E.A. Sports Today

Fite T-2 at State Mid-Am

[corner-ad id=1]Anniston attorney feels buzz of contention on Championship Sunday again, gets within a shot late, finishes three back

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

MONTGOMERY — Freeman Fite couldn’t quite remember the last time he was in contention on a Sunday in a major event, but when he got back in it he sure remembered the feeling.

Fite was within one shot of the lead with five holes to go in the final round of the 27th State Mid-Amateur Championship. He wound up tied for second, three shots behind wire-to-wire winner Jeff Taylor of Montgomery.

The 35-year-old Anniston attorney shot a final-round 71 at Wynlakes Golf & Country Club and finished at 2-under-par 214 for the championship. He was tied with Shaw Pritchett of Montgomery.

“It was fun; I wish I would’ve done a little better,” he said. “It’s totally different, that’s for sure. Everything gets a little faster and that was really the difference today, especially when I was within one.”

Fite started the day five off the lead, and was one back through 13. But he dropped a shot with a “bad bogey” on 15 and Taylor made birdie on 16 to produce the final margin.

The tingle that comes with being a contender on Championship Sunday amplifies late in the round. He missed a three-foot birdie putt on 16 and a similar-length putt on 17 that produced a three-putt bogey. He did bounce back to close with a birdie on 18.

“It feels great (to be contention again), but it didn’t feel quite as good over those little putts on 16 and 17,” he said. “Being in contention in something like this is not like just playing golf or, as some people say, it’s like riding a bike and it comes back to you; I don’t think that’s the case. You kind of get back into the swing of things to be comfortable again.”

Taylor, meanwhile, was so focused on what was going on within his own game, he was somewhat oblivious to the goings-on around him. He shot a final round 73.

“I know it sounds funny, but I was struggling with my swing so much (in the final round) that I was more focused on that (than the situation),” he said. “I didn’t know where I stood (in the championship), which is a good thing because I’m a naturally nervous and anxious individual. I said to myself if I could shoot level par (in the final round) I’d be happy with that and if somebody beat me, they beat me.”

Fite was playing the tournament with an eye towards making the state’s Southeastern Challenge Cup team and is hopeful he’s put himself in position to be a captain’s pick with his play. He last played in the event in 2010. This year’s event is at Willow Point.

On the cover: Freeman Fite (R) accepts the hardware from Anniston CC pro Jake Spott after winning the Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational in 2014.

Wynlakes G&CC, Montgomery

Top 20
Jeff Taylor, Montgomery 68-70-73—211
Shaw Pritchett, Montgomery 72-71-71—214
Freeman Fite, Anniston 70-73-71—214
Haymes Snedeker, Fairhope 74-72-71—217
Matt Johnson, Dothan 70-75-72—217
Lew Mitchell, Birmingham 72-72-74—218
Steve Hudson, Birmingham 74-72-72—218
Vic Kyatt III, Birmingham 69-74-75—218
Emile Vaughan, Pike Road 72-70-76—218
Ryan Campbell, Meridianville 72-72-74—218
Robert Nelson, Fairhope 74-73-72—219
Hunter Bronson, Montgomery 69-74-76—219
Andy McRae, Hoover 72-75-73—220
Clay Guerin, Birmingham 74-77-69—220
John Wright, Gulf Shores 76-72-72—220
Woodie Eubanks, Trussville 72-69-79—220
Walker Grant, Alexander City 74-76-71—221
Collin McCrary, Troy 73-73-75—221
Tobin Ayers, Auburn 74-74-74—222
Matthew Gourgeot, Decatur 74-74-74—222
Claud Cooper, Birmingham 70-77-75—222
Robbie Abt, Montgomery 71-75-76—222
Cypress Hathorn, Pell City 82-74-75—231

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