E.A. Sports Today

Highway 9 heroes

Clay, Brooks shoot 15-under for the second day in a row, win Highway 9 Challenge by four shots

By East Alabama Sports Today

Former high school teammates Brennan Clay and Andrew Brooks shot 15-under-par for the second day in a row Sunday and won the Highway 9 Challenge by four shots.

The two former Alexandria High School players shot a final-round 57 at Pine Hill Country Club for a two-day total 113. The event opened at the par-71 Cherokee County CC on Saturday.

The teams of Cory Etter-Caleb Bowen and Jeremy McGatha-Matt Rogers tied for second after both shooting 13-under for the second day in a row.

“It was truly a team effort,” Brooks said. “(Clay) had his A-plus game yesterday and then I played really, really well today; we kind of brother-in-lawed our way through it. Me and Matt (Rogers) had a lot of fun in the Sunny King, but this was almost equally as much fun – and being able to finish the deal. It was just a good time.”

On Saturday, Clay and Brooks went through a brief stretch of grinding on the back nine, but Clay described Sunday’s round as “pretty stress-free.”

They faced potential trouble on 8 when both partners hooked their shots badly off the tee, but Brooks used a mulligan and hit it to 40 feet – and then walked-in the putt for eagle. Brooks also birdied 9 to get them to 9-under at the turn that, as Clay said, “set the tone.”

The eagle came on the heels of Bowen eagling 8 from four feet in front of them.

“That’s when we found out what (Etter and Bowen) were and now as long as we didn’t do anything stupid we should have it,” Brooks said. “It enabled us to go into a little bit of cruise control on the back nine.”

But they didn’t rest. They birdied 10 and 11, parred 12, 13 and 14, and then birdied the last four in a row. Brooks used his last mulligan to make a downhill eight-footer on 15 to start the closing run.

Brooks won the tournament last year with Etter. For Clay, it was his first win in an amateur event since capturing the Indian Oaks club championship at 19. He entered the PGA apprentice program later that summer. He recently left the golf business and currently is in the process of getting his amateur status back.

Final scores
(Saturday-Cherokee County CC, Sunday-Pine Hill CC)

Championship flight
Clay-Brooks 56-57—113
Bowen-Etter 58-59—117
Rogers-McGatha 58-59—117
McCurdy-Bethune 60-63—123
Hicks-Gamble 59-66—125
Baker-Terry 61-64—125
Doss-Robertson 62-67—129

First flight
Hubbard-Hicks 64-60—124
Harrell-Harrell 64-60—124
Okins-Thompson 63-64—127
Harper-Robertson 63-65—128
Wheeler-Heathcock 63-65—128
Pollard-Stewart 63-65—128
Aultman-Keaton 65-66—131
Young-McCarley 64-69—133
Waldrop-Henderson 65-68—133
Viehe-Grasser 65-68—133
Johnson-Lowe 65-74—139
Trammell-Atkison 64-75—139

Second flight
Trantham-Cashen 67-66—133
Hardin-Turner 66-69—135
Morrow-Morrow 69-67—136
Wood-McFry 66-70—136
Stephens-Travis 68-70—138
Bedwell-Bedwell 71-68—139
Sapp-Davis 67-72—139
VanPelt-Woodall 67-73—140
Murphy-Rainey 68-75—143
Peppers-Tieck 72-74—146
Cobb-Floyd 73-79—152

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