Shaw! Who’s superstitious?

Published 5:00 am Thursday, June 19, 2003

Was I superstitious?


Perhaps it was a harbinger of things to come.

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It was a working afternoon for me at the Wolf Hollow Golf Club.Sure, I would be happy to participate in the 10th Annual Co-LinFoundation Golf Classic. I still had to take photos and write thestory.

It was a scramble format so it was supposed to be a pleasantexperience, lots of time for fellowship on a beautiful golf course.Michael Tanner, Co-Lin business manager; Bill Sabitinni, ValleyServices executive; and Sonny Hill, retired college football coach;joined Grizzly Goetz in the mix.

Throw in some intangibles like a rain-soaked course, lots ofwater hazards, 110 percent humidity, blood-thirsty mosquitoes andit felt like an enjoyable but sweat-soaked afternoon. I drankenough bottles of Powerade to turn green but the electrolytesprobably kept me from suffering heat stroke.

Obviously, this determined team of golfers spent too much timeworking. Sabitinni smiled and said he only played twice a year,more of a public relations activity than serious golf. Tanner, bycontrast, reminded me of a mature Tiger Woods. He was serious abouthis game and made some great shots.

“Do you play golf once or twice a week?” Sabitinni inquired.

Looking at my legs, would make him realize my answer before Ispoke. I didn’t have an opportunity to play golf often enough toget a deep tan.

Hill, a former Delta State coach, had been playing a lot of golfin Illinois this spring and has some talent to complement his senseof humor. He knew Brookhaven folks like John Ogden and Les Henning.He asked about Doug Sullivan and Ray Ishee, two more DSU grads.

Under the scramble format, 24 teams began play. Our team startedoff on the par-4 18th hole, one of the toughest on the course. Thesecond shot, across a lake to a steeply slanted green, is achallenge to say the least. Sabitinni lost his first ball to thewater monster.

To make a long story short, we chipped to within 10 feet of thehole on our third shot. The sidehill putt sneered at us as we tookturns trying to save par. Wolf Hollow howled a little louder whenwe used four mulligan putts attempting to save par and settled fora bogey.

Natalie Davis, media relations director at Co-Lin, wasefficiently taking group shots for posterity at the No. 1 tee box.Fortunately, we were all still smiling and talking birdie.Obviously, after just one hole, there was no mention of us winningthe tournament.

Putts refused to fall as we battled for survival. Tanner andHill both rolled in birdie putts which ignited high fives andknuckle knocks. Add another bogey and we finished at even par72.

It’s hard to comprehend the difference in team skills. Thechamps finished 17 strokes ahead of us. Two more teams tied at 56.Obviously, they play a lot more golf than we do.

On the bright side, the hospitality and fellowship wereexceptional. We also arrived home with more golf balls than what westarted with so that made it a better day.

During a recent vacation, we played some golf at Duncan Park inNatchez. Unfortunately, many of the greens had been destroyed bychemicals so it was like putting in a sand box. The course employeewarned us ahead of time before we set foot on the first teebox.

My wife, Laurie, went along for the ride. She enjoyed thescenery from the golf cart and even volunteered to help hunt mygolf balls when they strayed off target, which was most of thetime. The front nine is the newest part of the course and thefairways are carved through the towering pine trees.

There is a severe dropoff on most of the front nine fairways. Inother words, stock in Titleist golf balls, climbed several notchesafter my experience. Contact was solid but most of my shots weregoing wide left, making life extremely hazardous for squirrels andour feathered friends.

Probably the best part of the day was eating lunch at the SandBar Restaurant, located just across the Mississippi River bridge inVidalia, La. The Sand Bar provides a delicious, wide variety ofseafood and fried catfish.

The Hansel King Sportsplex will host three large ASA statetournaments during the month of July. The girls 12-under and girls14-under tournaments will be held July 11-12, featuring 30-plusteams. The Overall Coed State Tournament is set for July 26.

In case you missed it department: Former Co-Lin and MississippiState University southpaw Jacob Blakeney has signed a contract withthe Atlanta Braves. He was drafted in the 22nd round and has beenassigned to the Braves’ Danville, Va., affiliate.

Blakeney compiled a 3-0 record for the MSU Bulldogs as a senior.He struck out 33 batters in 30 innings and compiled a 4.50 ERA. Hegraduated from Simpson County Academy in Mendenhall.

Write to sports editor Tom Goetz at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven, MS, 39601 or e-mail