E.A. Sports Today

Beware of the amateurs

Cole misses a chance to grab first-round Cane Creek lead with bogey at 18, McGatha joins him in four-way tie for second; Calkins stages big comeback

Defending amateur medalist Dalton Chandler checks his gear before stepping to the first tee Friday in the opening round of the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational. (Photo by Sandra Howell)

Defending amateur medalist Dalton Chandler checks his gear before stepping to the first tee Friday in the opening round of the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational. (Photo by Sandra Howell)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

In a manner of seconds Friday afternoon Ty Cole’s whole perspective on the leaderboard changed. It happened that fast.

One moment he was putting for the outright first-round lead of the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational. The next, he was slumped in stunned silence in his golf cart, trailing pro leader Jimmy Brandt and not even in the lead group of Saturday’s second round.

“I’m ready to go home,” Cole said.

The reigning Calhoun County Tour Player of the Year shot a 3-under-par 69 that left him tied with three others a shot behind Brandt. But it could have been a whole lot more.

Cole came to 18 with a share of the lead and was just off the left side of the par-5 green pin high in 2. His pitch to the green nearly hit the pin and settled about 10 feet past the hole.

He ran his birdie putt past the hole and then missed the short come-backer for par. The three-putt bogey dropped him into a tie for second with pros Jared Davis of Valdosta, Ga.; and Neal Grusczynski of Milwaukee, and amateur Jeremy McGatha.

“The first putt I just hit too hard and the second putt didn’t break,” Cole said. “I missed some easy putts and made some I shouldn’t have, so except for that one right there it all kind of evened out. What are you going to do?”

Cole also lamented bogeying two of the four par-3s or he might’ve had a three-shot lead over this mixed championship flight of pros and top amateurs. He was 3-under through his first five holes and had four of his six birdies on the front.

“I didn’t shoot myself out of it, but I could’ve been in better position,” he said.

For a brief time McGatha was in the best position. As one of the earliest players out, his 69 sat atop the leaderboard until Brandt and Davis came home in next group.

His round was highlighted by three birdies in his final five holes. He came back across the street after playing The Hollow in even par and finished birdie, bogey, birdie, par, birdie.

“The middle of the round I started struggling and when I hit a couple bad shots I got lucky,” he said. “If those bad shots would’ve gone the other way, I could have shot 75-76.

“Towards the end of the round I told myself, ‘Stop swinging stupid.’ Why is this demon on your shoulder saying hit a bad shot, so don’t do that.”

Make no mistake. As close as he is to the lead right now, if McGatha rises up and wins this weekend he won’t be turning pro just to collect the winner’s check.

“Professional golf is not on my radar,” he said. “I love our Calhoun County Golf Tour and after the way I started our year I’m just trying to get some points. General Dynamics pays my bills, not professional golf.”

The wildest swing of the day belonged to Clay Calkins. The 51-year-old Jacksonville amateur shot 5-over 41 on the front nine, then bounced back with a 5-under 31 – with a bogey – on the back.

The front was marred by a triple bogey on the serpentine par-5 eighth when he failed to hit a shot off the rocks in the hazard. He played the first five holes on the back in 4-under, with a bogey on the par-3 12th and an eagle on the par-5 14th. It was one of four eagles the hole yielded in the round.

“That is probably the biggest swing, especially in a tournament, that I’ve ever had,” Calkins said. “It was awesome, plugging away, being able to still compete at almost 52 years old is just fun to get out here and grind it out.

“Ten years ago, no way I could have made that comeback; I’d have been out of it. But as you get older, you learn to keep your patience and it just came together.”

On the cover: Ty Cole watches the result of his pitch shot onto the 18th green Friday.

