E.A. Sports Today

It all comes down to this

Top-seeded Wigington takes on No. 10 Brooks for the County Match Play Championship title





By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

It all comes down to this.

The Calhoun County Match Play Championship is down to two players who have never played together before, both hit it a long way and, as the County Golf Tour statistics attest, putt the lights out of it.

It’s top-seeded Gary Wigington vs. No. 10 Andrew Brooks, 2:30 p.m. Thursday at Cane Creek, for all the marbles. And it could go a while.

“I think it will be a fun match,” Wigington said.

“Ever since we talked Monday and set the date I’ve been chomping at the bit,” said Brooks.

It couldn’t be much closer. Wigington was second on the County Tour in scoring, fourth in greens, second in putts and second in putts per greens in regulation. Brooks led the Tour in putts per greens, was second in three-putt avoidance and fifth in overall putts. Both are in the top 10 in scrambling.

To reach the final, Wigington, the three-time reigning Player of the Year and 2012 Match Play champion, defeated No. 16 Jeff Borrelli (6&5), No. 8 Matt Rogers (3&1) and No. 5 Jaylon Ellison (2&1). Brooks, meanwhile, defeated No. 7 Adrian Geeting (1 up), No. 15 Clay Calkins (2 up) and No. 3 Jeremy McGatha (2&1).

It’s the second year in a row a No. 10 seed has reached the championship match.

If he wins, Wigington would be the first player to win two Match Play titles in the five-year history of the event, join Ellison (in 2010) as the only players to win three straight County Tour events and tie Ellison for all-time Tour wins (nine).

“It’s the last one of the season and I would love to go out in a winning fashion,” Wigington said. “I do want to go out on a winning note, so I am motivated to try to do that.”

Favor in the final, both players agree, will fall to the one who makes the fewest mistakes and seizes the opportunities best when their opponent falters.

“I have nothing to lose,” Brooks said. “There’s really no pressure. If I don’t win this match I still exceeded most expectations. He’s the No. 1 overall seed. He was expected in the beginning to run the table, so I guess the way I counteract his experience is I can go out there and play like I have nothing to lose.”

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. 10 Andrew Brooks def. No. 7 Adrian Geeting, 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 def. Black, 6 & 5

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

Championship match
Wigington vs. Brooks, Thursday, 2:30 p.m.

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