E.A. Sports Today

Title match set

Brooks to meet Wigington for County Match Play crown after defeating McGatha

Andrew Brooks (L) gets a handshake from Jeremy McGatha after winning their County Match Play semifinal match Sunday.

Andrew Brooks (L) gets a handshake from Jeremy McGatha after winning their County Match Play semifinal match Sunday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The championship match for the Calhoun County Match Play Championship is set.

Playing with the resolve of a player with something to prove, 10th-seeded Andrew Brooks secured his spot in the title match Sunday by defeating No. 3 Jeremy McGatha 2 & 1 at Cane Creek Golf Course.

Brooks, a 29-year-old Wellington resident who missed last year’s match-play field by only a few points, will meet top-seeded Gary Wigington for the title at a date to be determined.

“It’s almost surreal,” Brooks said. “From top to bottom everybody in this thing is a good player; anybody can win on any given day … but the way things came down last year with me not being able to get in and then come back this year with playing some of the best golf I’ve played in a long time, I’m ecstatic.”

The long-hitting Brooks won two of the match’s first three holes and led 3 up at the turn. McGatha drew it back to 1 up with a par save from the hazard on 11 and a birdie on 14, but then Brooks birdied 16 to take the match dormie.

“I knew that needed to be my game plan coming in,” Brooks said. “Jeremy’s a great player so I knew my best chance was to jump on him early and put a little added pressure on him.”

Brooks made three long birdie putts in the match, two to win holes and one to force McGatha to match. Meanwhile, McGatha was missing with his irons.

Brooks was 1-under-par when the match ended. McGatha was 2-over.

“Andrew made some good putts today,” McGatha said. “It seemed like every time I thought mine was about to go in they wouldn’t and Andrew made some; that’s what it takes to win in match play. You’ve got to roll those putts in. I wasn’t hitting my irons good and I wasn’t rolling putts in. It seems like I do this every year, make it about to the semis and lose.”

Brooks’ road to the final went through No. 7 Adrian Geeting, No. 15 Clay Calkins and McGatha. Wigington’s road went through No. 16 Jeff Borrelli, No. 8 Matt Rogers and No. 5 Jaylon Ellison.

Both players are among the longest hitters on the Calhoun County Golf Tour and both were among the leaders in the Tour’s putting statistics. Brooks was No. 1 in putts per greens in regulation, while Wigington was No. 2 in that stat and in overall putting.

“I think it will be a good match since our games are very similar,” Wigington said.

Check out a brief profile on Brooks in the Next on the Tee feature elsewhere on the website.

STATE MID-AM: Anniston’s Jaylon Ellison finished tied for 13th in the State Mid-Amateur Championship after shooting an even-par 70 Sunday at Montgomery Country Club. Cypress Hathorn of Anniston CC finished tied for 30th after a final-round 75.

Vic Kyatt III won the event on the third hole of a playoff with Stan Sherlin. Kyatt shot 66 Sunday to force extra holes.

Calhoun County Match Play Championship
(All matches at Cane Creek Golf Course)

First-round matches
Buddy Moore Bracket

No. 1 Gary Wigington def. No. 16 Jeff Borrelli, 6 & 5
No. 8 Matt Rogers def. No. 9 Scott Martin, 2 & 1
No. 13 Billy Thompson def. No. 4 Grant Hockman, 2 & 1
No. 5 Jaylon Ellison def. No. 12 Lance Evans, 2 & 1

Chris Banister Bracket
No. 15 Clay Calkins def. No. 2 Ty Cole, walkover
No. 7 Adrian Geeting vs. No. 10 Andrew Brooks, 1 up
No. 3 Jeremy McGatha def. No. 14 Nick Pollard, 5 & 4
No. 11 Daniel Black def. No. 6 Ott Chandler, 19 holes

Second-round matches
Wigington def. Rogers, 3 & 1
Ellison def. Thompson, 3 & 2
Brooks def. Calkins, 2 up
McGatha vs. Black, 6 & 5

Semifinal matches
Wigington vs. Ellison, 2 & 1
Brooks def. McGatha, 2 & 1

Championship match
Wigington vs. Brooks, TBA

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