E.A. Sports Today

He’s still G-Ott it

Ott Chandler wins fourth Calhoun County title in a playoff; Ty Cole locks up second straight Player of the Year award

Ott Chandler stands over his tournament-winning putt on the second hole of sudden death Sunday.

Ott Chandler stands over his tournament-winning putt on the second hole of sudden death Sunday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

As Ott Chandler gets older, the more he comes to appreciate the experience of winning. He may be one of the best players in the area, but you never know when stepping into the winner’s circle will happen again.

With that in mind, Chandler called the feeling of winning the 80th Calhoun County Championship at well-groomed Anniston Municipal Golf Course as special as his win two years ago in the Sunny King Charity Classic.

Chandler shot 7-under-par 63 in the final round – the best round of the day — and extended first-round leader Jeremy McGatha to a playoff before winning on the second extra hole. They shot 12-under-par 128 for 36 holes.

It was Chandler’s fourth County title and first since going back-to-back in 2005 and 2006 – the first two years after it was moved to Cane Creek. It was his first win on the Calhoun County Tour since the 2013 season-opener at Cider Ridge – a span of 30 events. His son, Dalton, has won twice during that stretch.

“This is the first one I’ve won of these things in 10 years and to be the oldest person to win it that’s pretty neat,” he said. “My brother was up here riding with me and when we got to 17 I told him on the tee box this is our chance to win because I may not ever be in this situation again. And I told Dalton on the first playoff hole I may never be here again.

“This is the first tournament I’ve won against these young kids in three years. To beat these kids, I don’t get to do it very often. It’s a heck of a feeling. I’m proud as a peacock. This is the proudest I’ve been since last year at the Sunny King. And to have (Dalton) riding with me … he’s seen his old man win for the first time in a while.”

Chandler, 52, started the day four shots behind McGatha, but he came into the weekend thinking if he putted well he’d have a chance. He made 10 birdies Sunday. He got the first three holes and four of his first five to take the lead for the first time. A two-shot swing on 15 moved McGatha back into the lead, but then Chandler birdied 17 to draw even, 18 to force the playoff and the first extra hole to extend the playoff.

He won the playoff with a par on the difficult par-3 second hole after his tee shot settled in the in the back fringe just past the pin on the top tier of the three-tiered green. McGatha made a bogey on what he called “the hardest hole in the county” after hitting his best shot of the day, flushing a 5-iron over the three-tiered green. He wrestled with the type shot to hit coming back and still was indecisive in the stroke, resulting in a poor chip that skidded past the hole and rolled off the front of the green, taking his chances for a redemptive victory with it.

“I’m very disappointed,” McGatha said. “To hit a shot like that and not be rewarded for it is disappointing. It stings.

“I really needed this win to make my year. I told you yesterday I was ready for the season to be over, that the only thing that could really make me be OK with this year was win the County and I put myself in position, so, yeah, I’m disappointed. It reminds me of 2010 when I played my tail off and got in a playoff with (Wigington) and lost on the fourth playoff hole.”

McGatha backed up his opening-round 61 with a 67 that included seven birdies (and an eighth in the playoff). He nearly holed a 45-footer for eagle on 18 when Chandler had the advantage and set himself up for another birdie on the first playoff hole with a low, hot hook from 150 yards after his drive kicked hard into the left rough.

“Last year in a dogfight out here I had a long putt on 18 for eagle – that type putt – and I made it,” McGatha said. “When it left my putter I thought it had a chance. I really thought I made it for a minute.”

Chandler’s win ended Ty Cole’s run of three straight Calhoun County Tour wins and six individual titles this summer, but Cole was able to secure the County Player of the Year honors for the second year in a row. Cole finished tied for third Sunday with Matt Rogers.

In addition to having the most wins of any player on the Tour, Cole led the Tour in birdies (66, one more than McGatha) and was tied with Wigington for the lowest stroke average. Both players took 1,122 strokes in 16 Tour rounds this season for a 70.125 stroke average.

“I don’t really have a lot to say … the results kind of speak for themselves,” Cole said. “To say I didn’t have a good summer would be a lie. Did I expect it? No. I’m like everybody else: I show up, tee it up and hope for the best. Would I have expected (to win) as many tournaments I did this year? Not really. But we all show up trying to win. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.

“You take the top 7-10 guys down there, it’s just good competition; it keeps your game sharp and makes you play as good as you can. People will tell you Birmingham or Huntsville has a stronger field and that may be true, but they’re also a lot bigger cities. You take the top 7-8 guys on that county tour per capita I’ll take them. I’ll put them up against those big cities.

“If you are able to win a tournament, it’s something you can kind of hang your hat on; you’ve beat a quality field in that championship flight. Any time you win a tournament or a couple tournaments against that field you know you’ve played good. To win Player of the Year two times down there, whether it be back-to-back or five years apart, to win Player of the Year for seven events the way the points work and all that you’ve played really good golf.”

In addition to the Player of the Year, the tournament also helped identify the 16 qualifiers for the Calhoun County Match Play Championship this fall. They are Cole, Wigington, McGatha, both Chandlers, Rogers, Kevin Daugherty, defending champion Caleb McKinney, Chad Calvert, Janson Wilborn, Andrew Brooks, Adrian Geeting, Brennan Clay, Billy Thompson, Cypress Hathorn and Jeff Borrelli.

Chance Harris scored his first-ever hole-in-one in Sunday’s morning wave. The 28-year-old Oxford car salesman aced the 110-yard seventh hole with a pitching wedge. He edged out Brad Hardin for closest-to-the-pin, but Hardin got his prize later when he holed out from 65 yards for eagle at No. 3.

