E.A. Sports Today

Not a bad first time

Calvert shoots 2-under 70 the first time he plays Indian Oaks, leads championship by 1

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Chad Calvert had not seen the golf course at Indian Oaks before Saturday’s round, but he didn’t play it like a novice.

All his experience has taught him to play it smart in unfamiliar surroundings and using that approach shot 2-under-par 70 for the opening-round lead in the first Calhoun County Golf Tour points tournament of the season.

While some players might be tempted to take driver out everywhere and just power through any unknown trouble, Calvert methodically worked his way around the course. He hit 13 fairways and 16 greens.

He played the front in 37, and came home in 33, making three birdies in his first four holes on the back. He leads Gary Wigington by one and County Match Play champion Caleb McKinney by two going into Sunday’s 1 p.m. shotgun start. Everyone else in the 40-man field was over par on the windy day.

“I play smarter (on new courses),” Calvert said and cited his play of 4-iron on No. 4 when everyone else in his group chose driver. “The first time I play it safe just for the simple fact of not knowing it. The next day it’s a little different.

“The wind was tough today; you didn’t know how to judge it. I didn’t know what to judge because I’d never played here, so it was a little harder to judge what to hit.”

The Boaz Golf Club superintendent may have been uncertain about playing the ball in the air, he was sharp when it was on the ground. He made a 30-footer on 10, a 10-footer on 12 and had a 10-foot eagle putt stop just short on 11.

“He made his way around the course very well,” playing partner Daily Thomas said.

“I never got in any trouble,” Calvert said. “It was just steady — boring golf.”

Calvert’s closest challenger is very familiar with Indian Oaks. Wigington grew up just off No. 5 and developed his game on a layout known as a second-shot golf course.

He got a bad break on a chip at 6 that led to a bogey and three-putted 8. He played the back nine in 34.

“It’s a little more player friendly now than what it used to be,” Wigington said of the course. “They cut out a lot of trees and made it a little more open … so it’s not quite as tricky as it used to be.

“It’s not too terribly hard to go out and play it your first time now as opposed to 10, 15 years ago when it was a little more tight.”

Indian Oaks was making its first appearance on the Calhoun County Tour schedule in five years. Course officials were eager to rejoin the rotation after taking over the facility and wanted to put its best foot forward for the county’s best players.

“It makes me feel good to know they thought enough of us to get us back into the rotation,” director of golf Ron McClellan said. “At one time this was the course. There was no Silver Lakes, no Cider Ridge; this was it. If you don’t keep it in the fairway, this golf course will eat your lunch. This golf course is not for the weak of heart.”

McKinney will be looking to stand up to it during Sunday’s final round. He was 2-under through 14 holes Saturday, but when he came across the street he bogeyed two of the final four holes where the wind played the most havoc.

The field collectively played the last four holes in more than 100-over-par.

“I’m still confident because of the way I hit the ball today,” McKinney said. “I had my chances, but I didn’t do what I needed to do. If I can put it together down the stretch I’ll be fine.”

Indian Oaks Championship
First-round scores

Championship flight
Chad Calvert 37-33—70
Gary Wigington 37-34—71
Caleb McKinney 35-37—72
Lance Evans 36-38—74
Tim Turner 41-33—74
Jonathan Pate 37-37—74
Adrian Geeting 39-37—76
Chandler Wilborn 35-41—76
Jeff Borrelli 38-38—76
Ty Cole 38-39—77
Clay Calkins 39-38—77

First flight
Matt Rogers 38-40—78
Jeremy McGatha 40-38-78
Dan Griffin 38-40—78
John Tucker 36-42—78
Ott Chandler 35-43—78
Andrew Brooks 40-39—79
Billy Thompson 40-40—80
Caleb Bowen 37-43—80
Dalton Chandler 39-41—80
Lewis Lecroy 39-41—80
Kyle Daugherty 43-37—80
Kenny Wright 40-40—80

Second flight
Scott Martin 42-39—81
Allen Mangham 40-41—81
Scott Eaton 39-42—81
Brandon Roberts 41-41—82
Janson Wilborn 43-39—82
Jake Goggans 40-42—82
Jimbo Phillips 39-43—82
David Lawrence 44-40—84
Nick Pollard 41-44—85
Jacob Lecroy 37-48—85

Third flight
Chad Reavis 44-43–87
Brad Hardin 46-42—88
Daily Thomas 47-42—89
Austin Minter 46-45—91
Casey Harmon 43-51–94
Kelly Rogers 48-50—98
Dan McClellan WD

Players 453 443 544 36 344 544 435 36 – 72

C. Calvert 443 543 554 37 243 344 435 33 – 70
G. Wigington 443 444 554 37 344 444 434 34 – 71
C. McKinney 443 442 554 35 254 445 445 37 – 72

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