DIAMONDHEAD, MS (WLOX) - An early wake-up call for golfers Monday morning who, out of a field of over 50 players, went head-to-head at the Diamondhead Country Club for the Rapiscan Systems Classic Qualifier.
The best senior golfers in the world competed for four playing spots in the PGA Tour Champions Rapiscan Systems Classic field at Fallen Oak beginning Friday, March 29th through Sunday, March 31st.
2003 PGA Champion Shaun Micheel finished in first place on the leaderboard with six under 66 strokes, nine birdies - three in a row on holes 5, 6, & 7 - and three bogeys.
“I haven’t had much success in these qualifiers, this is my first one of the three that I’ve tried," Micheel told WLOX. I came out with just a really calm day and an opportunity to post a good score. The greens were fast, a little bit of wind, I mean so their were a lot of variables in there that kind of made you really have to focus. The putting is really how you win these things and I was able to capitalize on a few of the good shots that I hit into the greens.”
Following Micheel was Bob May, who came in second, and he finished with an eagle, five birdies and five under 67 strokes.
Third place was decided in a runoff and it was Ken Duke who came out on top, finishing the day with five birdies as well and 12 par for the course despite having trouble with the bunkers at Diamondhead.
“I hit the first one, second one. I hit the first three holes, four holes or something like that. I tried to dodge them the rest of the way around, but it was a great day," Duke told WLOX. The golf course is very tricky, very windy. I thought it played easy, but as a player we kind of see that sometimes. You can see how tricky it was just because the scores wasn’t as low as what it should’ve been to be honest with you.”
John Inman rounded out the four qualifiers, finishing with six birdies and two bogeys tying with Duke for four under 68 strokes.