Firecracker Preview

Defending champions Dale Cagnolatti and Alex Malmay head the field for the 42nd annual Firecracker 4-Ball this weekend at the Morehouse Country Club. Tournament activities get under way with a pre-tournament scramble Friday, followed by the main event on Saturday and Sunday. Tee times for all three days are 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Firing a 14-under 130, Cagnolatti and Malmay ran away with last year's tournament, finishing five strokes ahead of runner-ups Bob Cooper and Tanner McDonald.

For Cagnolatti, 2012 was a magical year. After finishing runner-up in the Firecracker twice and thrice in the Bill Carpenter Memorial Individual, Cagnolatti won both of the MCC's major open tournaments last year. Malmay, who completed his eligibility as a member of the ULM golf team last season, won the Firecracker in his first appearance. The former Riverfield Raider carded a second-round eagle on No. 8 to highlight last year's effort.

Cooper is seeking his 10th Firecracker title with his seventh different partner. The Monroe lefthander is paired with tournament newcomer Stan Humphries, a former ULM and San Diego Chargers' quarterback.

Seeking to add a Firecracker title to his recent Carpenter Memorial championship, Bob Perry will play alongside Greyden Blevins. Both Texans are entering their senior seasons with the Southeastern Oklahoma State University golf team. Shooting 147, the steady Perry won the Carpenter Memorial in his first appearance, June 1-2. Two years ago, Blevins won the Texas State Junior College Individual Championship while playing at McLennan Community College.

Coming off of a runner-up finish in the Carpenter Memorial, Brett Clausing will team with Chase Bostick. Recovering from a nine-over 81 in the first round, Clausing charged back to shoot 67 in the final round to climb within a stroke of Perry in the final standings.

Steve Freeland, who shook off the rust to finish third in the Carpenter Memorial, is paired with Hunter Buatt. Despite playing on an extremely limited basis over the past year, Freeland shot 150 in the Carpenter Memorial, three shots behind Perry. Word around the MCC has it that Freeland has been playing regularly over the past month. Buatt is a two-time Firecracker champion, pairing with Phillip Lester to win the event in 1985 and 1999.

Among the other groups to watch in the championship flight are Austin West and Nathan Anderson, Mike Sebren and Jay Yeldell, Boo Waller and Luke Cook, Mark Counts and Danny McMillan, and Wyatt and Joel Boyette.

MCC Pro Shop manager Alan Murry says the warm summer weather has been beneficial to the course.

“The course is in better shape than it has been,” Murry said. “We had a rough spring because we didn't really have any warm weather. The course has improved over the last two to three weeks.”