E.A. Sports Today

A dream no longer

Pine Hill’s Etter headed West to play in tournament at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill

Pine Hill pro Cory Etter will check off another item on his bucket list as he heads west to play Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. (Photos courtesy Cory Etter).

Pine Hill pro Cory Etter will check off another item on his bucket list as he heads west to play Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill. (Photos courtesy Cory Etter).

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Like most avid golfers, Cory Etter watches the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am every year it comes on television. And every year, like most golfers, he allows himself to think what it would be like to play there.

He won’t have to dream about it anymore.

The Pine Hill pro leaves for the Monterey Peninsula Sunday to scratch off one of items on his golf bucket list. He’ll be playing in the inaugural Cleveland/Srixon “Journey To Better” tournament on two of the most iconic courses in the country — Pebble Beach and Spyglass Hill.

It’s an event where the companies bring in 100 of their competition-qualified top accounts for two days of multiple tournament formats played under PGA Tour conditions.

“I’ve been looking forward to this ever since I qualified back in May,” Etter said. “I’ve wanted to play Pebble since I started playing golf. To play two of the top 15 golf courses in the country and play for a check … it’s going to be pretty special.

“I’ve played a lot of courses that a lot of the guys on Tour have played and it’s pretty special to walk the same footsteps as Clint Eastwood and any of the celebrities have. A lot of good special pictures are going to be taken.”

Speaking as one who has been there, no doubt there will be a shot from the No. 7 tee and the re-creation of Jack Nicklaus’ contemplative pose on the railing at the 18th tee.

The advice I always impart on players going there is if you don’t worry about what it costs to play there, don’t get caught up in the scenery and concentrate on what you’re there to do, Pebble is a pretty comfortable round of golf.

A strong enough finish will get him exempt into next year’s event, but he has a bigger goal than just qualifying for a return trip.

”I really feel I can play as good as anybody else out there,” he said. “I’ve been playing pretty good lately; I plan to play good and win. I’ve got the mindset I’m going to make a lot of birdies.

“I want to birdie the first hole and birdie 18. You can’t say it gets any better than to birdie to start and get one to finish.”

If their timing is right, his members might be able to actually catch a glimpse of Etter in action at Pebble. The resort has live webcam feeds on the first tee and the ninth, 17th and 18th greens (www.pebblebeach.com).

TITLE DEFENSE: Etter isn’t the only local pro heading to a prime venue for a tournament this week.

Cane Creek director of golf Kenny Szuch and his traditional team of Gary Wigington, Jeremy McGatha and Matt Rogers are heading over to TPC Sugarloaf outside Atlanta Monday to play in the Oakley AMG National Classic.

They’ve won the event each of the last two years after finishing second in their first appearance.

“We have played decent in previous years but not what we are capable of,” Szuch said. “If we all play well, we will be tough to beat.”

COUNTY SENIOR: It may have slipped your mind, but the Calhoun County Senior Championship is set for Friday and Saturday at Pine Hill Country Club. The tournament was originally scheduled for September, but moved to avoid scheduling conflicts.

Entries are still being accepted. Entry fee is $60 per player.

Pine Hill also is starting to accept entries for its Fall Classic Nov. 14-15. Entry fee for the two-man best-ball event is $75 per player.

Call the golf course (237-2633) for details on either event.

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