E.A. Sports Today

Kyatt, Cole tied at top

Birdie on 18 pulls Birmingham dentist into a share of the lead with defending champion in Gadsden CC Invitational

Vic Kyatt III heads to the scoring area after closing his 3-under-par 68 Saturday with a birdie on 18 for a share of the lead.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN – There’s no better way to close out a round of golf than with a birdie on the 18th green. It’s especially when nice that birdie gets you a piece of the lead.

Vic Kyatt III was happy to make a birdie on the final hole Saturday that gave him a share of the 36-hole lead in the Gadsden County Club Invitational, but not necessarily for the reason stated above.

“It was just nice to finish with a birdie,” he said. “The only thing special about that putt is it was the longest putt I made today, that’s all there is to it.”

Kyatt’s 12-foot birdie on 18 put a wrap on a 3-under-par 68 that pulled him into a tie with first-round leader Ty Cole. They’re both at 7-under 135 and hold a two-shot lead over Scott Smith.

The birdie just might be the difference in getting him a win.

Tournament organizers said earlier in the week they want to have a Sunday finish, but they may be dodging weather issues in the final round. If weather wipes out the round and a scorecard regression is needed to determine a champion, Kyatt’s birdie on 18 will be a game-winner.

It might be the easiest way to win it.

“There are 18 holes left,” Kyatt said. “All these guys are good, the scores are low. It’s not over ’til we finish 18 tomorrow. It’s going to require playing another good round tomorrow, definitely.”

Cole, the defending champion, fought through a sore neck that led to one bad swing off the tee and some putting problems that crept back into his game to shoot 1-over 72. Smith also shot 68, the low round of the day.

Kyatt, a Birmingham dentist, started the day four shots behind Cole. He scored four birdies over his final 10 holes (9, 12, 16, 18) offset by a bogey on the par-3 15th.

“I kept it front of me most of the round, which was good,” he said. “I didn’t make any long putts, but I didn’t put myself in too much trouble and drove the ball OK, which is important out here.”

Cole’s sore neck caused him to come out his tee shot on the par-3 second hole, sending it out of bounds leading to a double bogey. He had a bounce-back birdie on 3, but later had two three-putt bogeys and missed three putts inside six feet.

He birdied 17 and left a birdie putt on 18 of similar length to playing partner Kyatt’s on line but a few inches short.

“It’s not like I hit it all over the property,” he said. “It’s not like I played bad; I just didn’t hit it close enough to really make anything.

“It seems like every tournament something comes up with my back – back, neck, something. There’s nothing you can do about it, unless you’ve got a chiropractor in your pocket.”

STATE SENIORS: Chip Howell completed his round, but the two other Calhoun County players in the State Senior Am field – Scott Martin and Clay Calkins – were paired together Saturday and still on the course when play was suspended for weather at Hoover Country Club shortly after 3 p.m.

Howell shot 80 and is currently T-25 (159) in the 57-64 division; he’ll be waiting out the cut when play resumes Sunday at 8 a.m. Calkins and Martin were through eight holes when the horn blew. Calkins was 1-over for the day and Martin 2-over, leaving them both 7-over for the tournament in the 50-56 division.

At the end of 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 48 and ties overall and the low 12 and ties in the super senior division. Weather permitting, Round 3 is scheduled to start around noon.

Among those who finished, David Head of Sterrett shot 75 and holds a one-shot lead over Robert Nelson of Fairhope. First-round leader Scot Schroder of Hartselle shot 80 and fell back to 147, but if weather wipes out Sunday and scores revert to the opening round, Schroder would have the victory.

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