E.A. Sports Today

Eagle lands Brooks a title

UPDATED: No. 10 seed makes eagle on 18th hole to win County Match Play Championship

Andrew Brooks (R) sends his winning eagle putt toward the 18th hole in Thursday's championship match. In the main photo, Brooks points to his line on the bracket after winning the title.

Andrew Brooks (R) sends his winning eagle putt toward the 18th hole in Thursday’s championship match. In the main photo, Brooks points to his line on the bracket after winning the title.

Gary Wigington hits from a tough spot on No. 11 Thursday. Wigington hit the green from there to set up a birdie that produced his only lead of the match.

Gary Wigington hits from a tough spot on No. 11 Thursday. Wigington hit the green from there to set up a birdie that produced his only lead of the match.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The match had been over for a while, but the enormity of what Andrew Brooks had just orchestrated still hadn’t sunk in. It may take a while.

Brooks made a four-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole Thursday – after not seeing where his second shot had landed – to beat top-seeded Gary Wigington 1 up and win the fifth Calhoun County Match Play Championship at Cane Creek Golf Course.

“That’s a dream,” Brooks said of eagling to win. “That’s the way you see it happen on TV.”

Brooks, the No. 10 seed, came to 18 all square after making a clutch 20-footer for par on 17 when it looked like his opponent was going to win the hole to take a 1-up lead with one to play.

He hit his second shot on the par-5 with a 5-iron from 230 yards out to guard against hitting it through the green and stay in position to make birdie. The ball started out low, hit short of the green (where he lost sight of it) and rolled up past the bunker toward the pin. Wigington, meanwhile, had hit his drive off to the right and had nothing but trees between him and the green.

The three-time County Player of the Year hoisted his 7-iron from 200 yards over the trees and the ball landed just short of the putting surface. It was such a good-looking shot in flight, Brooks thought that was the ball close to the hole when the players approached in their carts.

“I guess it made it better that I didn’t know where my ball was after I hit it,” Brooks said. “We just assumed that was Twig’s ball up there. Not seeing mine run up on the green I went out there with my wedge thinking I’m going to have to chip one in just to send it to extra holes.

“I didn’t have time to really gather my thoughts to know I had four feet to win the County Match Play. It really hadn’t sunk in now, I guess.”

As a testament to the ability of the players and the competitiveness of the match, only two of the first 13 holes were halved and five total. The players combined for 10 birdies and an eagle. At one point, Wigington birdied five holes in a seven-hole stretch to go from 2-down to his only lead — 1-up through 11 holes.

Brooks won the first two holes to take the early lead and was 2 up through four. Over the 18 holes, Brooks shot 3-under-par, Wigington 1-under.

Brooks missed making the Match Play in 2012 by 7.5 points and played a limited County Tour schedule last year, but safely in this year, he won four tight matches for his first victory on the Calhoun County Golf Tour.

“After the second or third match there was something in the write-up about playing like a man with something to prove,” he said. “Probably not my thought process, but it probably comes across that way. Missing out (in 2012) by a couple points … for it to end the way it did on the last hole — and an eagle of all things — that’s unbelievable.”

For Wigington, the drive on 18 was typical of his trouble off the tee most of the round. Although he made six birdies, he carded five bogeys.

Equally painful was the short birdie putt he pushed on 14 that gave Brooks a halve to maintain a 1-up lead. It came on the heels of Brooks making birdie on 13 with an approach off a bare lie to inside two feet.

“You just can’t have five bogeys and plan on beating anybody, really,” Wigington said. “If I had one or two, it would have been a different story, but I had five bogeys; that’s just five holes that you lose.

“Andrew played solid. He didn’t make the mistakes I made. He had it today and I didn’t.”

SCORECARD
Player 443 453 454 36 443 453 445 36 72

Wigington 453 543 363 36 334 454 345 35 71
Brooks 344 353 454 35 353 354 443 34 69

STATISTICS
Wigington – 6 fairways, 10 greens, 28 putts, 3-8 scrambling.
Brooks – 11 fairways, 8 greens, 24 putts, 5-10 scrambling.

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
Brooks def. Wigington, 1 up



You must be logged in to post a comment Login