E.A. Sports Today

Growing to love it

Cole goes wire-to-wire to win second straight Dub Ellis Invitational crown, challengers just couldn’t apply enough pressure

Past champion Chad Calvert (L) and Brennan Clay came closest to unseating champion Ty Cole (cover). Below, Clay pitches onto a green. (Photos by Shannon Fagan)

By Shannon Fagan
Special to East Alabama Sports Today

CENTRE – Don’t look now, but Ty Cole is getting back in his golf groove again.

After a torrid run on the local circuit last year, Cole has now won back-to-back local events.

He won the Sunny King Charity Classic with Gary Wigington for the second year in a row last weekend. Then on Sunday, he completed a wire-to-wire run to win his second straight Dub Ellis Invitational at Cherokee County Country Club.

Cole charged out to a four-shot lead with a tournament-record-tying 10-under-par 61 on Saturday, then on Sunday closed it out with a 68. Not a bad way to celebrate his 42nd birthday, which was earlier in the week.

“To come up here and go back-to-back on a course I traditionally I don’t play well on, and to shoot 61 two years in a row in the first round, it’s nice,” Cole said. “I’ve been playing in this invitational since I was 16, but I just never did well. To see it come around now that I’m older, you appreciate it a little more. I told (outgoing club manager) Steve Baker that Centre is starting to grow on me a little bit.

“The first day I hit it really well. I had a lot of two-foot birdie putts. I didn’t have to stress a lot. I made two putts outside of three feet all day. If I make some of the five, six, seven and eight footers, I’m looking at 57, 58, 59, and I’m looking at something really, really special, but I’ll take 61 every time I tee it up.”

Cole’s two-day total 13-under 129 was four shots better than 2015 champion Chad Calvert and five ahead of Brennan Clay. Jeremy McGatha and Adrian Geeting tied for fourth at 141.

“The golf course was totally different (on Sunday),” Cole said. “(On Saturday), we played the white tees and it wasn’t quite as wet. The golf course was a lot shorter. A lot of the championship guys were hitting driver and wedge to every single hole. You back up on the blue tees (Sunday) and it’s a totally different golf course. You’re not hitting those same clubs into the greens. It’s just a totally different golf course going from a white tee to a blue tee setup. I like it and they do a great job with that.”

Calvert applied some pressure early, getting to 3-under for the day through seven holes, but fell back off the pace with a double bogey on 8.

“After hole 8 Ty just put it on cruise control,” Calvert said.

“When you’re down four shots like we were you have to put pressure on the leader to make it interesting, but we just didn’t,” Clay said. “We played decent but Ty is a great player and you’ve got to play better to push him to hit good shots with the lead.”

Skylar Dennis won the first flight. Brad Baire took the second flight in a playoff with Seth Dodd. Chris McHugh won the third flight.

New to the tournament this year was two senior divisions. John Stanley won the Senior A flight and Johnny Neyman took the Senior B flight.

A total of 59 golfers competed in this year’s invitational, which was Baker’s last as club manager.

“I was here for the first one,” Baker said. “It may have started the first year I was a member (1974). It was a three-day tournament at that time. It happened over Labor Day weekend, and I remember playing in it. I think I’ve been a part of every one since except one year when I had a bad back. I was on the tournament committee but I didn’t get to play. I’ve been a part of every one since then in some capacity.

“I feel like I’m leaving it in good shape. I don’t know who’s going to take over, but the tournaments have been successful over the years.”

At Cherokee County CC

Final scores

Championship flight
Ty Cole 61-68—129
Chad Calvert 65-68—133
Brennan Clay 65-69—134
Jeremy McGatha 67-74—141
Adrian Geeting 68-73—141
Nick Sawyer 68-74—142
Jake Minnix 69-75—144

First flight
Skylar Dennis 71-68—139
Jordan Bethune 72-68—140
Matt Rogers 75-67—142
Chris Maye 73-74—147
Graham Morrow 73-75—148
Walt Drake 73-75—148
Sid Garrett 74-74—148
Lee Morgan 75-74—149
Tim Hill 74-77—151
Cory Tanner 75-77—152
Scott Hays 75-78—153
Dustin Underwood 75-79—154
Frank Brady 73-83—156

Second flight
Brad Baire 76-73—149
Seth Dodd 76-73—149
Mark Still 76-75—151
Mark Sawyer 76-78—154
David Garrett 76-80—156
Allen Keen 80-77—157
Daily Thomas 80-77—157
Luke Armstrong 81-78—159
Nick Wheeler 81-78—159
Jeff Woodall 78-82—160
Russell Chambers 83-78—161
Daniel Whittaker 79-85—164
Caleb Morrow 81-87—168
Derek Epperson 83-88—171
Tim Woodward 77-WD
Terry Tallent 83-WD

Third flight
Chris McHugh 84-79—163
Seth Collette 85-82—167
Jeff Keen 84-83—167
Scotty McFry 85-82—167
Danny Owens 87-81—168
Kenny Johnson 89-81—170
Scott Petty 90-81—171
Steve Thomas 84-87—171
Clay Allen 90-88—178
Cason Campbell 87-94—181
Tim Smith 97-90—187
Kelly Rogers 95-93—188
Dale Owens 85-WD

Senior Flight 1
John Stanley 66-74—140
Mike Granato Sr. 70-72—142
T.J. McGatha 72-79—151
Bobby Pope 70-WD

Senior Flight 2
Johnny Neyman 81-76—157
Phillip Hicks 81-77—158
Billy Mack Garrett 80-81—161
Wayne Still 87-88—175
Frank Cobb 96-95—191

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