E.A. Sports Today

Cole leads in Gadsden

Ty Cole (-5) leads Brennan Clay by a stroke going into Championship Sunday; includes scores and Sunday pairings

Tournament leader Ty Cole (R) visits with Stan Cook, his golf coach at Gadsden State, after Saturday’s round.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN – Ty Cole was driving up the 18th fairway to play his second shot into the final hole Saturday when he spotted a familiar figure off in the distance.

Sitting on a bench up at the practice tee watching the first group of the day finish was the man most responsible for putting Cole on the cart path to success in golf.

Stan Cook always tries to come out to Gadsden Country Club to follow his former players when the Invitational is underway. While he only saw the last few shots Saturday, Cook watched Cole put the wraps on a 2-under-par 70 that was good for the lead going into Championship Sunday.

Cole stands at 5-under 137 after 36 holes, one shot ahead of Brennan Clay, who shot 69 for the second straight day. Four players – first-round co-leader Chad Calvert, Corey Ray, Alex Harper and Logan Archer – are tied for third at 141.

“He’s always here; it’s always cool to see him,” Cole said. “It seems like every time I’m on this property I see him. It’s just cool for him to still be around and taking an interest in his former players.”

Cook signed Cole to a basketball scholarship at Gadsden State, but he also was the golf coach at the school. The plan was for Cole to play both but he tore up his knee that summer. It wasn’t long after “he just kind of sat me down and said I think you’ve got a lot bigger future in golf than you ever would playing basketball.”

Cole played for Cook from 1993-1995 before going on to Shorter, but still considered himself a basketball player who played golf. It was years after college that he honed the ability to hit certain shots, but Cook was instrumental in working on Cole’s course management and the “little stuff you don’t realize at the time how important it’ll end up being.”

Cook even tried reeling in Cole’s fire that reared itself after bogeying that final hole Cook watched.

“Back then, he was always trying to cool everybody down because we were all kids,” Cole recalled. “There were quite a few of us who could have a meltdown and he was always picking and pointing trying to calm some of us down.”

“That’s the competitiveness in him,” Cook said. “He’s a heck of a competitor. I’ve got nothing but positive things to say about him. He’s come a long ways. He was a good player for us; of course, he got better.”

Cole made five birdies in his round Saturday. He played well enough from tee to green, but if he were sharper with the putter he could’ve gone lower. He had three three-putts, two for bogeys, and it got so annoying he putted cross-handed the final three holes of the round.

The putter played a big part in Clay’s rise up the leaderboard.

The former Silver Lakes pro has led the Calhoun County Tour in putting each of the last two years since joining upon regaining his amateur status, but he had 64 putts – tying his two-round Tour high – in his last start, a T-8 finish at Cane Creek.

He had 24 putts in Friday’s championship flight qualifying round and 29 Saturday –
the first day full Tour stats are compiled – with six greens of one putt or fewer. Two of his putts were for birdies on holes he made bogey or worse the day before.

“I remembered something I was not doing and I went to Silver Lakes last week and practiced a little bit and (the light bulb went on),” Clay said. “I missed a couple today, but I still made some very important putts. I hit the ball good, but I made a lot of putts.”

All it took was returning the technique that had gotten away from him.

“My putter’s four degrees, so I have to forward-press a good bit, but at Cane Creek I wasn’t doing it enough so I was mis-hitting putts,” he explained. “I have a black line on my ball; if I mis-hit it, it doesn’t roll straight. When I got to Silver Lakes I forward-pressed more and the line was end over end over end and I was like ‘you idiot, duh.’ That’s what I started doing and (Friday) I made a bunch of long putts. Figuring out the flat stick is the main thing, for sure.”

