W.T. "Bill" Carpenter Memorial Individual Preview

Bob Cooper has grown quite fond of the Morehouse Country Club golf course over the years. As many times as the former lefthanded national champion from Monroe has left the Bastrop course as a victor over the years, it's only natural that he would feel that way.

“I always enjoy playing at Bastrop,” Cooper said. “I've been playing the course since high school and I always enjoy coming up there and seeing everybody.”

Seeking his third straight title, Cooper heads the field for the W.T. "Bill" Carpenter Memorial Individual Tournament this weekend at the MCC. Tee times for the 72-hole event are 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Cooper has won the tournament four times, including three of the last four. He was also runner-up in 2007 when he finished one stroke behind Hubert “Hook” Chaffold.

Among the top challengers who had entered as of late Wednesday, included 2009 champion Fayette “The Dragon” Jordan, 2011 runner-up Jim Bennett, 2010 runner-up Brett Clausing, Mike Sebren, Frank Maxwell and Dale Cagnolatti.

Entries for the tournament are still being accepted.

“Normally, the last day or two, the field doubles,” said MCC Pro Shop manager Alan Murry. “I figure we'll end up with 60 or 70-something golfers.”

More often than not, the tournament comes down to the final hole. Last year, Cooper shot 141, while dual runner-up Bennett and Corey Pepper were one stroke back. In 2010, Cooper fired a 142 to edge Clausing by two shots.

“This is always one of the best individual tournaments in the area,” Cooper said. “It's always a nail biter. It always draws a good, quality field. I wish we had more individual tournaments in the area.”

Cooper is looking to get off to a better start this year after an uncharacteristic bad start to both rounds last June. He bogeyed No. 1 on Saturday, followed by a double bogey on the same hole the following day for his only two over par holes of the entire tournament.

“I've been trying to get that out of my mind, but don't think I haven't been thinking about it,” Cooper chuckled. “I'll try to have a gameplan by the time I get there Saturday.”

Cooper's success at the MCC hasn't been limited to the Carpenter Memorial. He is a record nine-time winner of the Firecracker 4-Ball, the club's premier golf event. Last year, he teamed with Jody Moss to win the Firecracker with his sixth different partner.

Cooper and Moss will return to defend their title in the 41st annual Firecracker, scheduled for June 30-31.

“Jody and I will try to defend,” Cooper said of the upcoming Firecracker.

Cooper and Moss teamed up to win the recent member-member tournament at Bayou DeSiard Country Club. In his most recent outing, Cooper paired with Eric Hsu to win win the Bayou DeSiard Cup 4-Ball two weeks ago.