creek as a venue, figuring it would be easiest to host it on her home course.

If the MHSAA adds girls golf as a championship sport, the site will probably rotate like the boys’ sites do. The Class 1A boys’ tournament will be at Vicksburg Country Club in May.

“In the future it will probably be bidded on,” Hester said. “This might be the only time it’s at Clear Creek, but I thought it would be a good idea to have it at Clear Creek since it was born here.”