County tourney starts Saturday

Published 11:39 am Friday, July 29, 2011

Warren County will have a new golf champion Sunday.

Four-time defending champion Chase Smith will not return to make it five straight titles at the Warren County Championship tournament that begins Saturday at Clear Creek Golf Course in Bovina. Smith, who ended a standout four-year collegiate golf career at Delta State University, has a job in the medical supply field and is undergoing training this week in Birmingham.

Clear Creek pro and tournament director Kent Smith, who is Chase’s dad, felt the odds would not have been in his son’s favor had he entered.

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“Chase hasn’t played much competitive golf since his senior season ended at Delta State,” Smith said. “He’s burned out. He’s got a job and is living in Jackson and I guess he’s out of the tournament for the foreseeable future unless he moves back to Vicksburg.”

There is still plenty of good competition available to vie for the trophy. Kent Smith expects a field of about 70 to 80 golfers to tee off Saturday morning. Play will begin from the white tees, making the Clear Creek course set up at 6,234 yards. Play will resume Sunday from the blue tees for the top flights, which adds another 323 yards in length. With the recent rain hitting Bovina this week, look for the course to play long.

“We’ve actually got a little rough growing right now,” Smith said.

As for contenders, look for former champ Mike Hurley to make a run. Hurley won the Clear Creek club championship last month.

“Mike is always the man to beat on this course,” Smith said. “I also like Chris Whittington and the three young kids, (Nick) Mekus, (Parker) Rutherford and (Chris) Ingram.”