E.A. Sports Today

Golf notes

[corner-ad id=2]Sharps Match Play lineup, Veterans Golf in Alabama, news on County Senior

By East Alabama Sports Today

Defending champion Landon Winfrey and his title match opponent Lance Evans are on the same side of the bracket and would meet in the semifinals of this year’s Sharps Match Play Championship at Cider Ridge Golf Club.

The pairings for the second-annual event were done by random draw Wednesday night.

“It makes it a little more fun,” tournament director Benji Turley said. “There’s no big mismatch; everybody is so close. It ought to be close.”

Winfrey plays Ryan Huff in his first match, while Evans plays Jake Goggans. Reigning Cider Ridge club champion Jason Johnson also is on their side of the draw.

“I really enjoyed the way we did that last year; it just makes it a little more exciting,” Winfrey said. “There are some new faces this year, but a lot of the same ones from last year. I’m just ready to get started playing. It is going to be a really good event.”

One match already is in the books. Evans won three of the last four holes to beat Noggins 2 up. The rest of the first-round matches are expected to be completed by Labor Day. A champion is expected to be crowned by mid-November.

First-round pairings

Lance Evans def. Jake Goggans, 2 up
Jerry Kemp def. Tony Hicks, 4&3
Landon Winfrey vs. Ryan Huff
Austin Minter vs. Jason Johnson
Rob Davie vs. Chandler Wilborn
Benji Turley vs. Billy Thompson
Timmy Woodard def. Daniel Black, 4&2 (ret.)
Eric Cannington vs. Nick Pollard

GOING TO CAROLINA: Two players with local ties are headed to Pinehurst in November after qualifying for the Veteran Golfers Association national championship earlier this month.

Ashland’s Brian Stewart shot 81 and finished second in the Wounded Veterans Division of the Championship Flight in the VGA qualifier at Sarasota, Fla. Doug Praytor of Springville, better known as “Pork Chop” and an organizer of the annual Slaughterhouse Two-Man at Pell City CC, shot 84 to win the C Flight of the Veterans Division.

The VGA is a national organization open to all veterans and their families. Its largest tournaments take place on some of the best golf courses in the country.

Stewart is working to establish chapters in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, Mobile and Anniston, as well as Georgia. His plan is to stage a tournament series similar to the Calhoun County Golf Tour through each venue and a state tournament to produce qualifiers in 10 divisions to next year’s VGA regional.

From the national championship, the overall winner receives a package to attend The Masters and a clothing package, and the flight winners will receive entry to the Champions Tour Pro-Am at Fallen Oak.

“I’m very excited about Pinehurst,” said Praytor, a former dental hygienist in the Air Force. “Just to have a chance to play that course is something pretty special to me.

“To get to do it from a veteran’s aspect … I didn’t really understand how big this Veteran Golf Association is going to be until I made this trip and got to meet the guy who founded it. His excitement just sits home with you after you listen to him talk about it.

“I just think the thing is going to be a big success and I feel lucky to be able to get into (the finals) this first year. As it gets larger, it’s going to be more difficult.”

SENIOR COUNTY: Plans are being finalized for a Calhoun County Senior Championship. Organizers are looking at Sept. 24-25 at Pine Hill CC.

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