By BILL BURRUS
As expected, Mother Nature cut the 72nd annual Greenwood Country Club Invitational short.
Heavy rains on Sunday washed out the third and final round of golf — leaving Tucker Jenkins of Baldwyn and Belden’s Joseph Deraney to settle things in a sudden-death playoff. Both were tied for the lead at 9-under-par after two rounds.
Sunday’s final round was called by the Mississippi Golf Association and the GCC Invitational committee around 2:30 p.m. while the last group was on the par-4 second hole. Soon after, the two leaders then teed off on the par-4 17th on the first playoff hole.
Deraney, a former Mississippi State golfer, won the first playoff hole with a par after nearly hitting his tee shot out of bounds. He was able to recover when a casual water ruling allowed the 2018 Canadian Men’s Mid-Amateur champion to drop his ball in the fairway.
Deraney hit his second shot within 12 feet and lipped-out for birdie, but par was good enough to finish off the rain-shortened event on the opening playoff hole.
“My tee ball probably hit a tree to stay in bounds, and I made the most of the break,” Deraney said. “It’s good to get my first win in my first trip here, no matter how it comes.”
About 10 years ago, Deraney, the 2019 Mississippi state amateur champion, decided to play in the Tennessee State Amateur while living in Memphis because he loved the host course — Colonial Country Club. That weekend he finished third and restoked his desire to compete.
In 2015, Deraney's name started to appear regularly on the top of national leaderboards and he nearly broke through with a big win at the Lupton Invitational. He finished regulation tied for first before ultimately losing in a playoff to Charles Waddell. The runner-up finish was one of five top-10 AmateurGolf.com Ranking event finishes that year.
GCC Invitational first-round leader Steve Pannell of Greenwood carded a 72 Saturday and tied for ninth at -7.
“I hate the weather got us, but we all knew that it was probably going to play out like this,” said Pannell, who had his best round ever on his home course Friday with a 65. “I would have loved to been able to finish, but I am happy with how I played anyway.”
Ed Wall of Jackson, Kirk Reeder of Tupelo, Brother Sandifer of Greenville and Bill Hood of Greenville all tied for third at 8-under.
The next-best outing for a Greenwood golfer came from Alan Ellis. The two-time Invitational champ shot back-to-back 71s and wound up tied for 16th. Former Greenwood resident Hugh Muse also finished at -2.
nContact Bill Burrus at 581-7237 or firstname.lastname@example.org.