E.A. Sports Today

Matching up

Calhoun County Match Play Championship will start, end this weekend; top seed, 2 others withdraw, leaving No. 2 Wigington top player in field

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

There is no guarantee of who will win the Calhoun County Match Play Championship this weekend at Anniston Municipal GC, but one thing is guaranteed – the event will have its champion at the end of the weekend.

For the first time in six years the reward tournament for the Calhoun County Golf Tour will be played over one weekend instead of being spread out at the convenience of the competitors.

In recent years the tournament concluded in late fall and, in the case of the 2016 event, the Thursday after the 2017 County Championship.

“That can’t happen again,” Tour director Jeremy McGatha said.

“By Sunday we’ll know who the Match Play champion is, and for the 2017 awards banquet in March everything is done and nothing is hanging.”

Of course, nothing is perfect and scheduling conflicts have altered the pairings. For the third year in a row, the Calhoun County Player of the Year and Match Play top seed will not participate in the tournament.

Dalton Chandler ran away with the Tour points championship this season, winning four times, but a conflict will keep him from playing here this weekend. That leaves No. 2 Gary Wigington as the highest seed in the field. No. 12 Grant Hockman and No. 15 Frank Brady also had conflicts that will keep them from playing.

Jonathan Pate, who finished 17th in the points standings (7.5 points shy of the 16th qualifying spot), replaces Hockman; No. 20 Austin Minter replaces Brady; and No. 21 Kelly Rogers replaces Chandler. Instead of reshuffling the field, Tour officials filled the spots with the next available player when the vacancy opened, so since Hockman was the first to withdraw Pate was the first to fill the spot.

“Not happy to get in on a technicality, but I only played four tournaments this year,” Minter said. “If I played my usual six I’m confident I would have been in the top 16.

“But I like to support the County Tour and if they ask me to fill in I’m happy to help out.”

Pate will play fifth-seed Ty Cole, the top seed each of the last two seasons who opted not to play, Rogers will play No. 16 Tanner Wells and Minter will play Wigington.

“It’s a long shot, but I got a shot,” Pate said. “I feel like I would have qualified easily if I could have played in the county championship; I think I was around 12th going in (actually, tenth, 155 points ahead of the cutline).

“I enjoy playing competitive golf, but endeavor to put God first, which leaves me out of about half of the events on the tour. I had some pastoral training going on during the weekend of the county championship that knocked me out of playing. I will try not to be an easy out. I will give it my best shot and go for a monumental upset.”

Saturday’s matches

Buddy Moore Bracket
8 a.m. – (21) Kelly Rogers vs. (16) Tanner Wells
8:08 – (8) Chad Calvert vs. (9) Adrian Geeting
8:16 – (5) Ty Cole vs. (17) Jonathan Pate
8:24 – (4) Brennan Clay vs. (13) Billy Thompson

Chris Banister Bracket
8:32 – (3) Jeremy McGatha vs. (14) Clay Calkins
8:40 – (6) Andrew Brooks vs. (11) Matt Rogers
8:48 – (7) Caleb McKinney vs. (10) Caleb Bowen
8:56 – (2) Gary Wigington vs. (20) Austin Minter

Quarterfinals matches to follow when players become available

Sunday’s matches
8 a.m. – Buddy Moore Bracket finals
8:08 – Chris Banister Bracket finals

Championship match, 11:30 a.m. (approx.)

2010 – Ott Chandler def. Janson Wilborn
2011 – Matt Rogers def. Frank Brady
2012 – Gary Wigington def. Ott Chandler
2013 – Gary Wilborn def. Grant Hockman
2014 – Andrew Brooks def. Gary Wigington
2015 – Caleb McKinney def. Kevin Daugherty
2016 – Gary Wigington def. Dalton Chandler

On the cover: Andrew Brooks points out his line on the scoreboard after winning the 2014 Match Play Championship.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login