Caleb Bowen rips a drive down the first fairway to get his round started Friday. Bowen got off to a slow start but eagled 18 to shoot 72. (Photo by Sandra Howell)

Caleb Bowen rips a drive down the first fairway to get his round started Friday. Bowen got off to a slow start but eagled 18 to shoot 72. (Photo by Sandra Howell)

FORT McCLELLAN CREDIT UNION PRO-INVITATIONAL
First round scores
(x-professionals)

x-Jimmy Brandt 33-35—68
Jeremy McGatha 35-34—69
x-Jared Davis 33-36—69
Ty Cole 33-36—69
x-Neal Gruszynski 36-33—69
x-Glenn Northcutt 35-35—70
x-Tol Dozier 38-33—71
x-Jay McLuen 36-35—71
x-Kyle Sapp 34-38—72
x-Brent Witcher 37-35—72
Clay Calkins 41-31—72
Chad Calvert 36-36—72
Caleb Bowen 36-36—72
Dalton Chandler 36-36—72
Dakota Yawn 36-36—72
Scott Martin 37-35—72
x-Jordan Anderton 37-36—73
x-Clayton Gregory 38-35—73
Caleb McKinney 37-36—73
x-Alex Tull 40-34—74
x-Jared Smith 37-37—74
Kevin Daugherty 38-36—74
Gary Wigington 37-37—74
Chandler Wilborn 40-35—75
Brennan Clay 39-37—76
x-Jaylon Ellison 39-37—76
Billy Thompson 38-39—77
Adrian Geeting 39-38—77
Janson Wilborn 39-38—77
Andrew Brooks 41-37—78
Josh Lewis 40-38—78
Benji Turley 38-40—78
Layton Bussey 42-36—78
Casey Harmon 40-39—79
Landon Straub 40-40—80
Scott Eaton 39-41—80
x-Zack Lynch 40-41—81
Jeff Borrelli 42-39—81
Matt Rogers 40-41—81
Austin Minter 41-42—83
Dan Griffin 43-40—83
Shane Chappell 52-46—98

Saturday pairings
9 a.m. — x-Jimmy Brandt, Jeremy McGatha, x-Jared Davis
9:09 — Ty Cole, x-Neal Gruszynski, x-Glenn Northcutt
9:18 — x-Tol Dozier, x-Jay McLuen, x-Kyle Sapp
9:27 — x-Brent Witcher, Clay Calkins, Chad Calvert
9:36 — Caleb Bowen, Dalton Chandler, Dakota Yawn
9:45 — Scott Martin, x-Jordan Anderton, x-Clayton Gregory
9:54 — Caleb McKinney, x-Alex Tull, x-Jared Smith
10:03 — Kevin Daugherty, Gary Wigington, Chandler Wilborn
10:12 — Brennan Clay, x-Jaylon Ellison, Billy Thompson
10:21 — Adrian Geeting, Janson Wilborn, Andrew Brooks
10:30 — Josh Lewis, Casey Harmon, Landon Straub
10:39 — Scott Eaton, x-Zack Lynch, Jeff Borrelli
10:48 — Matt Rogers, Austin Minter, Dan Griffin, Shane Chappell
11:00 — Chip Howell, Jackson Johnson, Mark Cotton
11:09 — Daily Thomas, Rodney Guy, Rich Santagata, Eric Hoskins
11:18 — Paul Szuch, Harrison Szuch, Cory Parker
11:27 — Rocco D’Gomez, John McKenzie, Steve Davis
11:36 — Tyler Teneyck, Clark Cunningham, Larry Cunningham
11:45 — James Ramey, Doug Sears, Jimbo Phillips
11:54 — Ott Chandler, Gary Wilborn, Kyle Daugherty, Rick Taylor
12:03 p.m. — Jimmy Jackson, David Gilley, John Brewer, Barry Summerlin
12:45 – Benji Turley, Layton Bussey, Nick Pollard

Caleb McKinney posted a 73 Friday and is among 19 players within five shots of the lead. (Photo by Sandra Howell)

Caleb McKinney posted a 73 Friday and is among 19 players within five shots of the lead. (Photo by Sandra Howell)



You must be logged in to post a comment Login