E.A. Sports Today

Ellison first to advance

Bounces back from slow start, closes strong to win

Jaylon Ellison finished with a flurry and defeated Lance Evans 2&1 Tuesday in the first match of this year’s Calhoun County Match Play Championship.

Ellison, the No. 5 seed, struggled on the greens early and fell behind two holes, but fought back and birdied three of the last four holes to take out the 12th-seeded Evans. He was 4-under-par for the 17 holes played.

“It was kind of typical for my story for the whole year,” Ellison said. “I three-putted the first hole and No. 4, so I was 2-down.

“It was a tough match. Lance played well. I’m thankful I made it through.”

Ellison will play the winner of the Grant Hockman-Billy Thompson match, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.

Ellison got his round going with a birdie on the 200-yard par-3 sixth and pulled into the lead. Evans birdied 12 and 13 to draw even and both players birdied 14. Ellison birdied 16 to go back ahead and closed it out with a birdie on 17 after Evans’ aggressive play off the tee led to his third double bogey of the round.

Ellison went into the match coming off his first under-par showing in a pro event. He shot 141 in the Emerald Coast Tour event at Fort Rucker, finishing as low amateur and tied for fourth overall.

“My results have been volatile throughout the year, I’m just trying to continue to compete and have fun,” he said. “I did well. I feel like it was an opportunity to grow my game and I’m looking forward to playing in their Tour Championship in Biloxi.”

ASSISTANT ON BOARD: Neal Grusczynski, a former player and part-time assistant at Xavier, joined Jacksonville State golf coach James Hobbs’ staff Monday. He succeeds Cullen Carstens, who left the Gamecocks earlier this summer to join the men’s staff at Kansas State.

Grusczynski will work with both programs in a similar arrangement as Carstens.

“When I go with one, he’ll be with the other,” Hobbs said. “I was really at ease with Cullen going off with either team and I’m hoping Neal will be able to have the same rapport with both teams as Cullen did.”

The JSU women’s team has a busy September. It opens in South Carolina and hosts its own 12-team tournament at Silver lakes the end of the month. In between, it plays in the Golfweek Conference Challenge in Colorado.

Calhoun County Match Play Championship

Buddy Moore Bracket
No. 1 Gary Wigington vs. No. 16 Jeff Borrelli
No. 8 Matt Rogers vs. No. 9 Scott Martin
No. 4 Grant Hockman vs. No. 13 Billy Thompson
No. 5 Jaylon Ellison def. No. 12 Lance Evans, 2 & 1

Chris Banister Bracket
No. 2 Ty Cole vs. No. 15 Clay Calkins
No. 7 Adrian Geeting vs. No. 10 Andrew Brooks
No. 3 Jeremy McGatha vs. No. 14 Nick Pollard
No. 6 Ott Chandler vs. No. 11 Daniel Black

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