NOTES: Clay had a chance to tie for the overnight lead, but bogeyed his last hole … Harper was playing in his first individual stroke play tournament in nine years. He made five birdies through 14 holes Saturday. “It’s different,” he said, “because there’s nowhere to hide. It’s all you” … First-round co-leader Daniel Fienemann didn’t hit as many fairways or get as many putts to drop as Friday, but he did score a eagle. The 18-year-old from Newnan, Ga., hit a 3-wood from 240 yards to six feet on 12 … Ray’s card had 4s on nine of his last 10 holes (2-under) … Archer shot 70 despite rinsing four balls.


Saturday’s results
Championship A Flight
Ty Cole 68-69—137
Brennan Clay 69-69—138
Chad Calvert 68-73—141
Corey Ray 70-71—141
Alex Harper 70-71—141
Logan Archer 71-70—141
Daniel Fienemann 68-74—142
Gary Wigington 72-70—142
Clay Guerin 72-71—143

Championship B Flight
Tanner Roberts 73-72—145
Jeremy McGatha 73-72—145
Corbin Holland 75-73—148
Andrew Brooks 76-73—149
Jake Goggans 78-72—150
Christopher Cox 79-72—151
Chad Reavis 78-74—152
Chandler Wilborn 75-77—152

Championship C Flight
Randy Lipscomb 75-78—153
Joey Fortner 74-79—153
Mark Cantrell 75-79—154
Luke Armstrong 77-77—154
Kaine Gibson 78-76—154
Timmy Woodard 78-77—155
Chance Harris 78-78—156
Kenny Wright 78-79—157
Austin Minter 78-80—158
Casey Harmon 76-88—164

First Flight
Zach Contris 71
Dane Moore 72
Will Farley 74
Jeff Chapman 74
Clay Calkins 75
Matt Rogers 75
Cliff Tucker 76
Jeff Hammontree 76
Eric Crabtree 77
Clayton Chandler 77
Steve Lee 77
Tim Fulmer 77

Second Flight
Jason Britton 78
Clay Smith 79
J.T. Wright 79
Clay Jones 79
Donnie Sutton 79
Chase Hollingsworth 80
Eric Haskins 80
Danny Owens 81
Buster Woodard 81
David Lipscomb 81
Danny Dunlap 82

Third Flight
J.T. Cross 83
Dre Davenport 84
Andrew Gunnells 85
Matt Greer 85
Kent Back 86
David Lawrence 86
Kenny Fulmer 87
Don Hill 87
Mark Cotton 89
Brad Knight 94

Senior Flight
Roscoe Johnson 75
Ron McClellan 81
Jim Dunlap 91

Sunday tee times
8 a.m.: Rosco Johnson, Ron McClellan, Jim Dunlap
8:10: Don Hill, Mark Cotton, Brad Knight
8:20: David Lawrence, Kent Back, Kenny Fulmer
8:30: Dre Davenport, Matt Greer, Andrew Gunnels
8:40: David Lipscomb, Danny Dunlap, J.T. Cross
8:50: Eric Haskins, Danny Owens, Buster Woodard
9:00: Clay Jones, J.T. Wright, Chase Hollingsworth
9:10: Jason Britton, Clay Smith, Donnie Sutton
9:20: Clayton Chandler, Steve Lee, Tim Fulmer
9:30: Cliff Tucker, Jeff Hammontree, Eric Crabtree
9:40: Jeff Chapman, Clay Calkins, Matt Rogers
9:50: Zach Contris, Dane Moore, Will Farley
10:00: Kenny Wright, Austin Minter, Casey Harmon
10:10: Kaine Gibson, Timmy Woodard, Chance Harris
10:20: Randy Lopscomb, Mark Cantrell, Luke Armstrong
10:30: Chandler Wilborn, Chad Reavis, Joey Fortner
10:40: Andrew Brooks, Jake Goggans, Chris Cox
10:50: Jeremy McGatha, Tanner Roberts, Corbin Holland
11:00: Daniel Fienemann, Gary Wigington, Clay Guerin
11:10: Corey Ray, Alex Harper, Logan Archer
11:20: Ty Cole, Brennan Clay, Chad Calvert

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