E.A. Sports Today

Brandt new day

Auburn pro shoots a comfortable even-par 72 to complete a wire-to-wire victory for his second Emerald Coast Tour win of the season

Jimmy Brandt (C) shows off the big winner's check after going wire-to-wire to win the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational at Cane Creek GC. On the cover, Brandt waits in the scoring area to post his score after the round.

Jimmy Brandt (C) shows off the big winner’s check after going wire-to-wire to win the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational at Cane Creek GC. On the cover, Brandt waits in the scoring area to post his score after the round.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jimmy Brandt had been a regular and popular player in the field during the early years of the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational.

He hadn’t played here the last couple years, but he returned this year and now can add popular champion to his title.

The Auburn pro basically got around Cane Creek Golf Course on cruise control Sunday. He shot an even-par 72 and was rarely pushed, completing a wire-to-wire run to his second win of the year on the Emerald Coast Golf Tour.

He took home a big check of $3,500 for his weekend of work. He’s now the Tour’s leading money-winner with nearly $12,000.

“Going wire to wire is nice,” Brandt said. “I haven’t won a tournament wire-to-wire in a long time.

“The biggest thing is I finally won this tournament. Maybe it helped that I played a couple years, I learned the course more and kind of knew where not to hit it and stuff like that. The experience of playing here a couple times before helped. I’m just glad I finally got the W out here.”

Brandt, who won the ECGT event at Dancing Rabbit in March, shot 8-under-par 208 over the three days and won by three shots over former Jacksonville State assistant golf coach Neal Grusczynski. Glenn Northcutt and Brent Witcher tied for third at 213.

Brandt was the second-round leader here in 2012, but couldn’t hold off a final-round charge by Kyle Sapp. There was no such pressure this time.

He carried a two-shot lead into the round and let the competition figure a way to catch him. He played the front in 35.

“I knew I had a lead going into the day, knew I had the lead at the turn and was kind of playing defense out there and played really good,” he said. “If I wasn’t playing defense I probably could’ve made a few more putts, but I was just really just trying to make pars and not make any mistakes and let somebody try to chase me down.

“Nobody put any pressure on me so I just kind of cruised on in.”

Grusczynski, whose previous best finish in a mini-tour event was fourth in Houston several years ago, made an early move with back-to-back birdies at 5 and 6.

He was 2-under through 12, then double-bogeyed 13. He birdied 14 and 18 to lock up second and make the trip back to Milwaukee a little more enjoyable.

He finished eighth here last year with rounds of 75, 75 and 76. He shot par or better all three rounds this year.

“I just came down here to have fun, get away from coaching for about a week … hang out with the guys, maybe make some new friends, maybe recruit some players, you never know,” he said. “I played the par-3s in 3-under for the three days, no bogeys. You play the par-3s well here you’re going to have a good tournament.”

Former Anniston golfer Jaylon Ellison came home and finished sixth to cash a check. He had the best round among the pros Sunday (69) and was 5-under on the weekend.

Cane Creek pro Kenny Szuch tells the crowd at the scoreboard Neal Grusczynski (L) came all the way from Milwaukee to play in the event and finished second. He has a local connection: He was Jax State's assistant golf coach last year.

Cane Creek pro Kenny Szuch tells the crowd at the scoreboard Neal Grusczynski (L) came all the way from Milwaukee to play in the event and finished second. He has a local connection: He was Jax State’s assistant golf coach last year.



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