E.A. Sports Today

A new year

After passing on opener, Player of the Year Ty Cole makes his 2017 Calhoun County Golf Tour debut Saturday in the Oxford City Championship

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD — Ty Cole had one of those golf seasons last year that comes along once in a lifetime. He still doesn’t know how he did it and doubts if he’ll ever have a stretch like that again.

Cole had one of those Tiger-in-his-heyday kind of years. At the height of the stretch he won six straight individual events, including three on the Calhoun County Golf Tour, and nine straight overall if you counted the two-man events he entered.

He won County Tour events at Cane Creek, Silver Lakes and Pine Hill, plus invitationals at Gadsden CC, Chesley Oaks and Cherokee CC. He was an amazing 56-under-par in those six individual events.

As he prepares to make his 2017 Calhoun County Tour individual debut Saturday at the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge, he’s still at a loss to explain the year that was.

“You look back at it and you’re like, did that really happen,” Cole said after accepting the Calhoun County Tour Player of the Year award. “When you entered eight or nine tournaments by the end of the summer and won ever single one of them, nobody does that. Guys on the Tour don’t do that. You don’t do that anywhere. That’s something to me I would never think I would ever do again. Somebody else may come along and do it, but I wouldn’t think I would.

“That was just one of those deals it just happened the way it happened; I played good when I needed to play good. Last year was just a combination of playing good, luck, good weather, whatever you want to call it. Everything just lined up to where I just played as good as I’ve played in probably my life. Maybe not the way I hit the ball or putted, but take driving, chipping, putting, irons, scoring, playing courses I traditionally don’t play good on and play great on, all that together … it’s just one of those things.

“I can’t explain it. If somebody else can explain it they can let me know.”

Cole has always been one of the top players on the Calhoun County Tour, but he clearly was the most dominant player last year. If the standings took into account all a player’s events on the seven-tournament series instead of the top five finishes, he would have won the Player of the Year by 118 points. He was over par only twice in 16 Tour rounds and had seven of his last nine rounds in the 60s. He tied for the Tour’s scoring average title, led the Tour in greens in regulation and birdies and was third in scrambling.

His worst finish on the Tour was a T-7 in the season-opening Indian Oaks Championship, and he didn’t play in that event this year. Dalton Chandler won the first Tour event of the year, but has yet to enter at Cider Ridge.

As his new season begins, Cole feels no pressure to reach the bar that was raised last season. His approach will be the same as always.

“You just go and you play and try to win,” he said.

Cole already has one win in the county this year. He and Gary Wigington won the Calhoun County Two-Man last month at Silver Lakes in a playoff.

Cover photo: Ty Cole (center) accepts the 2016 Calhoun County Player of the Year trophy from Matt Rogers (left) and Jeremy McGatha.

Here are the pairings for Saturday’s first round of the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge Golf Club

First-round pairings
8 a.m. – Caleb Bowen, Adrian Geeting, Jonathan Pate, Andrew Brooks
8:08 – Austin Minter, Ryan Huff, Chase Thomas, Timmy Woodard
8:16 – David Sanders, Jono Waugh, Layton Bussey, Brandon Roberts
8:24 – Chip Howell, Eric Lett, Aaron Jones, Clay Calkins
8:32 – Chance Harris, Chase Hollingsworth, Cain Hollingsworth, Jake Goggans
9:28 – Kelly Rogers, Matt Rogers, Jeremy McGatha, Brennan Clay
9:36 – Chad Reavis, Ty Cole, Gary Wigington, Luke Armstrong
9:44 – Rob VanGorder, Casey McGinnis, Jason Brinkley, Jeremy Willis
9:52 – John Dillingham, Richard Starling, Scott Sikes, Mark Highland
10:24 – Jerry Kemp, Lamar Ward, Casey Harmon, Scott Martin
10:48 – Daily Thomas, Dustin Underwood, Chad Calvert, Kaine Gibson
10:56 – David Lawrence, Randy Carrol, Brad Hardin, Harold Norris
11:04 – Logan Archer, Caleb McKinney, Jared Waits, Kenny Wright
12:30 p.m. – Chad Watson, Christopher Cox, Billy Thompson, Chris Maye

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