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[corner-ad id=2]McKinney’s ace lifts team to Highway 9 lead; Evans, Lindsey start slow out West; Fite in contention at State Mid-Am

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

CENTRE – Caleb McKinney scored his first hole-in-one and made another eagle four holes later and together they proved the difference as he and partner Josh Poole opened a two-shot lead after Saturday’s first round of the Highway 9 Challenge.

McKinney and Poole posted an 18-under-par 53 in the scramble format at Cherokee County Country Club. They lead by two over Pine Hill pro Cory Etter and Andrew Brooks. Bill Vaughn and Mike Hammonds are another two shots back.

“It was one of those round everything was going,” McKinney said. “If he didn’t do it I did or if I didn’t do it he did.”

He certainly did it on 12, holing an easy 6-iron from 175 yards. With the pin cut on the left side of the green, the shot landed in the fringe, took a few small hops and rolled into the cup like a putt.

Just like the one he rolled in on 16 for eagle.

“I got a new Odyssey putter the other day and I’m putting that thing really well,” McKinney said. “Left to right breakers I struggle with a lot, but I told Josh I felt really comfortable over this putt and I made it.”

Eagles were something Etter and Brooks just couldn’t land, although they putted for them seven times in the round from anywhere from 14 to 30 feet. As it was, they had 16 birdies and two pars. The only holes they didn’t birdied were 5 and 17.

The tournament wraps with a scamble format Sunday at Pine Hill CC. Etter and Trevor Lane set the tournament record last year at 31-under-par.

ROUGH START: Oxford golfers Lance Evans and John Lindsey both got off to rough starts Saturday in the Golf Channel Am Tour national championship at PGA West.

Evans shot 82 in the Championship Flight. He got off to a grand start on the Norman Course, making a three-foot birdie on his first hole, but then went quadruple bogey-double bogey on the next two and was 7-over after six holes.

Lindsey shot 97 in the Jones Flight on the same course. He had his toughest time on the par-5s, playing them in 15-over, which is the margin between him and the flight leader.

“I hit five bad shots all day and they were costly,” Evans said. “This is not a very forgiving course.

“When you shoot 82 the first day you don’t really have a prayer. I’ll go out and play for skins and not embarrass myself for three days.”

STATE MID-AM: Anniston’s Freeman Fite posted a 73 Saturday and stands tied for fourth, five shots off the lead, after two rounds of the 27th State Mid-Amateur Championship at Wynlakes Golf and Country Club.

Jeff Taylor of Montgomery, who plays out of the host club, leads by three shots after rounds of 68 and 70.

Fite turned in 2-under for the day, ran into a bit of trouble in the middle of his round and bounced back from back-to-back double bogeys to close the round birdie-bogey-eagle.

Anniston Country Club’s Cypress Hathorn bounced back from a tough opening round with a 74 and is at 156 for the championship.

Cherokee County CC

(Scramble format, Par 71)

Championship flight
Josh Poole-Caleb McKinney 53
Cory Etter-Andrew Brooks 55
Bill Vaughn-Mike Hammonds 57
Ott Chandler-Dalton Chandler 58
Jeremy McGatha-Matt Rogers 58
Randall Doss-Robbie Robertson 60
Phillip Hicks-Steve Baker 60
Chuck Harmon-Tim Harmon 60
Jerry Irwin-Steve Minton 60
Rick Taylor-Doug Sears 60

First flight
Heath Waldrop-Dennis Austin 61
Adam Lawrence-Jon Bailey 62
Johnny Bentley-Eddie Robertson 62
Mike Patey-Rick Okins 62
Robbie Hurst-Jake Goggans 63
Nick Pollard-Derrick Stewart 64
Brad Hardin-Tim Turner 64

Second flight
TJ McGatha-Scotty Grimes 66
Ricky Young-Stan McCarley 66
Jono Waugh-Chance Harris 67
Tony Hicks-Lynn Coffey 68
Josh Reynolds-Bart Smith 68
Kevin Bedwell-Will Bedwell 68
Scotty McFry-Bryan Beal 71
Corey Trantham-Vic Cashen 71

Sunday’s pairings
(Scamble format, Pine Hill CC)

11:20 a.m. — Corey Trantham-Vic Cashen
11:30 — Kevin Bedwell-Will Bedwell, Scotty McFry-Bryan Beal
11:40 — Tony Hicks-Lynn Coffey, Josh Reynolds-Bart Smith
11:50 — Nick Pollard-Derrick Stewart, TJ McGatha-Scotty Grimes
Noon — Jono Waugh-Chance Harris, Ricky Young-Stan McCarley
12:20 p.m. — Johnny Bentley-Eddie Robertson, Mike Patey-Rick Okins
12:30 — Brad Hardin-Tim Turner, Robbie Hurst-Jake Goggans
12:40 — Heath Waldrop-Dennis Austin, Adam Lawrence-Jon Bailey
12:50 — Chuck Harmon-Tim Harmon, Rick Taylor-Doug Sears
1:00 — Jerry Irwin-Steve Minton, Phillip Hicks-Steve Baker
1:10 — Ott Chandler-Dalton Chandler, Randall Doss-Robbie Robertson
1:20 — Bill Vaughn-Mike Hammonds, Jeremy McGatha-Matt Rogers
1:30 — Josh Poole-Caleb McKinney, Cory Etter-Andrew Brooks

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