Senior state tournament set to tee off Friday

Published 9:37 pm Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rain has caused headaches for the Alabama State Senior Golf Championship, but thanks to some maneuvering by the Alabama Golf Association and some help from Selma’s Tommy Burns, the tournament will start Friday at the Selma Country Club.

Thunderstorms at the end of April caused damage to the course at the Country Club of Mobile, the original planned site of the tournament. Burns, PGA professional with the Selma Country Club, heard about the damage and immediately volunteered for the tournament to be played in Selma.

“They had to find a new location for it in a two week period,” Burns said. “When I heard word of it, I sent an email to them telling them we would love to provide a venue for them to play it. They quickly got back to me.”

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The three-day tournament will start at 8 a.m. Friday morning.

Burns said the 90-player field should be prepared to battle a very difficult setup, especially with the wind likely to pick up on Friday and Saturday.

“It is supposed to be windy for the next two days so the golf course is going to be pretty difficult,” Burns said. “Our greens are small and we have narrow fairways, so although we aren’t the longest course in the world by any stretch of the imagination, our golf course is very unforgiving on anything less than good golf shots.”

The defending champion is Emile Vaughan, who won last year’s event at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club in Montgomery.

Vaughan is back to defend his title and will tee off at 8:20 a.m.

This is the second time the Selma Country Club has hosted the Alabama State Amateur Championship. Selma also hosted the tournament in 2009.

Don Blanton from Selma won the tournament that year and will tee off at 9:50 a.m. Thursday.

Burns is excited about the strength of this year’s field, especially with the last five champions of the event in this year’s field, but he’s also expecting the course to challenge the state’s best senior players.

“I would think if you shoot par you would be very close to winning this golf tournament,” Burns said.