E.A. Sports Today

Cole confident courting County

Series points leader likes position entering tournament (with Friday tee times)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Ty Cole likes everything about his position going into Friday’s opening round of the 78th Calhoun County Championship. He certainly likes the view.

He goes into the final event on the Calhoun County Golf Tour holding a 7.5-point lead in the race for Player of the Year. And he says he’s as confident going into the tournament as any event he’s entered this year, to the degree that if he plays at Cane Creek Golf Course this week like he has the last two weeks, the potential is there to go deep.

“I’d much rather be leading than chasing,” Cole said. “I know some people would like to be chasing, but I prefer for everybody to have to catch me. The mindset doesn’t change. I’m showing up (Friday) morning at 10 o’clock to try to beat everybody down there.”

The 39-year-old former mini-tour player from Asbury, eligible for the Tour as a member of the Silver Lakes range program, will be County Player of the Year – and the No. 1 seed in the County Match Play Championship — if he wins the County Championship for the second year in a row. Of course, Grant Hockman or Jeremy McGatha, who goes into the weekend third (62.5 points behind), could win the title if they win the tournament, too.

Gary Wigington, now fourth in points after three straight top-3 Tour finishes, can win an unprecedented third straight Player of the Year if he wins his fourth County title in five years and gets a little help from the field. Jaylon Ellison and Ott Chandler, last week’s County Senior runner-up, are fifth and sixth in the standings, respectively, and also considered viable contenders.

With all that’s on the line, Cole’s sole focus is on the County Championship.

The confidence he has going into it stems from his history on the course. He won both County Tour events there last year and says the layout “suits my game.” And playing from the blue tees all three days, the course is all in front of him.

He did finish T-4 in the Pro-Invitational there earlier this year, six shots behind winner Hockman, but noted he had multiple three-putts.

“Winning the tournament means more to me than anything,” he said. “The Player of the year, that’s great; that means I played better than everybody else for the whole year, but for me, I’m a competitor; it’s all about winning.

“And if you the tournament everything else falls in line. If I go down there and win the tournament like I’m setting my goal to, all that other stuff will have to be there because you can’t go down there and win a Calhoun County Championship and not play good. The talent is too good to go with your B game and expect everybody to get out of the way and let you win.”

You can learn more about Cole from the “Next On The Tee” feature located elsewhere on this website.

NEW CIDER RIDGE EVENT: There’s a new tournament on the county golf horizon with a format relatively new to area events.

The 2014 Cider Ridge Fall Scrimmage is a two-man best-ball Stableford event Sept. 12-13. And, with it being football season, the scoring will carry a football theme.

Pars will be called extra points and worth one point. Birdies are field goals worth three points. Eagles are touchdowns worth six points. There are no deductions for bogeys and others.

“I think that’s the thing – it’s different from what people are used to,” Cider Ridge director of golf Doug Wert said. “It’s a different way to play, a funner way to play.

“It’s more of a match-play format in some aspects; you’re not worried about total score. You have a bogey or double, it’s not going to hurt you and you’re only going to be rewarded for playing good holes. I think it’ll be different and interesting and I hope being different will appeal to people.”

That’s already been proven. Wert ran similar tournaments when he oversaw Penn State’s golf facilities and the events drew about 100 players.

The Scrimmage is open to all players. Entry fee is $125 ($85 for Cider Ridge members) and deadline for entries is Sept. 1. Players must be registered and paid in order to play.

The field will be flighted after Saturday’s round. All play will be staged from the course’s III tees on Saturday, with the Championship Flight moving back to the II tees Sunday.

Call the pro shop (831-7222) for details and entry forms.

Find a complete listing of tournaments reported to East Alabama Sports Today in the website’s Golf section under Tournament Schedule. To have your event listed, send an email several weeks in advance to musky@wrightmediacorp.com

RAISE THE TROPHY: Jake Minnix knocked off two multiple champions on the way to winning his first Cherokee County CC club championship this week.

Minnix took down six-time winner David Garrett 2&1 in Wednesday’s final. He beat three-time past and defending champion Scott Hays 1-up in the semifinals.

Minnix never trailed in the championship match. Despite a balky putter at times, he was 2-up at the turn and through 11. Garrett won 13 to close within one, then Minnix won the next two holes to to 3-up with three to play. He closed it out with a seven-footer for par on No. 17

Jaylon Ellison won the season-long Anniston CC match play championship, defeating Richard Turner in the final.

Al Muskewitz is Content Editor/Senior Writer of East Alabama Sports Today. He can be reached at musky@wrightmediacorp.com and followed on Twitter @easportstoday1.

At Cane Creek GC
Friday’s qualifying tee times

8:50 a.m. – Keith Raisanen, Mike Lett, Tim Davis
9:06 – Lance Evans, Ott Chandler, Dalton Chandler, John Lindsey
9:54 – Scott Smith, Chip Howell, Frank Toland, David Sanders
10:02 – Grant Hockman, TJ McGatha, David Martin, Robin Wood
10:10 — Jeremy McGatha, Andrew Brooks, Ty Cole, Matt Rodgers
12:58 p.m. – Jaylon Ellison, Adrian Geeting, Jeff Borrelli
1:06 – Jason Johnson, Landon Straub, George Salmon, Billy Thompson
1:30 – Austin Minter, Nick Pollard, Josh Poole, Caleb McKinney
2:00 – Clay Calkins, John Stanford, Allen Mangham
2:30 – Dan Griffin, Dan McClellan, Kenny Wright, Scott Eaton
2:42 – Benji Turley, Gary Wigington, Cypress Hathorn, Layton Bussey
3:06 – Heath Waldrop, Justin Bates, Dakota Yawn, Deering
3:14 – Daniel Black, Tim Steward, Jimbo Phillips

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