Players rave over Mississippi course conditions

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:37 IST

American tour golfers are always looking for better grass, and this week's Southern Farm Bureau Classic should offer just what they like.

Players rave over Mississippi course conditions

Madison:

American tour golfers are always looking for better grass, and this week's Southern Farm Bureau Classic should offer just what they like.The Annandale Golf Course's recent switch to Bermuda greens has been praised by players and may have led to one of the Classic's stronger fields when play starts Thursday."It's almost like playing a new golf course with the greens like this,'' defending champion Heath Slocum said.Winners of 13 majors are entered in the tournament, which this year plays opposite the American Express Championship in Hertfordshire, England.Top notchThe Mississippi tournament has struggled to draw top players in the past. But this year, a handful of those from the top 50 on US tour's order of merit are entered in the field of 132, and the more competitive greens are getting some of the credit for that.The old greens at the par-72, 7,199-yard course a few kilometers north of Jackson were cut from bentgrass. The greens suffered under the Mississippi sun and have been soft and pitted with ball marks, footprints and other obstacles in recent tournaments, several players said.Many golfers target the tournament because it offers them a late-season chance to make a move on the money list or ensure they are qualified for the tour next season. Low scoresBut Todd Hamilton said the improved grass is important because a course with quality concerns isn't likely to be a hot draw among those who sit higher on the money list. "It could be nice designwise, but if it's not in very good shape, I personally wouldn't want to play and I bet 75 per cent of the guys wouldn't want to play either,'' Hamilton said. The course's previous condition hampered putting, but the softness of the greens also helped lower scores. Slocum won last year with a 21-under-par 267. Excluding the weather-shortened 2002 tournament, the winning score has been an average of 267 since 2000. And the cut to 70 players after two rounds has been under par for 10 of the last 11 years. (AP)



Topics : Golf
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