E.A. Sports Today

Calkins wins opener

[corner-ad id=2]Wins first three holes, then sets it on cruise control; Ellison embarking on Q-school run

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Clay Calkins won the first three holes and cruised to a 5&3 victory over Adrian Geeting in the first round of the Calhoun County Match Play Championship.

Calkins, a Match Play participant every year who has never lost a first-round match, now plays No. 2 seed Gary Wigington. He has never gotten past the second round.

“I’m going to have to play a lot better than I did today,” Calkins said.

Still, he played steady enough to win the first three holes with pars and then won No. 8 to take a 4-up lead into the back nine. He was 5-up coming back across the street from The Hollow.

“Being 3-up early like that, it was easy for me to change my strategy a little bit and play conservatively,” Calkins said. “After that I was just trying to keep it in play, hit the green and two-putt and let him try to come back.”

Calkins is one of the few players on the Calhoun County Golf Tour who uses the long, anchored putter, but with the rule change banning the anchored stroke coming in 2016 that is soon to change. Still, he’ll stay with as long as allowable.

“I’m planning to unanchor it when the rules changes and work on it this winter,” he said. “I’m going to cut the putter down two inches to get more on top of it, but use the same style of putting.”

TAKING HIS SHOT: Former Anniston resident Jaylon Ellison is in California this week embarking on the road to the PGA Tour.

He is playing in the prequalifying tournament for Q-School at Yolo Fliers Club in Woodland, Cal.

For the last two years he’s been testing the pro scene on mini-tours and Monday qualifiers, but there’s just something that changes the status when the Q-school is involved.

“It does feel a little different,” Ellison said from his hotel Monday. “I have a great (mainstream) career and love what I do, but being healthy and in my mid-30s I wanted to give this a small shot and see what happens.

“I’ve chased a few Mondays this year and played for a few checks – and made some – but this is a little different. This quest for the card is everybody’s dream.”

The 37-year-old former Calhoun County amateur champion is one of about a dozen players from east of the Mississippi here. If he gets through this week, he hopes to play in First Stage qualifying a lot closer to home — either Callaway Gardens’ Mountain View course or Highland Oaks in Dothan.

The tournament starts Wednesday. Ellison compared the front nine of the course he’s playing as tight as the first two holes at Anniston Country Club only longer.

Everybody who makes the Final Stage gets conditional status on the web.com Tour. The top 25 get full status.

“It’s going to be a grind, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity,” Ellison said. “Hopefully I can make Calhoun County proud.”

It’s not cheap, either. Pre-Qualifying entry fee is up to $3,500, with an additional $2,500 due from those advancing.

GOAL PASSED: Officials for the Buddy Moore Charity Classic reported they raised $12,025 for their charities.

Buddy Moore Bracket
Ty Cole (1) def. Daniel Black (16), walkover
Billy Thompson (8) def. Ott Chandler (9), 3&2
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) def. Adrian Geeting (10), 5&3
Gary Wigington (2) def. Dan Griffin (15), 6&4

Second round matches
Cole vs. Thompson
McKinney vs. D. Chandler
McGatha vs. Daugherty-Rogers winner
Calkins vs. Wigington

at Cider Ridge GC

First-round matches
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 def. Billy Thompson, 19 holes
Timmy Woodard def. Daniel Black, 4&2 (ret.)
Eric Cannington def. Nick Pollard, 5&4

Second-round matches
Evans vs. Kemp, 3&2
Winfrey vs. Minter
Davie vs. Turley
Woodard vs. Cannington

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