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    • Countdown Begins for 4th annual MGRC

    BILOXI -- The official countdown to the 4th annual Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic began Thursday afternoon at Fallen Oak Golf Club with the annual media day, which featured Champions Tour golfer Jeff Sluman. Sluman has been in contention for the championship in the last two Mississippi Gulf Resort Classics, finishing in a tie for second place behind Tom Lehman in 2011 and in a tie for third behind champion Fred Couples in 2012. The MGRC will be played March 22-24 at Fallen Oak. It will be preceded by a junior clinic on March 19 at Shell Landing, presented by the Bacot/McCarty Foundation. The C-Spire Wireless Pro-Am will be held on the day before the championship rounds -- March 21 -- at Fallen Oak. Couples will return to defend his championship and 30 of the top 30 leaders on the money chart will compete. That includes 17 majors winners, among which are six past Masters champions. "Golf has no memory,'' Sluman said. "That is what I have found out after 35 years on the tour. Your mind does have a memory and I love this golf course -- the setup and the look of it. I'm comfortable out there. If you are comfortable and have had some success, you will usually play well.'' There has been a change on the starting times for all three days. There will be split tees every day. Play for the Friday round begins at 10 a.m., and the tournament tees off its Saturday and Sunday rounds at 11 a.m. Once again, the tournament will be carried live on the Golf Channel. There also will be an interactive area for children near the 18th fairway. Sluman has 15 career victories in the pros, including six on the PGA Tour and four on the Champions Tour. He won the 1988 PGA Championship. As to getting over the top and taking home the MGRC Championship, Sluman said, "Make a few putts on the back nine. "Tom Lehman had the lead at 13 and I was 12 under two years ago and Freddie and I were tied. It's about making a few putts at the right time. Those guys did it and I didn't. It was still a great experience and I look forward to coming back.'' Sluman played in all the Champions Tour events in 2011 and 2012, and has played in every tournament this season. "This year we have 26 events -- last year we had 24,'' Sluman said. "If I play them all, I have half the year off. It's not that bad. I finally figured out I can't make any money sitting home and not playing. "I'm very fortunate in my life to play golf, and to remain pretty healthy to continue to play at a high level.'' John Cook, Rocco Mediate and Bernhard Langer have won the first three Champions Tour events this season. There will be one more tournament -- the Toshiba Classic -- March 15-17 at Newport Beach, Calif., before the Champions Tour comes to Fallen Oak. Read more here: