E.A. Sports Today

County Tour expands

The Calhoun County Golf Tour has extended its footprint with a new tournament and opened its doors to a wealth of players

By East Alabama Sports Today

After 11 years playing within the friendly confines of its home county, the Calhoun County Golf Tour is spreading its wings with an eye toward bringing more players to the tee box.

For the first time, the Gadsden Country Club Invitational will be a part of the County Tour schedule. It will be the third of the seven for-points events, played May 18-20 and the first of back-to-back three-day events on the schedule.

The event regularly draws a strong contingent of Calhoun County Tour players and since its return to the state golfing calendar it seemed a natural fit.

“It’s a good addition,” Tour director Matt Rogers said. “Good course. Good tournament.”

“Our two majors are the County and Anniston Country Club,” added director Jeremy McGatha. “Adding Gadsden is like throwing the TPC in there, the fifth (PGA Tour) ‘major.’ Winning that tournament is like winning a major, just like TPC Sawgrass.”

Matt Ganshaw, the pro/general manager at Gadsden CC, has watched with envy as the Calhoun County Tour established itself on the local golf scene. He jumped at the chance to be included.

“We’re very excited and very grateful to be in it,” Ganshaw said. “We got this event cranked back up in 2016 after a three-year layoff and we want to try to get it built back to one of the premier invitationals in the state.

“I’ve always been envious of it. Before here, I was at Twin Bridges and saw what was going on with the Tour and always thought we could be a part of it there. I just think it’s great, seeing how it’s grown throughout the years. I think (being a part of it now) is a win-win for everybody.”

The early reaction on social media indicates it’s a popular move.

The Gadsden dates fall on the traditional window of the Wilfred Galbraith Anniston CC Invitational. To accommodate, ACC has moved its showcase event to June 1-3. The date also avoids conflicts with Memorial Day weekend and Mother’s Day.

“I didn’t want to conflict with them because I imagine we’re going to have some of the same players,” ACC pro/general manager Steven Driggers said. “It’s actually, quite honestly, probably a little bit better for the golf course. It gives us a week or two of (additional) growing weather.”

Another major change coming to the Tour this year, all players who compete in a Tour event will be eligible for player points. Crediting the support of the Tour’s three sponsors – East Alabama Sports Today, Calhoun Insurance Pro and Extreme & Gamecock Auto Spa – Tour officials have rescinded the annual registration fee and opened the tee box to anyone who plays in an event. Still, only a player’s top five finishes will count toward the overall points standings for Player of the Year.

The tournament schedule kicks off with the County Two-Man at Silver Lakes March 24-25. The annual Tour Awards dinner recognizing 2017 Player of the Year Dalton Chandler and all the Tour statistical champions will be March 24 at Heroes American Grille.

The for-points portion begins with the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge April 21-22. The other points events are the Cane Creek Invitational (May 5-6), RTJ-Silver Lakes Championship (June 23-24), Pine Hill Invitational (July 21-22) and 82nd Calhoun County Championship at Anniston Municipal (Aug. 11-12).

“That’s seven pretty danged good events,” McGatha said. “And the spread of the events seems as perfect as it has ever been.”

The Sunny King Charity Classic is July 6-8 and the Buddy Moore Tournament at The Hill is Aug. 25-26.

As usual, the top 16 players in the Tour points standings at the end of the County Championship will advance to the County Match Play Championship, which once again will be played over the course of one weekend on a date to be determined.

2018 Schedule

March 24-25 – County Two-Man, Silver Lakes (Scramble/Scamble)
April 21-22 – Oxford City Championship, Cider Ridge
May 5-6 – Cane Creek GC Invitational
May 18-20 – Gadsden CC Invitational
June 1-3 – Anniston CC Invitational
June 23-24 – RTJ-Silver Lakes Championship
July 13-15 – Sunny King Charity Classic
July 21-22 – Pine Hill CC Invitational
Aug. 11-12 – Calhoun County Championship, Anniston Municipal
Aug. 25-25 – Buddy Moore Tournament

Tournament organizers, to have your event included on the East Alabama Sports Today master golf schedule, contact Al Muskewitz at almusky@aol.com

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