BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - On a chilly morning professional golfers had a goal of heating up their game in hopes of earning a shot at this week's Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
Diamondhead Country Club pro Chris Altese says the competition on the Champions Tour is stiff.
Altese said,"A lot of winners out there. You look at the list of players and you'll see guys that have two or three wins out there on the regular tour trying to earn a spot in this tournament."@
Former Mississippi Gulf Coast Ben Hogan Tour winner Dick Mast had a difficult day, a 7-over 79.
Blaine McCallister shot a one over 73...
Javier Sanchez was in the clubhouse with an even par 72. Not good enough. He says earning a spot on the Champions Tour is like winning the lottery.
"Players are so good and there's no room for guys like myself to play out here so you have to fight your way into it, it's difficult. It's just like buying a lottery ticket,"stated Sanchez.
Jim Carter had 4 birdies and a bogey to close out play at 3-under 69.....along with Patrick Horgan who had 5 birdies and 2 bogeys. They would both miss out on qualifying by one stroke.
Joe Daley cracked the top five.. his 6 birdies and 2 bogeys gave him a 4-under 68.... tied with Benjamin Bates.
Bob Friend also qualified with a 4-under 68. He's the son of Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Friend of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Frank Esposito tied for first place with a 5-under 67. He says he felt good out there with 5 birdies and no bogeys.
Esposito said,"I kept it in play. It's a tight golf course out there. I kept it inbounds every hole. I kept it in play and I have some good iron shots and you know, I made a couple of putts
Esposito, Sonny Skinner, Bates, Friend and Daley earned a spot in the 2014 Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic beginning Friday at Fallen Oak.