E.A. Sports Today

Big month ahead

Martin, Wigington share 36-hole lead in Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational, LeCroy one back at start of a potentially life-changing month; includes scores, pairings

Scott Martin pulls this shot out of trouble on the 18th and hits the green to set up a birdie that gave him a share of the second-round lead. On the cover, Jacob LeCroy (left) and co-leaders Martin and Gary Wigington (center) wait their turns on the 16th green. (All photos by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jacob LeCroy has a busy month ahead. It could be life-changing.

It’s been said the summer between a junior golfer’s junior and senior year in high school is the most important to a player’s future. It’s the time most will get the hardest look from college coaches and the players who make the most hay while the summer sun is out have the best chance to hold the best prospects.

Jacob LeCroy has lined up an ambitious June schedule that is expected to get him in front of numerous college coaches.

That’s what this June is all about for the 18-year-old LeCroy, who just completed his junior year at Donoho. He got an early jump on a big summer when he won the AHSAA Class 1A-2A boys state championship last month in Muscle Shoals with two rounds under par, but it really gets going in earnest these next 28 days as he navigates an intense schedule of six tournaments that collectively has the potential to change his life.

The gauntlet started with this week’s Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational at Anniston Country Club, his home course, and so far it’s been a smooth departure. He shot 2-under 68 for the second day in a row Saturday and is just one shot behind co-leaders Scott Martin and Gary Wigington going into Championship Sunday of the most prestigious individual championship on the county golf calendar.

“It’s going to be a good summer; I’ve got a lot going on,” LeCroy said. “I hope I can just go out here and have a really good summer, shoot a lot of rounds under par. I know I can do it. I just have to go out there and do it.”

By the time July 4 gets here, he will have played in the Pigeon Dove Junior at Musgrove CC in Jasper Monday and Tuesday for an exemption into the IMG Academy Junior World at Torrey Pines, an event he played in 2015; the Alabama State Amateur that starts Thursday at Pine Tree CC in Birmingham, qualifying through his state tournament victory; the Southern Junior in Choudrant, La., June 13-15; the Bud Burns Dixie Junior June 18-20 at Selma CC; and, finally, the Future Masters in Dothan June 23-30.

“All the tournaments he plays in are all on the radar of every college coach; as good as he is, a bunch are probably looking at him already,” said former Silver Lakes pro Brennan Clay, who not that long ago was having the same type experience. “You play in good stuff like that … every college coach looks at that, doesn’t matter if it’s JSU or Alabama; it’s huge. If he plays good in stuff like that it’ll set a good pathway to pick where he wants to go.”

“If I were him, I’d love it,” Wigington said. “I’d love to be in the position to play and show what you can do. I’d love to play in a tournament every day when I was that age when you’re hitting it that good. I think it’s a very important stretch, but as good as he’s playing, as good a short game he’s got, he’s got a lot to give somebody. I think he’s going to get more offers than what he thinks he is.”

LeCroy realizes the key to any success he enjoys during this pivotal month will be his putter. He made six birdies Saturday and has 10 in two rounds of the tournament. The birdies Saturday were offset by bogeys on the course’s four hardest holes, three of which he used the putter three times to get home, but with that exception he was pleased with his day. Earlier in the week he shot rounds of 66 and 64.

“I’ve just got to come out here and get the putter going tomorrow, that’s all it is,” he said. “The biggest change from me not playing good to playing good has been putting.”

As for the co-leaders, Wigington’s ball striking was “probably the best I’ve hit it in a while.” He hit 17 greens and shot the best round of the day, a 4-under 66. He was 4-under for the day after his third straight birdie at No. 13, but that was his last birdie of the day as he finished with five straight pars.

Martin entered the day with a two-shot lead, but needed a spectacular shot from off the 18th fairway to set up a birdie that gave him a share of the lead at day’s end. His only bad drive of the round left him in the right rough, 193 yards from the hole with a tough left to right path to the green. He hit a hard cut with a hybrid that found the putting surface and he made the putt to pick up a shot.

Chandler climbed back into the final pairing after a tough front nine with a birdie on 15 and an eagle on the par-5 17th.

NOTES: Caleb Bowen shot 69 and moved into the lead of the Championship B Flight. All three players flights will start the day Sunday with ties for their respective leads. … While Matt Rogers battled through a bug to shoot 75 in Championship B, his daughter Bel was advancing through local Drive, Chip & Putt qualifying at Silver Lakes. Bel finished a strong third in the girls 12-13 division, winning the chipping segment and finishing second in putting (proving the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree), and advances to the next round at RTJ-Capitol Hill.

