Oct. 6, 2010
By Michael Kerekes, The Natchez Democrat, Miss.
NATCHEZ, La. -- Beau Pre Country Club has seen its fair share of golf tournaments over the years, but this week marked the first time it hosted a college tournament.
The Alcorn State River City Invitational took place at Beau Pre Monday and Tuesday, with six teams participating: Alcorn State, Texas Southern, Prairie View A&M, Alabama A&M, Mississippi Valley State and Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
The Braves men finished fourth, shooting 805 as a team. Alabama A&M placed first with a score of 613, followed by Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 643 and Prairie View A&M with 673.
In the women's bracket, Prairie View placed first at 658 strokes. Texas Southern came in second, shooting 777 and Mississippi Valley State shot an 843 to finish in third.
The tournament was the first ever hosted by Alcorn State, Braves golf coach Tom Matthews said.
"I'm trying to have my kids, and kids in the SWAC, play on the best and toughest golf courses around, and this is one of them," Matthews said.
Matthews, who is a member at Beau Pre, uses the course for his team to practice on. Beau Pre Golf Pro Tom Bryant said he was more than happy to host the event when Matthews approached him about it.
"This is pretty unique for us. It's our first ever college event out here, SWAC or otherwise," Bryant said.
"We always encourage youth to play the game, and while these are young men and women, they're still younger than most out here. We encourage them to come out, and we think they enjoy it."
Alcorn's Mario Lamela was the Low Medalist for the men, shooting 148. Lamela said it felt good to win, since it was Alcorn's tournament they were playing in.
"We're holding it down for the home team," Lamela said.
"Practicing out here really helped. I know the golf course, when to hit it and when not to. I had a birdie on 17 and an eagle on 18, so that helped."
Although Lamela shot a 74 both days, he said his putting improved significantly from day one to day two.
"I did better today. Putting helps. It doesn't matter how good you hit it, if you can't put you can't score. I'll take a good putting day over a good striking day," Lamela said.
Matthews said practicing on a course like Beau Pre's in a tournament would help get his players ready for the SWAC Tournament in February.
"We don't have a golf course per se at Alcorn, and this is a difficult course to play, especially the greens," Matthews said.
"We have a really young team, and they'll be there before it's over. By the time the SWAC tournament rolls around, we'll be seeing some better scores."