Annandale Golf Club is this year’s host for the Mississippi Men’s State Amateur where the best amateur golfers in the state will compete in a four-day, 72-hole individual stroke play format. The golf course will see talent from several Dvision 1 college players including Mississippi State’s Griffin Agent and Ben Nelson.
“It feels good to play in a tournament and to be out here at Annandale where the course is great,” said Agent. “The greens are fast and firm. That was kind of one of my struggles today just having holes where you really have to watch where you miss it because the greens are so firm that it’s hard to get up and down and you can really put yourself in some tough spots.”
One of the toughest holes this week will be the 532-yard par 5 18th hole surrounded by water. Agent was one of just a few golfers to sneak away with a birdie on it on Thursday.
“Luckily I played 18 well,” said Agent. “I hit a drive a little right and it got away from me. I normally like to go for it in two but I laid up and got the up and down for birdie.”
Mississippi State junior Ben Nelson knows the course well. Annandale is his home course, which can sometimes come with extra pressure to perform.
“That’s what everyone has been asking me,” said Nelson. “‘How you going to play this week…are you going to light it up this week?’ but I’m just trying to treat it like every other golf tournament. It’s kind of tougher to do when it’s your home course because you want to do things that you normally do but you can’t.”
Nelson lead the tournament after the first day after firing a four under par round.
“I struck it really good,” he said. “I hit 18 greens. I hit every green. I aimed for a lot of middle of the greens and tried to keep it real simple.”
Defending champion and 2005 Mississippi State alum Joe Deraney closed out a 67 today to put him at the top of the leaderboard after the first two days.
“I felt definitely more comfortable the second time because I didn’t get to see the golf course the first time. The course is soft and the greens are firey still, but with all the rain if you can hit your number you can still stop it close and make some birdies.”