E.A. Sports Today

Partners, now rivals


Former Sunny King partners Wigington, Fite to battle it out for ACC Invitational crown Sunday

Freeman Fite (L) and Gary Wigington unwind at the end of their Cider Ridge round in last year's Sunny King Charity Classic. They were teammates then, opponents Sunday in the final round of the Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational.

Freeman Fite (L) and Gary Wigington unwind at the end of their Cider Ridge round in last year’s Sunny King Charity Classic. They were teammates then, opponents Sunday in the final round of the Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

For the past two years Gary Wigington and Freeman Fite have been partners on one of the dream teams in the Sunny King Charity Classic.

On Sunday any sense of past partnership – and it is past tense — will be reserved for the 19th Hole as they’ll be going head-to-head for the win in the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational at Anniston Country Club.

Wigington backed up his opening-round 65 with a “very non-eventful” even-par 70 Saturday to maintain his overnight lead after 36 holes at 5-under 135. He has never won the tournament — before or after it carried the Galbraith name — and can’t remember ever holding the lead after 36 holes, but he did finish second in 2012.

Fite, looking for his seventh Galbraith crown, shot a 2-under 68 and is his closest challenger, just two shots off the lead.

“He’s always there every single year,” Wigington said. “Starting the tournament he’s the one to beat — he’s finished first or second every year — you know that going in.

“I’m just glad to be in a position to have a shot at winning it for a change; usually, I’m five out or so. Just got to play good tomorrow. Keep hitting it like I’ve been hitting it and get some putts to fall and we’ll see what happens.”

It won’t be like they’re friendly rivals; they won’t be Sunny King partners this year. Fite has a commitment to play in the Iron Bowl Cup at Willow Point with all his best friends from college that weekend, so Wigington has secured the services of Ty Cole, forming a team of the last four Calhoun County Golf Tour Players of the Year.

“He’s a really good player and really nice guy and I enjoyed playing with him,” Fite said, “but I promised some of my very best friends I wouldn’t miss the IBC again.”

Wigington had the same kind of start Saturday as he had in the opening round. He had all pars on the front nine, but unlike Friday when he was 5-under on the back, on a day when others in the field scored multiple birdies, he had only one birdie (10) and one bogey (14) on the side Saturday.

“I missed a couple good opportunities I didn’t miss (Friday); to me, there’s not that many birdie opportunities out there,” Wigington said. “Jeremy (McGatha) has eight birdies and that, to me, is ungodly. One bogey in two days on this course is great for me. I had good birdie changes on 11 and 17 and just didn’t get it done. The holes that are easier out here I just didn’t get it done.”

With Wigington plodding through his round, defending champion McGatha’s hot putter gave him every opportunity to make a big move up the leaderboard. His eight birdies matches Chad Calvert’s second-round showing at Indian Oaks for most by a Calhoun County Tour player in a round this season, but along with the good came five bogeys and a double.

He birdied four of his first five holes and didn’t make his first par until 7 – and that was his only par in a 35 front nine. He wound up shooting 69 and picked up only one shot on the leader.

“To be honest, with Twig shooting 65 (Friday) what I knew I had to do I started out with a chance to do it, and I blew it,” McGatha said. “Chasing Twig is always tough, but to start out the way I was hitting the ball I had a chance to shoot my own 63-64-65 today and I turned it into a 69.”

Fite shot the best round of the day, a 2-under 68 that closed with birdies on 13, 15 and 17. He had five birdies in the round.


Championship A
Gary Wigington 65-70—135
Freeman Fite 69-68—137
Dalton Chandler 69-71—140
Chandler Wilborn 67-74—141
Kevin Daugherty 70-72—142
Ty Cole 72-71—143
Dustin Travis 68-75—143
Chad Calvert 71-73—144
Ott Chandler 73-73—146
Billy Thompson 70-80—150

Championship B
Jeremy McGatha 73-69—142
Lewis Lecroy 73-72—145
Jacob Lecroy 74-75—149
Scott Martin 74-75—149
Chad Reavis 75-74—149
Janson Wilborn 75-75—150
Jeremy Willis 73-78—151
Erich Egui 75-77—152
Victor Kyatt 73-79—152
David Lawrence 77-75—152
Caleb McKinney 74-79—153

