E.A. Sports Today

Rowland wins in Cullman, headed to Oxford

Florida pro finishes the tournament with a flair — making eagle on 18 for a closing 64

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

There’s something to be said for taking a little bit of confidence to a golf course you’ve only ever seen in pictures.

The Sunbelt Senior Tour moves to Cider Ridge Golf Club next week and Roger Rowland will be the most confident player on the property after winning the eighth annual Yellowhammer Open at Chesley Oaks in a runaway.

Rowland eagled the 18th hole Friday to put the wraps on a 7-under-par 64 that gave him a three-day total 17-under 196 and an eight-shot win over Gibby Gilbert III. Counting his pro-am round, the 48-year-old Florida pro played the course in 25-under for the week.

He played the back nine in 13-under for the week; the only holes he didn’t birdie on the side were 12 and 17.

“The experience of being here really paid off this week,” said Rowland, whose runner-up finish last year was his best in three previous Yellowhammers. “I’ve finally learned to read the greens.”

Five-time PGA Tour winner Danny Edwards won the Super Seniors Division at 9-under 204. He shot 68 Friday and won by three.

All three players are in the field for the Oxford Senior Open that starts Tuesday at Cider Ridge GC.

The win gives Rowland extra confidence coming to a course he has never seen before.

“It frees you up,” he said. “When you know what works or has worked, you’re able to just swing with rhythm. When you see good results and get a win, it frees you up.”

The bogey-free 64 was his best round in four years on the Sunbelt Senior Tour. The win was the second in his last four Sunbelt Senior starts and 12th since joining the tour. He won the River Bend Senior Open in Ormond Beach, Fla., in mid-April.

Cider Ridge officials have said spectator carts will be available for the Oxford Senior Open next week for $25.

Yellowhammer Open
At Chesley Oaks GC

Seniors Division
Roger Rowland 66-66-64—196
Gibby Gilbert III 70-69-65—204
Danny Gonzales 69-69-67—205
Dave Pickett 77-74-72—223

Super Seniors Division
Danny Edwards 68-68-68—204
Bob Flanagan 69-67-71—207
Mike Beaver 68-69-70—207
John Whitty 73-72-71—216
Sid Corliss 73-72-78—223
Bob Kurtz 75-75-74—224
Jim White 78-73-74—225
Randy Kennedy 76-77-76—229
Chris Borders 78-77-77—232
Bo Blackwell 84-75-75—234
Tom Forkum 76-76-WD

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