Elliot earns spot in U.S. Amateur tourney; play begins on Friday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Justin Elliott can only be pleased that history didn’t repeat itself.

Last year he entered the qualifying round for the U.S. Amateur Golf Tournament and missed going by one stroke.

August 1-2 he competed against 60 golfers at Dancing Rabbit in Philadelphia, Miss., for two spots. He earned a spot in the U.S. Amateur Tournament by scoring a birdie in a playoff round – and qualifying by one stroke.

The scene from last year could have been repeated, however. Elliott couldn’t find one of his balls. Rules gave him a limited time to locate it and put it into play or take a one-stroke penalty and start over. He found it just under the time limit.

Elliott travels to Winged Foot, N.Y., on Friday to begin competition. He will be among 300 amateurs playing 36 holes over two courses on Monday and Tuesday. The 64 lowest scores will make the cut to compete in the tournament.

Corey Windham, who played on the Demopolis High School golf team with Elliott, will be his caddie at the U.S. Amateur event. Windham also caddied for Elliott at the qualifying round in Mississippi.

Elliott earned a golf scholarship to attend the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg where he is a finance major. He was red-shirted his freshman year and has two more years of eligibility. He earned the scholarship after winning the Alabama amateur title while attending DHS.

Elliott has been a strong presence on the USM team. Most recently he came in fifth out of 160 players at the Mississippi Open in Hattiesburg.

Elliott’s parents played a big part in his pursuit of golf. Gary Elliott coached his son when he first began playing. Tannda Elliott, his mother, served as the golf coach in high school, although by then Elliott was studying with Drew Folsom. He now works with V.J. Trolio, the golf pro at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.

The Elliotts won’t be following their son to Winged Foot. They will be staying home with fingers firmly crossed as their son plays a game of skill that relies a little on luck as well.