Stockett, Baggett to play for MWGA championship Thursday

Former St. Martin high golfer Sydney Cato at the Mississippi women’s Golf Amateur Tournament.
Former St. Martin high golfer Sydney Cato at the Mississippi women’s Golf Amateur Tournament. Special to the Sun Herald

Blair Stockett denied Kathleen Gallagher’s bid to repeat as Mississippi Women’s Golf Association amateur champion Wednesday at Shell Landing defeating the LSU golfer.

Stockett won their semifinal match. She advances to play Pressley Baggett in the championship match today with a tee time of 9:30 a.m. Baggett defeated April Leonard in the other semifinal.

The first flight tees off at 9:06 a.m. and the second flight at 8:50 a.m. In the first flight, nine-time tournament champion Lou Hart faces Pam Posey for the flight championship. Hart beat Sydney Cato, who led St. Martin to the 2016 Class 6A state championship, in their semifinal round. The first flight features past state title holders as Posey won the title in 2000.

The second flight features Sissy Kern and Heidi Hill.

Shell Landing head golf pro Jerry Covich believes play has been good during the tournament, which started Monday.

Hart, who has won the tournament nine times in the past, and who owns a cabin on the Biloxi River, said the course is playing well, even with the recent rain that has fallen on the course this week.

For St. Martin golf Sydney Cato, Shell Landing is home of sorts as she works in the club’s pro shop. “I got a couple days off and came out here to play golf,” she said.

Cato, who is playing in the first flight, said she didn’t have a great qualifying round, but recovered Tuesday with a eight and six win.

“I’m having a ball,” Cato said. “It’s good to come out here, be with the ladies and play.”

Despite the rain, Dinah Kennedy, president-elect of the MWGA, feels the course has been playing well for the ladies.

“The course is one of the best courses we have had our tournament on,” Kennedy said. She said the course has been playing well for both the championship flight, which is teeing off at the blue tees and is playing over 5,700 feet, and other flights, which are teeing off from the white tees, cutting off a little over 1,000 feet of play.

“It’s been awesome,” Kennedy said.“The greens are wonderful and the course is set up really well. It’s making for a great championship.”

Play started Monday with stroke play among 61 golfers. Based on their scores, the golfers were divided into eight flights, with the top eight golfers in the championship flight. Match play started Tuesday with the semi-finals for each flight Wednesday. Championship and consolation matches continue Thursday.

The MGWA state amateur title is making its first appearance at Shell Landing in the 85 years of the tournament. Last week Golf Digest named Shell Landing the sixth best golf course in Mississippi.