In 1968, the Magnolia Classic teed off for the first time in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. 50 years later, the name and the location may have changed, but the tournament is going strong. Since 2013 the event has been called the Sanderson Farms Championship and is now hosted by the Country Club of Jackson. Executive Director of the event, Steve Jent reflected on the history of the tournament and praised those who have kept the tradition alive.
Who would’ve known that a tournament that started in Hattiesburg in 1968 would still be here 50 years later,” Jent said. “I know there have been times where they thought it may be the last year, but there are a lot of great men and women in MS that keep this thing going. The latest is Joe Sanderson and his awesome team at Sanderson Farms, and we are so lucky to here for our 50th year.”
Aside from the competitive nature of the PGA tour, the event also functions as a partner to the Friends of Children’s Hospital nonprofit, with all proceeds from the tournament benefitting Batson’s Children Hospital.
Founded in 1989, Friends works to support and promote Mississippi’s only hospital designed and equipped specifically for the care and treatment of sick or injured children,” the tournament website states. “Their goal is to raise money for state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and services for all pediatric patients by building a statewide base of community support.”
As for the golf, last year’s champion Cody Gribble is back to defend his title. As a winner of the event, Gribble had his name added to the list of champions of the tournament, a list that includes several PGA greats, including Payne Stewart.
Also rounding out the field are several notable names on the tour such as Angel Cabrera, Davis Love III, Ratief Goosen, Stuart Appleby and many more. A couple of Mississippi natives are competing this year as well. Johnathon Randolph is a Brandon native and an Ole Miss grad. Competing as an amateur, Ross Bell is from Madison and is a member of the Mississippi State golf team.
The Sanderson Farms Championship runs through Sunday and tickets are still available, click here for more information.