Meridian Star

July 10, 2013

Keys, Morgan reunite, win at Northwood

Sarah Moomaw
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     After a shaky semifinal round, Easton Keys and TJ Morgan closed out the Bill Davis Fourth of July Tournament with a win on Sunday afternoon at Northwood Country Club.

    The duo won three up with two to go in the holiday match play event over John Rae and Clay Bounds.

    "It feels good, everybody from the club congratulating me, congratulating us," Keys said. "It feels good to know people support you."

    Their second round on Sunday looked similar to Saturday's, going up with an early lead after two holes, but getting there seemed grim.

    In the morning semifinal round against Joey Mabry and Justin Carlett, the top-ranked team was down after the front nine.

    "It was tough, we got down early and really had to back a comeback on the back nine," Keys said. "Happened to win on the last hole. By the time the final match came, we were pretty emotionally drained.

    "It wasn't the prettiest match, but got to an early lead. We won the first two holes. We really set the tone early.   

    Morgan's short game came in handy as he made birdie on first hole.

    "I hit it to about six or seven feet and after that, never looked back," Morgan said.

    Both held strong through the midsection of the course.

    The win came on another birdie by Morgan.

    Keys said Bounds and Rae both hit shots to about seven feet for bird on what would become the last hole.

    Morgan putted his shot from 12 feet out to win the match as their opponents didn't tie the hole.

    "It was good experience playing with an old teammate. We hadn't seen each other since last school year, it was just fun," Morgan said.

    Keys and Morgan were teammates at Meridian Community College before separating for four year schools — Keys is entering his senior year at Arkansas State, while Morgan will be a junior at Mississippi State.

    "He hits further than I hit and usually makes more birdies than I do,” Keys said of his partner. "I figured, I'll make the pars and he make the birdies."

    Keys passed up playing in the Spirit of America Golf Classic in Alabama to return to the course he grew up on. Winning with Morgan, was his first win at Northwood since winning the Club Championship in 2008.

    This year, the Bill Davis memorial tournament returned to a four-day match play schedule with the Fourth of July falling on a Thursday. The last few years, the holiday fell mid-week, forcing a three-day stroke play touranemnt.

    "I really wanted to team up [with Morgan] to see if we could win," Keys said. "As a team, we've got a little more room to go for [a win].

    “There's not a lot of times you get to play match play, it's just different and fun at the same time."