E.A. Sports Today

McKinney rallies on back

Comes from 3 down at turn to defeat defending champion in County Match Play

By East Alabama Sports Today

Caleb McKinney was three holes down to the defending champion going to the most demanding part of the golf course, but he didn’t panic.

The fifth-seeded Gadsden State student rallied from his deficit to defeat Andrew Brooks 2 up in County Match Play Thursday at Cane Creek.

“It’s always good to know you can come back, especially against a player as good as Andrew is,” McKinney said. “I played really good on the back side.”

Brooks, who won last year’s Match Play with an eagle on the final hole of the championship, was 2 up early in the match and 3 up at the turn after birdies on 8 and 9.

McKinney drew even coming out of the Hollow and “from there it was a new ballgame.”

Both birdied 14 and bogeyed 15. McKinney hit it to six feet on 16 and missed the putt, but took his first lead of the match when Brooks made bogey.

They both bogeyed 17 and McKinney birdied 18 to clinch it.

“Andrew didn’t play as well as he normally does on the back and I just played steady and ended up making three huge birdies on the back to shoot 35,” McKinney said. “The main thing was that I kept the ball in play all day and hit a bunch of good tee shots. Even though I was 3 down on the front I was still confident because I was hitting the ball solid.”

Brooks was 2-under on the front, but 4-over on the back.

“It was a tale of two nines,” Brooks said. “I hit it about as good as I could hit it on the front and it just wasn’t the same on the back. I lost my tempo a little on the back nine and hit a few squirrelly shots …. and he played solid all day.”

McKinney plays No. 4 Dalton Chandler next. It’ll be a battle of the two youngest players in the field. McKinney is 19, Chandler 20.

Buddy Moore Bracket
Ty Cole (1) def. Daniel Black (16), walkover
Billy Thompson (8) vs. Ott Chandler (9)
Caleb McKinney (5) def. Andrew Brooks (12), 2 up
Dalton Chandler (4) def. Lance Evans (13), 4&2
Chris Banister Bracket
Jeremy McGatha (3) def. Jake Goggans (14), 21 holes
Kevin Daugherty (6) vs. Matt Rogers (11)
Clay Calkins (7) vs. Adrian Geeting (10)
Gary Wigington (2) def. Dan Griffin (15), 6&4

First-round pairings

at Cider Ridge GC
Lance Evans def. Jake Goggans, 2 up
Jerry Kemp def. Tony Hicks, 4&3
Landon Winfrey def. Ryan Huff, 2&1
Austin Minter def. Jason Johnson, 4&2
Rob Davie def. Chandler Wilborn, 2&1
Benji Turley vs. Billy Thompson
Timmy Woodard def. Daniel Black, 4&2 (ret.)
Eric Cannington vs. Nick Pollard

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