Pro golf returns to south Mississippi

Published 9:06 pm Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Professional golf returns to South Mississippi this week for the first time since Hurricane Katrina left most area courses in the rough.

The Tight Lies Tour, a regional minor league pro circuit, stops at Winddance Country Club for the first Sartin’s Vital Care Classic. After a pro-am today, the 72-hole tourney, which is part of a 20 event tour with most stops in the Southwest, runs Thursday through Sunday.

This is the first time the Tight Lies Tour has stopped on the Mississippi Coast, but Windance is no stranger to professional tournaments. The course, designed by PGA Tour veteran Mark McCumber, has hosted events for both the more prestigious Hogan and Nike Tours (now Nationwide) in the 1990’s.

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“Gulfport has great golf history,” said TLT President Gary DeSerrano. “Many of the current PGA Tour players began their careers here and we are expecting to continue that tradition at this event.”

The total purse for this inaugural event is just over $32,000, with the winner getting the lion’s share of the pot with $17,675. Last week’s winner on the TLT, Alan Weant, is in the field this week after earning his first tour victory at the Stonebridge Summer Classic in Bosier City, La.

TLT money leader Brian Kortan isn’t in the field this week, but it will have a local flair with quite a few south Mississippi golfers in the field including Carriere’s Dustin Bounds who is playing as an amateur out of Millbrook Country Club.

Players that once proved their merit on the TLT include PGA Tour regulars Tim Herron, Harrison Frazar and Jason Hill as well as Cameron Beckman, J.L. Lewis and Ryan Palmer.

Approximately 20 players have graduated from the TLT to the PGA.