E.A. Sports Today

Brandt, Cole lead

Brandt’s second 68 produces two-shot lead over amateur Cole, pro Witcher; Cole leads amateurs by 4; scores, Sunday pairings

Tournament leader Jimmy Brandt (R) and Jared Davis follow the flight of Brandt's tee shot on 13 Saturday at Cane Creek. On the cover, amateur leader Ty Cole looks for a clear path to the green for his second shot on 18.

Tournament leader Jimmy Brandt (R) and Jared Davis follow the flight of Brandt’s tee shot on 13 Saturday at Cane Creek. On the cover, amateur leader Ty Cole looks for a clear path to the green for his second shot on 18.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The Sunday shootout for the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational title looks like it will come down between three players who are chasing the big check and one who used to.

Auburn pro Jimmy Brandt fired his second straight 68 at Cane Creek Golf Course Saturday for a two-day total 136 that gave him a two-shot lead over Calhoun County Golf Tour amateur Ty Cole, a former mini-tour player, and Atlanta pro Brent Witcher going into Sunday’s final round.

Witcher shot the best round of the tournament, a bogey-free 6-under-par 66. Valdosta, Ga., pro Jared Davis is fourth (139). Cole leads Jeremy McGatha and Scott Martin by four shots in the amateur division after his second straight 69.

After two days of playing together, the pros and amateurs will play among themselves for their separate prize pools Sunday. And while the top amateurs have enjoyed the challenge of trading shots with the pros the last two days, that’s just fine for Cole, who played the Tar Heel Tour in the Carolinas for two years about a decade ago and now focuses on more local pursuits.

“I’m not a pro anymore; I’m a (high school history) schoolteacher just playing golf,” Cole said. “I don’t have the same approach, I don’t have the same mentality. I’m just trying to beat the rest of the weekend warriors.

“The bigger deal for me is I haven’t won a (Calhoun County) Tour event this year, so I feel like I’m behind the eight-ball because I need Tour points; that’s why we all come and play in this. If the pros weren’t here, we would still all be here, so the pro part of it, that’s not the motivation.

“Would it be cool for one of us who play one or two days a week to beat these guys who play all the time? Yeah, that’d be cool, but that’s not the motivation. The motivation is just try to get some Tour points because I hadn’t won an event this year. Their goal being here is totally different from our goal being here; they’re playing for a living. At the end of the day my job is to come out here and win the amateur side to get my Tour points so I’m back in the hunt for Player of the Year and all that.”

Brandt shot the same score as he did the first day, but this one, he said, “I had a really good chance to shoot a really good number.” He birdied the first two holes in The Hollow and was 5-under for the day through 14 holes – 9-under for the tournament – and made a nice up-and-down for par on 15, but wasn’t as sharp with his longer irons coming home. He made a “stupid bogey” on 16 that kept him from the goal of a bogey-free round and parred the last two holes from the middle of the fairway.

“It could have been a really good round today, but I’m still satisfied; right where I need to be and looking forward to tomorrow,” he said. “It feels good to be in the final group with a chance to win. I’m going to go try and have fun. Obviously I do want to win, but I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. Obviously it’s working and I’m playing good enough where somebody’s going to have to go beat me, somebody’s going to have to go put up a good score and try to run me down.”

Amateur playing partner Chad Calvert said if Witcher plays like he did Saturday in the final round he’ll win it.

Witcher eliminated the three-putts that plagued his round on Friday and passed half the pro field. The 30-year-old who had Web.com Tour status three of the previous four years made three straight birdies early in his round – going 2-3-4 on the scorecard – and turned in 4-under. He birdied the final two holes to complete one of the lowest pro rounds in tournament history.

“That’s the best I’ve putted in a long time; that was the difference,” he said. “Yesterday I hit a lot of really good shots and had three three-putts — and they were not hard putts. Today I hit it pretty well, but the putter is what saved me.”

Davis has been near the lead all weekend and stayed in contention to win for the first time in only his third pro tournament by making birdies on the last two holes. He finished sixth and 10th in his previous two starts after not playing a competitive round in four years.

The 25-year-old former Valdosta State wide receiver made an aggressive swing with the tees up on 17 and nearly drove the green, then nearly holed his short pitch for eagle. He hit two big shots on the par-5 18th and two putted for his closing birdie.

On the amateur side, McGatha scored one of the best pars of the week when he made 5 on 14 after twice hitting it in the high grass and playing his pitching wedge three times. Once he got to the green, he drained a 25-foot putt to avoid losing a stroke. He made 10 straight pars after back-to-back bogeys at 7 and 8.

Martin birdied his first two holes and was 4-under through 10, but his momentum stalled after a three-putt bogey on 11. One of the best ball-strikers on the Calhoun County Golf Tour this season, the Ohatchee High football coach hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens in the round.

Jeremy McGatha follows the flight of his first shot out of the tall grass on 14 Saturday at Cane Creek. Despite finding hazards twice on the hole, McGatha made par.

Jeremy McGatha follows the flight of his first shot out of the tall grass on 14 Saturday at Cane Creek. Despite finding hazards twice on the hole, McGatha made par.

