40th Annual Trustmark Invitational Pairs Pros with Amateurs - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

40th Annual Trustmark Invitational Pairs Pros with Amateurs

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Today marks round one of the Mississippi PGA Trustmark Invitational at Laurel Country Club.

The 40th annual event features a unique rivalry.

"It is the only event in Mississippi where the amateurs are pitted against the professionals," says Professional Golfers' Association of America Gulf States Section Executive Director and CEO Robert Brown.

Such a playing field lends itself to some friendly comradery.

"There's always some good ribbing - needle sticking, if you will - amongst the players when we get to an event," says Brown.

But the event also creates a heightened level of competition.

"It's a major championship in the state, and when the red flag goes up and we start teeing everybody off, golf is very serious," says Brown.

That is because there is a lot at stake.

"A total of $10,000 they'll be competing for," says Brown.

Based on past tournament results, it is actually the underdog that often prevails.

"Over the 40 years of the event, about a third of the time PGA professionals have won and two-thirds of the time amateurs have won, so I think that lends itself to the amateurs maybe having a little bit more time to play than our own professionals," says Brown.

But Brown senses a different outcome for this year's event.

"I've got to go with the professionals," says Brown. "I really like our chances here."

Four players currently sit tied atop the leader board at two strokes over par. Three of them are professionals.

The good news - amateurs play for a separate winner's purse.

The tournament resumes tomorrow morning and concludes on Sunday.

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