Doyle Bryan, Judge Little file photo

Doyle Bryan, left, bumps fists with Judge Little as they congratulate each other after Little sunk the winning putt on the second green during last year’s shootout at the Bill Davis Northwood Invitational. The two will team up again in this year’s tournament, which begins Friday.

The Bill Davis Northwood Invitational returns to Northwood Country Club Friday as golfers will face off in a fourball match play format before winners from each flight take part in a shootout Sunday afternoon.

Northwood golf pro Tyler Daniels said the tournament, which takes place annually during the week of Independence Day, will begin with an 18-hole qualifying round Friday before players are divided up into six flights. From there, the six two-person teams in each flight will compete against one another in a round robin format Saturday and Sunday in nine-hole matches.

Once the winners of each flight are announced Sunday, they will begin the shootout, which is a popular feature of the Bill Davis tournament. Friends and family members of the flight winners often follow in their golf carts as the shootout plays out.

“I’ve seen a shootout that ended on 1, and the longest one I’ve ever been a part of ended on No. 7,” Daniels said. “It’s just a lot of fun to have all of the winnings teams with an equal opportunity to win. It’s fun when one of the teams from the lower flights wins it, and it’s also nice to have friends and family have a chance to go out and watch. It’s a lot of fun to have the golf carts grouped around the golfers — it puts a lot more pressure on them.”

Doyle Bryan, who won both the tournament and shootout last year with teammate Judge Little, said he’s looking forward to trying to defend both titles against what he expects to be stiff competition.

“It’s obviously a great tournament every year,” Bryan said. “It’s a great field and a lot of fun to play in. It’s always exciting to play against great competition.”

Making it back to the shootout is always the goal for the Bryan-Little duo, and Bryan said he enjoys bringing the different flight winners together for what almost feels like a second tournament.

“It’s sudden death. … It’s a lot of fun to put pressure on yourself and see what happens,” Bryan said. 

Bryan will once again team up with Little, who he said complements his game well and has for a long time. They two have played together in the tournament for almost two decades.

“When one of us has a bad hole, the other one seems to pick us up,” Bryan explained. “We’re getting a little older, so it’s harder to keep up with the younger guys, but we’ll see what we can do and try our best.”

The tournament is named after former longtime Northwood pro Bill Davis, whose legacy is still felt by Northwood, Daniels said.

“He was an excellent player in his own right — he won an event with Byron Nelson — and he was also an incredible teacher,” Daniels said. “Several boys he taught are in their late 60s to early 70s now, and they’re still members and some of our better players at the club.”

The course had a dry injection two weeks ago, Daniels said, and the bunker renovations are now complete. 

“The course looks great,” Daniels said.

The cost to enter is $200 per player or $400 per team. For more information, call the golf shop at 601-483-5551.


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