Jeremy McGatha chips back to the second playoff green Sunday. His best shot of the day left him with an awkward stance and lie that resulted in a poor stroke and gave Ott Chandler the opening to win the Calhoun County Championship.

Jeremy McGatha chips back to the second playoff green Sunday. His best shot of the day left him with an awkward stance and lie that resulted in a poor stroke and gave Ott Chandler the opening to win the Calhoun County Championship.

At Anniston Municipal GC
Final scores

Championship A
Ott Chandler 65-63—128
Jeremy McGatha 61-67—128
Matt Rogers 66-67—133
Ty Cole 66-67—133
Gary Wigington 65-69—134
Cypress Hathorn 68-66—134
Caleb McKinney 67-68—135
Dalton Chandler 65-71—136
Kevin Daugherty 68-70—138
Lewis LeCroy 65-77—142
Gary Wilborn 69-78—147

Player 535 344 344 35 434 444 345 35 70

Chandler 424 334 343 30 533 345 334 33 63 (128)
McGatha 554 344 235 35 533 433 344 32 67 (128)
Playoff: O. Chandler (4-3), McGatha (4-4)

Championship B
Randy Reaves 70-67—137
Eric Howell 70-68—138
Brennan Clay 70-69—139
Janson Wilborn 70-70—140
David Sanders 70-70—140
Nick Pollard 71-70—141
Jeff Borrelli 70-73—143
Landon Straub 71-75—146
Dustin Travis 71-82—153
Lynn Oswalt 70-WD

First flight
Adrian Geeting 73-67—140
Bob Eaton 72-70—142
Layton Bussey 72-74—146
Mark Durden 72-74—146
John Tucker 73-74—147
Jake Goggans 72-75—147
Dan Griffin 73-75—148
Tim Steward 73-76—149
Ted Heim 72-79—151
Jonathan Pate 73-78—151
Kenny Wright 73-79—152

Second flight
Billy Thompson 74-66—140
Scott Eaton 74-67—141
George Salmon 74-69—143
Jason Johnson 74-74—148
Josh Poole 74-74—148
Robin Wood 74-76—150
David Coffey 75-78—153
Allen Mangham 74-84—158

Third flight
Andrew Brooks 75-71—146
Chase Hollingsworth 78-70—148
Benji Turley 75-73—148
Austin Minter 76-72—148
Danny Whitaker 79-71—150
Rob Davie 77-74—151
Dennis Austin 78-76—154
Al Johnson 75-81—156
David Martin 76-83—159
Mickey Travis 77-83—160
Jimbo Phillips 77-85—162
Dustin Veihe 79-82—161
Jeff Barnwell 79-85—164

Fourth flight
Tanner Wells 81-76—157
Andrew Miller 80-78—158
Rick Dickson 80-80—160
T.J. McGatha 81-81—162
Nate Griffin 82-80—162
Al Muskewitz 81-82—163
Bruce Collins 81-82—163
Cal Lambert 82-81—163
Don Hill 81-85—166
Keaton Borrelli 80-86—166
David Wray 82-87—169
Gage Miller 81-95—176

Fifth flight
Cain Hollingsworth 85-79—164
Chance Harris 85-81—166
Drue Snow 85-83—168
Kelly Rogers 83-86—169
Paul Wade 84-85—169
Brad Hardin 83-88—171
Roger Fair 86-87—173
Jerre Dingler 84-90—174

Sixth flight
w-Jimmy Jackson 88-82—170
z-John MacKenzie 88-86—174
y-Zach Mangum 89-86—175
Bill Teneck 88-91—179
x-Craig Gardner 96-86—182
David Gilley 87-97—184
David Gattis 95-92—187
Chip Howell WD
wxyz-flight winners determined by Sunday scores

Name Total
Ty Cole 1443.75
Gary Wigington 1318.5
Jeremy McGatha 1235
Dalton Chandler 1232.5
Kevin Daugherty 1146.7
Ott Chandler 1065
Caleb McKinney 997.5
Chad Calvert 967.5
Matt Rogers 913.75
Janson Wilborn 847.5
Andrew Brooks 837.5
Adrian Geeting 832.5
Brennan Clay 821.7
Billy Thompson 810
Cypress Hathorn 801
Jeff Borrelli 771.7
Lewis Lecroy 760
Scott Martin 735
Caleb Bowen 705
Lance Evans 637.5
Jonathan Pate 635
Dan Griffin 623.75
Clay Calkins 577.5
Dustin Travis 567.5
Austin Minter 561.25
Chip Howell 550
Nick Pollard 517.5
Kenny Wright 515
Brandon Roberts 470
Casey Harmon 467.5
Landon Straub 410
Jimbo Phillips 407.5
Chad Reavis 405
Jacob Lecroy 400
Kelly Rogers 400
David Lawrence 385
Kyle Daugherty 380
Daily Thomas 337.5
Layton Bussey 327.5
Brad Hardin 257.5
Luke Armstrong 245
Jono Waugh 230
Brad Crowe 180
Jeremy Willis 145

First-round matches
(Play not to begin until after Buddy Moore Classic)
No. 1 Ty Cole vs. No. 16 Jeff Borrelli
No. 8 Chad Calvert vs. No. 9 Matt Rogers
No. 4 Dalton Chandler vs. No. 13 Brennan Clay
No. 5 Kevin Daugherty vs. No. 12 Adrian Geeting
No. 3 Jeremy McGatha vs. No. 14 Billy Thompson
No. 6 Ott Chandler vs. No. 11 Andrew Brooks
No. 7 Caleb McKinney vs. No. 10 Janson Wilborn
No. 2 Gary Wigington vs. No. 15 Cypress Hathorn

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