E.A. Sports Today

Etter, Bowen win County Two-Man

First-time Pine Hill partners hold off challengers on back nine to win Calhoun County Two-Man Championship

Eventual champions Caleb Bowen and Cory Etter get some help moving a loose impediment near the ninth green Sunday. On the cover, Bowen (R) and Etter point out their winning score.

Eventual champions Caleb Bowen and Cory Etter get some help moving a loose impediment near the ninth green Sunday. On the cover, Bowen (R) and Etter point out their winning score.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

SILVER LAKES — The old pros made a run at them but it was the new pro and his partner who held on in the end.

Pine Hill pro Cory Etter and amateur partner Caleb Bowen shot a final-round 65 on a windy Sunday to hold off the charges of Kevin Daugherty and Jeff Champion and the father-son team of Ott and Dalton Chandler for the Calhoun County Two-Man Championship at Silver Lakes.

The first-time partners shot 21-under 123 for the crown. Daugherty and Champion, a couple former club pros with 96 combined years of life experience, shot 63 and finished at 125. The Chandlers, the reigning Sunny King Charity Classic champs, shot the best round of the scamble format – 11-under 61 — and finished at 126.

“I think it had a lot to do with playing in a lot of golf tournaments and that under-pressure feeling really wasn’t there for me,” Etter said. “I didn’t feel like I was being pressured.

“Coming down the stretch you see the groups in front of you keep making putts continuously and you keep missing them, that puts a little pressure on you, but we had a good enough cushion lead – especially at the turn – that we didn’t really have to worry about it too much; we could kind of cruise.”

The winners entered the final round with a three-shot lead overall, a four-shot edge on the eventual runner-ups and seven over the Chandlers. Birdies at 7, 8 and 9 got them to 5-under for the day at the turn, 19 for the tournament and a six-shot lead and Bowen admitted their game was in “protect mode” from there.

That was the opening the chasers needed. The Chandlers and Daugherty-Champion waged war on the back nine to get back in contention. They were a combined 13-under on the inward Heartbreaker 9.

The lead shrank to two after Champion birdied his team’s 14th hole before Bowen, the long hitter of the winners, made a series of clutch putts on holes 5 through 8 on Heartbreaker.

Bowen birdied the par-3 fifth to get the lead back to three, made a tense three-footer for par on 6, sank a six-foot birdie putt on 7 with Etter awaiting a tap-in birdie, and made a sweeping par putt on 8 after leaving his birdie attempt from the other side of the green 12 feet short when both chasers birdied in front of him.

“We weren’t rolling the ball near as well as we did yesterday … but we made some big putts when we needed to make them, and that was the key factor,” Bowen said. “(Etter) was accurate, I would have liked to have been a little more accurate, but I putted well when it counted.”

When Dalton Chandler delivered the shot of the day — holing out from the right greenside bunker on Heartbreaker 8 for birdie — Daugherty thought it might have closed out his team’s chances. But he answered with a 20-foot birdie to stay even with his playing partners and made another birdie at the last to push his team to second place.

“I really just wanted to redeem myself because the putt I had on 18 I had about the same putt on 15 and 16 — same line, same break — and missed both of them,” Daugherty said. “It makes me happier to beat Ott and Dalton than it does to win the golf tournament.”

The runner-ups figured they missed their chance at the win when they bogeyed 6, parred the par-5 ninth — with an eight-foot putt — and didn’t convert on the par-4 15th.

“We had a run at them; we just came up a little short,” Champion said.

The Chandlers got back in it by playing the middle seven holes in the round in 7-under, highlighted by Dalton’s eagle on 10. They also birdied 15, 16 and 17 to play the back nine in 7-under.

“We let it slip away (Saturday) when we shot seven in the two-man scramble,” Ott Chandler said.

After the prizes were awarded, Etter addressed the elephant in the room – the fact a county club pro played (and won) in an event traditionally reserved for amateurs. Some players in the field didn’t have an issue with it, but others — including some of the county pros – took exception.

Earlier this week Etter finished second in a PGA Dixie Section team event at Willow Point; he has two section events on his schedule this week.

Etter often has lobbied for the county club and mini-tour pros to be allowed to play in some events on the Calhoun County golf schedule; they do play in the Sunny King Charity Classic without a second thought.

