BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Many of the PGA Tour golfers I watched on television years ago are still playing. On Tuesday 34 golfers competed in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic Open Qualifier.
Dick Mast, Keith Clearwater, Gary Hallberg, Donnie Hammond, John Inman, Blaine McCallister, Trevor Dodds, Craig Parry and Guy Boros all made their way to Bay St. Louis, but they all failed to qualify. I remember watching Dick Mast in person covering the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic at Windance in 1990 win first place.
Would another former Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic champion qualify? Four men would take advantage of their opportunity and yes, another former champion who won at Windance did succeed on Tuesday.
I'm getting older but when I saw John Elliott complete his round of golf at Diamondhead with a birdie, I knew he looked familiar. Elliott had the best score on the day with a 7-under 65. Elliott told me he doesn't play golf any more, but decided to give it one more shot. It paid off, not financially yet, but he gets a shot at the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic winner's share of $240,000.
"I don't play golf at all, "said Elliott. "I caddied the last seven days. I caddied as a member-guest Saturday and Sunday and came up for a practice round yesterday and went out and played today."
Why did Elliott look familiar? Here's the answer.
Elliott said, "I won the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic at Windance in 1994. So, there's good memories back here. I actually finished second in another Mississippi Tournament this the Web.com Tour and I haven't been back since. I shot a 65 today so it must be good vibes here."
In 1994 the Mississippi Gulf Coast Classic was part of the Nike Tour. Elliott won $31,500 after he beat Chris Perry in a playoff at Windance. The total purse back then was $175,000.
Will Elliott's Mississippi success continue at Fallen Oak? Come on out and follow Elliott and some of the biggest names in professional golf this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Three others golfers joined Elliott in qualifying, Lance Ten Broeck (-6 66), John Riegger (-5 67), and Kirk Hanefeld (-3 69).
Tickets are $15 a day.