Second round scores

Pro scoreboard
Jimmy Brandt 68-68—136
Brent Witcher 72-66—138
Jared Davis 69-70—139
Neal Grusczynski 69-72—141
Glenn Northcutt 70-72—142
Jay McLuen 71-71—142
Clayton Gregory 73-71—144
Tol Dozier 71-74—145
Jordan Anderton 73-72—145
Jaylon Ellison 76-70—146
Alex Tull 74-74—148
Kyle Sapp 72-78—150
Jared Smith 74-77—151
Zack Lynch 81-76—157

Championship flight
x-Jimmy Brandt 68-68—136
Ty Cole 69-69—138
x-Brent Witcher 72-66—138
x-Jared Davis 69-70—139
x-Neal Grusczynski 69-72—141
Jeremy McGatha 69-73—142
x-Glenn Northcutt 70-72—142
x-Jay McLuen 71-71—142
Scott Martin 72-70—142
Dalton Chandler 72-71—143
Gary Wigington 74-69—143
x-Clayton Gregory 73-71—144
x-Tol Dozier 71-74—145
x-Jordan Anderton 73-72—145
Caleb McKinney 73-72—145
x-Jaylon Ellison 76-70—146
Kevin Daugherty 74-73—147
Brennan Clay 76-71—147
Clay Calkins 72-76—148
x-Alex Tull 74-74—148
Adrian Geeting 77-71—148
Janson Wilborn 77-71—148
Caleb Bowen 72-78—150
x-Kyle Sapp 72-78—150
Layton Bussey 78-72—150
x-Jared Smith 74-77—151
Andrew Brooks 78-74—152
Chandler Wilborn 75-78—153
Josh Lewis 78-76—154
Dakota Yawn 72-83—155
Billy Thompson 77-78—155
Chad Calvert 72-84—156
Landon Straub 80-76—156
x-Zack Lynch 81-76—157
Scott Eaton 80-79—159
Matt Rogers 81-79—160
Benji Turley 78-82—160
Dan Griffin 83-78—161
Casey Harmon 79-84—163
Austin Minter 83-83—166
Jeff Borrelli 81-88—169
Shane Chappell 98-86—184

Players Flights
Players Flights
Chip Howell 34-36—70
Gary Wilborn 36-36—72
Lewis Lecroy 40-33—73
Doug Sears 36-37—73
Rodney Guy 39-35—74
Daily Thomas 37-38—75
Eric Hoskins 39-39—78
Ott Chandler 37-41—78
Bob Eaton 42-37—79
James Ramey 40-40—80
Rick Taylor 40-40—80
Rocco D’Gomez 38-43—81
Steve Davis 40-41—81
Rich Santagata 40-42—82
Nick Pollard 45-37—82
Kyle Daugherty 41-42—83
Cory Parker 41-44—85
Barry Summerlin 43-42—85
John McKenzie 43-43—86
Jimbo Phillips 43-43—86
Harrison Szuch 41-46—87
Jackson Johnson 43-46—89
Jimmy Jackson 45-45—90
Tyler Teneyck 46-46—92
Paul Szuch 46-47—93
David Gilley 43-50—93
Larry Cunningham 48-47—95
Clark Cunningham 49-50—99
Mark Cotton 53-49—102
John Brewer 61-57—118

Top Pros 443 453 454 36 443 453 445 36 72

Brandt 443 443 354 34 333 443 545 34 68 (136)
Witcher 442 343 453 32 443 453 434 34 66 (138)
Davis 443 443 454 35 444 453 434 35 70 (139)
Top Ams 443 453 454 36 443 453 445 36 72
Cole 453 343 444 34 343 463 444 35 69 (138)
McGatha 433 552 564 37 443 453 445 36 73 (142)
Martin 333 443 453 32 453 454 445 38 70 (142)

Sunday pairings

9:00 a.m. – Barry Summerlin, John Brewer, Mark Cotton
9:09 – Tyler Teneyck, Larry Cunningham, Clark Cunningham
9:18 – Jimmy Jackson, Jackson Johnson, David Gilley
9:27 – Paul Szuch, Harrison Szuch, Cory Parker
9:36 – Jimbo Phillips, Kyle Daugherty, Rick Taylor
9:45 – John McKenzie, Rich Santagata, Nick Pollard
9:54 – Steve Davis, Rocco D’Gomez, James Ramey
10:03 – Bob Eaton, Ott Chandler, Doug Sears
10:12 – Rodney Guy, Daily Thomas, Eric Hoskins
10:21 – Chip Howell, Gary Wilborn, Lewis Lecroy
10:30 — Austin Minter, Jeff Borrelli, Shane Chappell
10:39 — Dan Griffin, Casey Harmon, Benji Turley
10:48 – Landon Straub, Scott Eaton, Matt Rogers
10:57 – Dakota Yawn, Billy Thompson, Chad Calvert
11:06 — Andrew Brooks, Chandler Wilborn, Josh Lewis
11:15 – Janson Wilborn, Caleb Bowen, Layton Bussey
11:24 — Brennan Clay, Clay Calkins, Adrian Geeting
11:33 — Gary Wigington, Caleb McKinney, Kevin Daugherty
11:42 – Ty Cole, Jeremy McGatha, Scott Martin, Dalton Chandler
11:55 — Jared Smith, Zack Lynch
12:04 p.m. — Jaylon Ellison, Alex Tull, Kyle Sapp
12:13 — Clayton Gregory, Tol Dozier, Jordan Anderton
12:22 — Neal Grusczynski, Glenn Northcutt, Jay McLuen
12:31 — Jimmy Brandt, Brent Witcher, Jared Davis

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