Championship C
David Sanders 76-73—149
Jake Goggans 77-74—151
Cypress Hathorn 77-74—151
Ryan Huff 76-76—152
Dan McClellan 77-78—155
Dan Griffin 76-82—158
Matt Rogers 76-82—158
Hank Smith 77-85–162
Kyle Daugherty 76-91—167
Timmy Woodard 76-92—168

Players A
Kenny Wright 34-37–71
Kenneth Patterson 35-36–71
Casey Harmon 35-37–72
Chip Howell 38-34–72
Gary Wilborn 38-36–74
Landon Straub 37-38–75
Jack Svensen 41-34–75
Brian Woodfin 35-40–75
Hunter Brown 37-39–76
Adrian Geeting 36-40–76
Jonathan Pate 38-38–76
Jeff Borrelli 36-41–77
Chris Cox 38-39–77
Rob Svensen 38-39–77
Ross Svensen 39-38–77
Chase Thomas 38-39–77

Players B
Michael Downey 41-39–80
Richard Turner 41-39–80
David Coffey 39-42–81
Daily Thomas 40-41–81
Austin Minter 41-40–81
Jerry Kemp 37-45–82
Mike Little 41-41–82
Rick Taylor 41-41–82
Luke Armstrong 39-44–83
Allen Mangham 38-46–84
Trey Stone 43-41–84
Michael Travis 41-43–84

Players C
Dale Burgess 39-47–86
John Lindsey 46-40–86
Tom Roberts 39-47–86
Charlie Smith 38-48–86
Jono Waugh 40-46–86
Eric Stringer 40-47–87
Chance Harris 47-41–88
Don Whitlow 43-45–88
Greg Shultz 40-49–89
Heath Waldrop 43-46–89
Chris Weaver 40-50–90
Haden Downey 44-47–91
Jimmy Jackson 48-44–92
Jerry Boozer 45-52–97
Evan Jackson 54-55–109
Brandon Roberts S-WD
Eric Lett WD
Clay Calkins NS-WD

Player 444 334 444 34 453 444 354 36 70

Wigington 444 334 444 34 353 454 354 36 70
Fite 433 344 544 34 454 343 344 34 68
Chandler 453 234 344 32 474 354 354 39 71
Wilborn 443 335 444 34 553 454 455 40 74

Sunday tee times
8 a.m. – Evan Jackson, Jerry Boozer
8:12 – Jimmy Jackson, Haden Downey
8:24 – Chris Weaver, Greg Shultz, Heath Waldrop
8:36 – Don Whitlow, Chance Harris, Eric Stringer
8:48 – Dale Burgess, John Lindsey, Tom Roberts
9:00 – Charlie Smith, Jono Waugh, Allen Mangham, Trey Stone
9:24 – Michael Travis, Luke Armstrong, Jerry Kemp, Mike Little
9:36 – Rick Taylor, David Coffey, Daily Thomas, Austin Minter
9:48 – Michael Downey, Richard Turner, Jeff Borrelli, Chris Cox
10:00 – Rob Svensen, Ross Svensen, Chase Thomas, Hunter Brown
10:12 – Adrian Geeting, Landon Straub, Jack Svensen, Brian Woodfin
10:24 – Chase Harmon, Chip Howell, Kenneth Patterson, Kenny Wright
11:24 – Timmy Woodard, Kyle Daugherty, Hank Smith
11:36 – Dan Griffin, Matt Rogers, Dan McClellan
11:48 – Caleb McKinney, Erich Egui, Ryan Huff
Noon – Dr. Victor Kyatt, David Lawrence, Jake Goggans, Cypress Hathorn
12:12 p.m. – Jeremy Willis, Billy Thompson, Gary Wilborn, Janson Wilborn
12:24 – Jonathan Pate, Jacob Lecroy, Scott Matin, David Sanders
12:36 – Chad Reavis, Ott Chandler, Lewis Lecroy, Chad Calvert
12:48 – Ty Cole, Dustin Travis, Kevin Daugherty, Jeremy McGatha
1:00 – Gary Wigington, Freeman Fite, Dalton Chandler, Chandler Wilborn

This story will be updated.

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