E.A. Sports Today

Reunited, and it feels so good

Sapp has a doubly enjoyable day at Cane Creek; takes the pro lead in tournament, gets his missing 5-iron back

Kyle Sapp, Gardendale 69-68—137
Alex Tull, Corinth, Miss. 69-69—138
Wilson McDonald, Birmingham 71-67—138
Jared Davis, Tifton, Ga. 72-68—140
Brady Hollenbacher, Fleming Is., Fla. 69-73—142

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Kyle Sapp was reunited with his 5-iron Saturday afternoon and when it was returned to him after the second round of the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational, the joy – maybe relief is the better word — was unmistakable.

The beloved mashie had been missing in action since Thursday. Sapp could have used it each of the last two days of the tournament, but the satisfaction comes from knowing it will be in his bag Sunday as he tries to win the pro division for the third time.

He is currently third overall after 36 holes, three shots behind amateur leader Gary Wigington, but he’s the low pro after a 4-under-par 68 for a 7-under 137 total. The 32-year-old Gardendale pro leads Alex Tull of Corinth, Miss., and Wilson McDonald of Birmingham by a stroke in the race for the big check.

“Where have you been?” Sapp asked when the club was presented to him in the grille after his round. “It could’ve been bad (having lost it forever).”

The mystery of the missing mashie began Friday morning when Sapp was putting his tournament set together and there was no Titleist 710 MB 5-iron to be found. He shot 69 without it Friday and followed with another under-par round Saturday to grab the pro lead.

Where a spectator making a drink run found the club Saturday was an unlikely place: in the high grass behind a tree between the 14th tee and the clubhouse. It wasn’t a place somebody would throw a club in anger and certainly not a place you’d play from.

When the club was brought into the grille and announced as found, a friend of Sapp’s immediately recognized it as his. When the former UAB golfer saw the general area where the iron was found, he figured he lost it hitting a bump driving back from hitting balls on the range.

He was bummed it was missing because “it’s a very important club, a staple in my bag” — his 200-205 yard go-to club – but It wasn’t like he really missed it this week. He carries five wedges every year he plays here, so two irons get left somewhere – normally to be found again — but there were a few instances he could have used it this week.

Like on the two front nine par-3s Saturday, where he could have played the perfect yardage on No. 3 and a choked-down cut to a right pin on No. 6; he got up and down for par on 3 and two-putted for par on 6. And maybe on all four par-5s he parred on Friday.

Truth be told, the way Sapp feels when he plays here, he probably could’ve gotten around with a bunch of 7-irons in his bag. He won here in 2012 and 2015 and always puts it on his schedule.

He made two bogeys Saturday, but offset them with six birdies — three on the five holes coming back across the road from The Hollow.

“I already felt like the course fit me pretty well based on history, and when they take out a couple thousand trees, all of a sudden it fits a guy like me even better,” Sapp said. “Just when I thought the course couldn’t fit me much better they made it much better.

“I very much have a comfort level around this place.”

He’s a lot more comfortable now that he has one of his favorite clubs back in his possession.

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