Juniors will play for Mike Taylor Trophy

The Randy Watkins/Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame Junior Golf Championship will be held at Lake Caroline Golf Club in Madison Saturday and Sunday.

The overall winner will be awarded the first Mike Taylor Trophy, named for Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Mike Taylor, widely considered Mississippi’s most accomplished amateur golfer and a 10-time winner of the State Am. A permanent plaque will hang in the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, honoring Taylor and the tournament’s annual overall winner. The trophy and tournament are made possible by a financial gift to the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame by Taylor’s long-time friend, businessman Mac Elliott.

Said Elliott, who competed against Taylor as a youngster, “This is my opportunity to recognize my friend Mike Taylor for the great player, great gentleman and great friend he is. He is as good as it gets. I want these junior golfers to know they are following in the footsteps of one of the greats.”

“We’ve got by far the greatest group of junior golfers this state has ever seen,” said Watkins, a former national junior champion himself. “Most junior golf is played in the summer. My idea is to give the players a competition in the fall to keep them sharp, keep them playing. Points earned from this tournament will count on the 2015 Mississippi Junior Golf Association (MJGA) standings.”

Watkins is partnering with the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and the Mississippi Golf Association to honor the state’s golf legends.

Taylor will be the featured speaker at a banquet Saturday night at the Hall of Fame on Lakeland Avenue.

The different gender and age group divisions will also be named for Mississippi Sports Hall of Famers. Girls will compete in the Mary Mills Division. Boys, ages 14-15, will compete in the Johnny Pott Division. Boys, 12-13, will compete in the Ken Lindsay Division. Boys, 10-11, will play in the James Ray Carpenter Division. Boys, 9-and-under, will compete in the Joe Iupe, Jr. Division.

“The MJGA has a great relationship with Randy Watkins since it’s inception in 2000. We are thankful for his support and willingness to host junior events at his courses,” said Margo Coleman, executive director. “Mike Taylor is a great friend to Mississippi golf and we are excited to have the overall boys champion’s name on the Mike Taylor plaque and hang proudly in the MS Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.

“What an awesome partnership with the  MJGA, MS Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, and Randy Watkins. It’s a great future for junior in Mississippi,” Coleman added.

“The idea is for today’s juniors to learn about the state’s golf heroes and golf history,” Watkins said. “I want them to know how great a player Mike Taylor was. He set the standard for those who followed him, including me.”

 

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