Andrew Brooks (R) and Ty Cole both shot 68 and passed seven players to move into a tie for fifth going into the final round.

To view a photo gallery from the round visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Saturday’s scores
Championship A Flight
Scott Martin 66-69—135
Gary Wigington 69-66—135
Jacob LeCroy 68-68—136
Dalton Chandler 68-70—138
Ty Cole 72-68—140
Andrew Brooks 72-68—140
Max Basler 72-69—141
Brennan Clay 70-71—141
Cypress Hathorn 71-73—144
Kevin Daugherty 73-72—145
Eric Howle 73-73—146
Clay Calkins 72-75—147
Chip Howell 72-76—148
Logan Archer 70-79—149
Chad Calvert 71-78—149
Landon Straub 73-80—153

Player 444 334 444 34 453 333 354 36 70

Wigington 443 344 434 33 442 344 354 33 66
S. Martin 425 244 454 35 453 444 253 34 69
J. LeCroy 453 335 345 35 344 344 344 33 68
Chandler 545 334 544 37 453 443 334 33 70

Championship B Flight
Caleb Bowen 73-69—142
Dustin Travis 73-70—143
Ryan Huff 73-72—145
Matthew Burrow 75-71—146
Chad Reavis 75-72—147
Matt Rogers 73-75—148
Grant Hockman 77-71—148
Layton Bussey 74-74—148
Jeremy McGatha 75-74—149
Chandler Wilborn 75-75—150
David Sanders 75-75—150
Kenny Wright 77-76—153
Randy Archer 75-78—153
Jason Britton 75-81—156
Keith Raisanen 77-80—157
Tyler Huckaby 77-80—157
Tyler Dopson 77-82—159

First Flight
Charlie Smith 71
Daniel Black 71
Gary Wilborn 72
Chase Hollingsworth 73
David Lawrence 73
Chance Harris 75
Don Springer 76
Randy Lipscomb 76
Tanner Wells 76
Timmy Woodard 76

Second Flight
Hank Smith 77
Luke Armstrong 77
Chris Sanford 78
Don Hill 79
Graham Morrow 79
Rob Svensen 79
John Lindsey 80
Kevin Rogers 80
Tom Roberts 80
Kenny Fulmer 81
Will Broome Jr. 82

Third Flight
Amado Ortiz 84
Eric Lett 84
Taylor Jones 84
Jono Waugh 85
Trey Stone 85
Brian Woodfin 87
Mike Lett 87
Jimmy Ulrey 88
Aaron Jones 90
Don Whitlow 92
Kelly Rogers 96

Sunday’s tee times
8 a.m. – Jimmy Ulrey, Aaron Jones, Don Whitlow, Kelly Rogers
8:10 – Trey Stone, Jono Waugh, Mike Lett, Brian Woodfin
8:20 – Will Broome Jr., Etic Lett, Taylor Jones, Amado Ortiz
8:30 – John Lindsey, Kevin Rogers, Tom Roberts, Kenny Fulmer
8:40 – Chris Sanford, Don Hill, Rob Svensen, Graham Morrow
8:50 – Don Springer, Tanner Wells, Luke Armstrong, Hank Smith
9:00 – David Lawrence, Chance Harris, Timmy Woodard, Randy Lipscomb
9:10 – Charlie Smith, Daniel Black, Gary Wilborn, Chase Hollingsworth
9:45 – Tyler Huckaby, Keith Raisanen, Tyler Dopson
9:55 – Jason Britton, Randy Archer, Kenny Wright
10:05 – Jeremy McGatha, Chandler Wilborn, David Sanders
10:15 – Chad Reavis, Matt Rogers, Grant Hockman, Layton Bussey
10:25 – Caleb Bowen, Dustin Travis, Ryan Huff, Matthew Burrow
10:35 – Chip Howell, Chad Calvert, Logan Archer, Landon Straub
10:45 – Cypress Hathorn, Kevin Daugherty, Eric Howle, Clay Calkins
10:55 – Ty Cole, Andrew Brooks, Brennan Clay, Max Basler
11:05 – Gary Wigington, Scott Martin, Jacob LeCroy, Dalton Chandler

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