“Whether I play in them or not, I’m very vocal about pros should be able to play in local tournaments,” Etter said. “I understand certain clubs have invitationals with prestige and history – I don’t want to take away from that – but if you’re trying to find your best player I think it should be open.

“To me, these are fun tournaments; these are not high-pressure tournaments like they would be to a lot of people. I make my money playing our section PGA events, but it’s stuff like this, the King of the Hill, a lot of the tournaments like that, I should be allowed to play I feel or any pro should be allowed to play.”

He said their presence enhances the strength and size of the field. There are several players in Calhoun County, a place he called “one of the top golfing counties in the state,” who play as well as he does. And if he plays an event, “a lot” of his club’s members will as well.

Champion and Daugherty are both former club pros, but Champion got his amateur status back several years ago and Daugherty was restored just last October. Another player in the field here, fourth-place finisher Chad Calvert, is “pro”/general manager/superintendent at Boaz Country Club, but he has no PGA status.

“I feel like pros should always be allowed to play in pretty much everything unless there’s a history there or it’s a sanctioned invitational,” Etter said. “Win or lose, I like to play; I don’t get to play a lot. As long as the events are open I’ll play in anything, especially if it supports the cause.”

The teams of Ott and Dalton Chandler (left side) and Kevin Daugherty (putting) and Jeff Champion were chasing the leaders and battling for second the entire back nine Sunday. They were a combined 13-under-par on the back.

The teams of Ott and Dalton Chandler (left side) and Kevin Daugherty (putting) and Jeff Champion were chasing the leaders and battling for second the entire back nine Sunday. They were a combined 13-under-par on the back.

At Silver Lakes


Championship Flight
Cory Etter-Caleb Bowen 58-65—123
Kevin Daugherty-Jeff Champion 62-63—125
Ott Chandler-Dalton Chandler 65-61—126
Chad Calvert-Daily Thomas 64-67—131
Gary Wigington-Ty Cole 65-67—132
Jake Goggans-Rob Davie 61-73—134
Lance Evans-David Sanders 65-71—136

First Flight
Benji Turley-Marcus Harrell 67-66—133
Andrew Brooks-Billy Thompson 66-67—133
Jeremy McGatha-Matt Rogers 68-66—134
Michael Watson-Wes Coleman 66-68—134
Steve Bailey-Paul McGee 66-69—135
Clay Calkins- Chris Hubbard 67-68—135
Timmy Woodard-Ryan Huff 66-70—136
Erick Eavi- Eric Messer 67-69—136
Adrian Geeting-Austin Minter 66-72—138
Daniel Black-Tim Steward 67-71—138
Jacob Sittere-Steven Crane 68-71—139
Justin Graveman-Patrick Crane 68-72—140
Shane Chappell-Will Brown 67-74—141
David Martin-Caleb McKinney 68-75—143
Dennis Austin-Jimbo Phillips 68-75—143
Chase Thomas-Ryan Abernathy 68-76—144

Second Flight
Kevin Carr-John Blakeney 69-68—137
Chase Hollingsworth-Cain Hollingsworth 69-68—137
Lee Waldron-Randy Lipscomb 69-68—137
Chad Reavis-Gabe Fullinvider 70-69—139
Mike Granato-Gary Hopper 70-71—141
Blake Abercrombie-Alex Jessen 70-73—143
Dan Griffin-Kenny Wright 70-73—143
Brian Stewart-Ted Heim 69-78—147

Third Flight
Kyle Daugherty-Chance Harris 72-69—141
Brandon Roberts-Shane Lilly 75-73—148
Nick Pollard-Mike Patey 73-77—150
Richard Hughes-Brad Hardin 73-77—150
Michael Ray-Terry Cobb 72-81—153
Jennifer Jetton-David Jetton 75-79—154
Trey Vice-Jim Stovall 83-75—158
Jackson Johnson-Randy Carroll 78-92—170

Players 434 434 545 36 544 434 534 36 – 72

Etter 424 334 434 31 544 424 434 34 – 65
Daugherty 334 425 445 33 433 424 523 30 – 63
Chandler 433 433 444 32 333 433 424 29 – 61

You must be logged in to post a comment Login