E.A. Sports Today

Chandler leads Indian Oaks

Chandler leads Indian Oaks even after 5-under 67, 8 birdies; McKinney second after a 71

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Dalton Chandler has been challenging the established best players in the county for the past few years, creeping up the Player of the Year list every season. Is this the year he finally breaks through?

Granted it’s only the first round of the season and there is a summer’s worth of golf to play, but Chandler got off to a good start Saturday when he shot a 5-under-par 67 with eight birdies to lead the Indian Oaks Championship.

He holds a four-shot lead over Caleb McKinney and a limited field going into Sunday’s final round of the first Calhoun County Golf Tour points event of the season.

In 2014 he was 25th in the Calhoun County Tour standings. The last two years he was fourth, but last year he was only 2.5 points behind third-place Jeremy McGatha.

“I feel like I’m a better play now than I’ve been; play a bunch, practice a bunch,” Chandler said. “I feel like I can win any tournament that I play good in; I used to not feel like that. I try not to make as many mistakes now.”

Chandler overcame the misfortune of hitting a few really good shots that didn’t turn out that way by making four birdies on each side. He played holes 7 through 15 in 4-under par with five birdies. His two bogeys on the back nine were both three-putts.

McKinney shot the second-best round of the day despite an irritating case of spring break sunburn he soothed with a big bottle of aloe. He also didn’t play a practice round after arriving back from the beach late Friday night.

Still, he hit all 14 fairways and 13 greens, but had 33 putts.

“I hit the ball about as good as I want to,” McKinney said. “If I make putts today I shoot right around Dalton somewhere. That’s what it came down to, what it always comes down to, putting.”

Pate closed the gap on the leaders with an eagle on the par-5 18th after hitting a 5-iron approach to 10 feet. It was one of the few putts of length he made.

“I hit the ball good enough to shoot 68 or so, but just had too many putts today (33),” he said. “I had a great group to play with and we all tried to stay positive and take the good with the bad.”

Eagles were landing. Grant Hockman tied a County Tour record with two eagles in the round. He eagled the par-5 second and 13th, but also made a 9 on the par-5 13th. Kevin Daugherty (74) and Chad Calvert (74) both eagled No. 2, and John Tucker (83) eagled the par-4 No. 5.

First-round scores
Championship flight
Dalton Chandler 33-34—67
Caleb McKinney 37-34—71
Jonathan Pate 36-36—72
Jeremy McGatha 37-36—73
Andrew Brooks 37-36—73
Kenny Wright 36-37—73
Kevin Daugherty 36-38—74
Chad Calvert 35-39—74
Grant Hockman 39-35—74

First flight
Clinton Ramey 38-38—76
Jeremy Willis 38-39—77
Jason Brinkley 39-38—77
Gary Wigington 38-39—77
Matt Rogers 38-40—78
Mike Granado 39-39—78
Dan McClellan 37-41—78
Billy Thompson 37-43—80
Tim Turner 40-40—80
Tanner Wells 41-39—80

Second flight
Brennan Clay 38-43—81
Jason Wilborn 38-43—81
John Tucker 43-40—83
Kaine Gibson 43-41—84
Chris Cox 40-44—84
Don Hill 45-40—85
Clay Calkins 42-44—86
Brad Hardin 43-51—94
Kelly Rogers 49-47—96
Walt Drake NC
Dan Griffin WD

Sunday pairings
12:30 p.m. – Clay Calkins, Brad Hardin, Kelly Rogers
12:40 – Chris Cox, Kaine Gibson, Don Hill
12:50 – Tanner Wells, Brennan Clay, John Tucker
1:00 – Billy Thompson, Tim Turner, Janson Wilborn
1:10 – Gary Wigington, Dan McClellan, Matt Rogers, Mike Granado
1:20 – Chad Calvert, Clinton Ramey, Jason Brinkley, Jeremy Willis
1:30 – Andrew Brooks, Kenny Wright, Grant Hockman, Kevin Daugherty
1:40 – Dalton Chandler, Caleb McKinney, Jonathan Pate, Jeremy McGatha

Leaders Scorecards
Player 453 443 544 36 344 544 435 36 72

Chandler 443 434 434 33 443 443 534 34 67
McKinney 443 444 554 37 343 444 435 34 71
Pate 442 543 545 36 354 643 533 36 72

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