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There’s a three-way tie at the top of the leaderboard in the Calhoun County Two-Man Championship at Silver Lakes

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

SILVER LAKES — Marcus Harrell and Garrett Burgess playing together in the Calhoun County Two-Man wasn’t so much a round of golf Saturday morning as it was a walk down memory lane.

The two former high school and college teammates were the county’s best juniors of their generation in the day but hadn’t played as partners since winning a two-man event at Pine Harbor several years ago.

But it seemed like old times Saturday when they shot 11-under-par 61 to grab part of a three-way share of the lead after the first of the Calhoun County Two-Man at Silver Lakes.

The former Oxford High and Jacksonville State teammates were the first to post 61 and were later joined atop the leaderboard by Brennan Clay and Jeremy McGatha and Ott and Dalton Chandler. The format on the raw day was a scramble. The field will play a scamble Sunday.

The idea of playing together struck Harrell as he was searching for a partner for the State Four-Ball Championship later this year, but those plans were scuttled because Burgess hadn’t regained his amateur status after six years as pro. That didn’t stop them from playing together this weekend and it was like old times.

“It felt good to play again in general, but it was good to play with Garrett as well,” Harrell said. “I think we talked about old times on just about every hole. We just laughed about something we did in high school or something we did in college at JSU. It was a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun.”

“I wouldn’t say that helps us play better together, it’s comfortable,” Burgess said. “Some of these guys mesh well together. We’ve been friends a long time so it’s nothing new or different when we play golf in a round together.”

Actually, Harrell-Burgess and Clay-McGatha bounced back from bogeys early in their rounds to grab their spots atop the leaderboard.

Harrell and Burgess bogeyed their first hole by rushing a three-foot putt, but after that it was smooth sailing with 12 birdies over the last 17 holes. They made four in a row in the middle of the round and then birdied their last five holes of the day.

“The thing about Garrett and I is we think a lot alike on the golf course,” Harrell said. “We’re both really aggressive. It’s all or nothing for us most of the time, so it made it a lot easier as far as getting along and thinking the same and working with the same mindset.”

“It just works,” Burgess said.

Clay and McGatha were 1-under through four holes with a bogey at the par-3 Mindbreaker second from the greenside bunker, but then they birdied five in a row and seven of their next eight. They finished with a flourish, making a 30-foot birdie putt on Heartbreaker 9, the traditional tournament finishing hole, that gave them some measure of revenge for the double bogey they took there last July that put them way behind the leaders in Sunny King Charity Classic.

“If somebody told me we’d shoot 11 (in those weather conditions), I wouldn’t have hit a shot, filled out the scorecard and went home,” Clay said. “Tomorrow it’s supposed to be worse. It’s going to be survival tomorrow, especially with a scamble; it’s going to be tough. We’re very, very happy with 11.”

The Chandlers birdied their first two holes, but turned in only 4-under. They turned it on on the Heartbreaker 9, making seven birdies and closing with five in a row.

“I told (Dalton) if we can shoot 5- or 6-under on the back we’d still be in it,” Ott said. “It was a grind. It was playing tough. We left a couple out there, we didn’t steal anything.”

At Silver Lakes

First-Round Scores
Championship flight

Marcus Harrell-Garrett Burgess 32-29—61
Brennan Clay-Jeremy McGatha 30-31—61
Dalton Chandler-Ott Chandler 32-29—61
Caleb McKinney-Tanner Wells 31-32—63
Dee Pruitt-Jeremy Willis 31-34—65
Gary Wigington-Ty Cole 33-32—65
Matt Rogers-Andrew Brooks 34-31—65
Mike Granato-Tim Spurgeon 32-33—65

First flight
Lee Waldron-George Salmon 34-32—66
Austin Minter-Adrian Geeting 33-33—66
Cory Etter-Caleb Bowen 35-32—67
Clay Calkins-Chris Hubbard 34-34—68
Art Bice-Chase Kennedy 34-34—68
Bobby Luttrell-Alan Darnall 35-34—69

Second flight
Jake Nichols-Randy Lipscomb 34-36—70
Kevin Daugherty-Jeff Champion 35-35—70
Patrick Crane-Terry Crane 36-35—71
Jake Goggans-Tyler Andrews 36-35—71
Wayne Crow-John Williams 35-36—71
Chase Hollingsworth-Cain Hollingsworth 34-38—72
Jacob Sittre-Steven Crane 35-37—72
Kenny Fulmer-Jeff Noah 38-34—72
Danny Whittaker-Andy Jenkins 36-36—72

Third flight
T.J. McGatha-Rick Dickson 40-33—73
Michael Ray-Terry Cobb 37-36—73
Blake Ambercrombie-Alex Jessen 39-35—74
Clayton Chandler-Bobby Vasquez 38-34—74
Brandon Roberts-Nick Pollard 38-37—75
Mark Gaines-Kevin Wells 41-39—80
Grant Cobb-Josh Whitley 40-40—82

Sunday pairings
Heartbreaker No. 1
9:30 a.m. — Gaines, Wells, Cobb, Whitley
9:40 — Chandler, Vazquez, Ambercrombie, Jessen
9:50 — McGatha, Dickson, Ray, Cobb
10:00 — Whittaker, Jenkins, Roberts, Pollard
10:10 — Sittre, Crane, Fulmer, Noah
10:20 — Hollinsgworth, Hollingsworth, Crow, Williams
10:30 — Crane, Crane, Goggans, Andrews
10:40 — Nichols, Lipscomb, Daugherty, Champion
Mindbreaker No. 1
9:30 a.m. — Bice, Kennedy, Luttrell, Darnall
9:40 — Etter, Bowen, Calkins, Hubbard
9:50 — Minter, Geeting, Waldron, Salmon
10:00 — Rogers, Brooks, Wigington, Cole
10:10 — Pruitt, Willis, Granato, Spurgeon
10:20 — Chandler, Chandler, McKinney, Wells
10:30 — Harrell, Burgess, Clay, McGatha

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