E.A. Sports Today

Edwards commits to Cider Ridge

[corner-ad id=1]Tour winner brings Oxford field to 11; EA Sports Today Challenge Cup teams taking shape; Cider Ridge senior scramble winners

David Martin follows a putt into the hole during the Cider Ridge Senior Scramble Tuesday. Martin and partner Norris Ray won the tournament. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

David Martin follows a putt into the hole during the Cider Ridge Senior Scramble Tuesday. Martin and partner Norris Ray won the tournament. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Don Barnes had a nice surprise as he got off the plane coming back from a meeting in Niagara Falls on Tuesday.

Waiting on the Sunbelt Senior Tour commissioner’s phone was a text message from Danny Edwards telling him that the five-time PGA Tour winner had committed to playing in the Oxford Senior Open at Cider Ridge Golf Club.

During his PGA Tour career, Edwards won the Greater Greensboro Open twice (1977 and 1982), the Walt Disney World Team Championship with younger brother David (1980), Quad Cities (1983) and Pensacola (1985).

His commitment brings to 11 the number of pros in the field for the June 8-11 event. Barnes said he has lines on several other players across the South he hoped to land. The draw was being impacted by a major non-Champions Tour senior event in Colorado and U.S. Senior Open sectional qualifying.

Barnes said drawing players of Edwards’ stature “gives our tour credibility.” Former Tour winners who have played in their events have included Blaine McCallister and Marco Dawson.

The other players so far committing to playing are Gibby Gilbert III of Ooltewah, Tenn., the son of the former PGA and Champions Tour winner; two-time Nike Tour winner Tim Conley of Braselton, Ga.; Mike Beaver, Newberry, Fla.; Danny Gonzales, Round Rock, Texas; Randy Kennedy, Buford, Ga.; Roger Rowland of Ocala, Fla., the Tour’s 2014 leading money winner; John Whitty, Longs, S.C.; Cullman’s Bo Blackwell and ironman Bob Kurtz; and Birmingham’s Jim White.

Whitty will put on a trick shot exhibition in conjunction with the event’s pro-am June 8. Entry fee for the pro-am is $40 for Cider Ridge pass holders, $50 for the public.

“People who don’t know our tour don’t know this is our 20th year,” Barnes said. “There are a lot of (tours) that have come and gone during the years. People ask me how long does the average tour last — less than a year.

“My job is to find the players who want to have a career and it helps to get the guys who have played; they want to keep playing. Danny Edwards certainly doesn’t need any money. Any of the guys who have won that many times on Tour don’t need the money. Even a guy like Marco Dawson, he won 950 (thousand) last year (on the Champions Tour), but he came back because he knows he has to stay competitive.”

Edwards’ commitment was exciting news to Doug Wert. The Cider Ridge director of golf got to know Edwards while working as an instructor at one of his corporate golf schools at The Broadmoor when he lived in Colorado Springs.

CUP TEAMS TAKING SHAPE: Two of the teams playing each other in this weekend’s Calhoun County Challenge Cup matches presented by East Alabama Sports Today have finalized their lineups.

Cider Ridge has qualified Nate Pearce, Frank Toland, John Gasser, Landon Winfrey, Jake Goggans, B.J. Franklin and Ted Martin. Pearce shot 74 to lead all Cider Ridge qualifiers and will play with director of golf Doug Wert.

Silver Lakes has lined up Ethyn Roberts (a former Cider Ridge assistant), Bobby Luttrell, Tyler Davis, Dillon Davis, Alan Darnall, Ted Klimasewski and Tim MacTaggart. It is uncertain whether director of golf Jason Callan or assistant Jordan Evans will play with Roberts.

Cane Creek and Anniston Country Club are expected to finalize their rosters later this week.

The matches, the first of four in the series, are Saturday at Anniston Country Club.

SENIOR MOMENT: David Martin and Norris Ray, who both made the cut last week in their division of the State Senior Championship, shot 9-under 63 Tuesday to win Cider Ridge’s first monthly Senior Scramble of the season. They won by three shots over Charley Winfrey-Jimmy Fables and Tim Stewart-Ralph Carter. Ron Borchelt and Bill Loftin won the second flight with a 71.

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