E.A. Sports Today

Cole survives at Silver Lakes

Champion wins his fourth Silver Lakes title in five years, takes lead on tough scoring day with three straight birdies to open back nine

Chandler Wilborn (L) moves in to address his putt on the Mindbreaker 9 Sunday. Wilborn and Jeremy McGatha (C) shared the lead on the 10th tee. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

SILVER LAKES – The first three times Ty Cole won the Silver Lakes Championship he did it playing “pretty good golf.” The fourth he won Sunday was more a matter of survival.

Cole won the RTJ Trail event for the fourth time in five years and scored his third Calhoun County Golf Tour win this season when he edged Sunny King Charity Classic partner Gary Wigington by a shot.

Cole shot a final-round 72 on Sunday’s 6,598-yard Championship Flight layout for a two-day 3-under-par 141. Wigington, the first-round leader, shot 75. Gage Smith, Chandler Wilborn and Jeremy McGatha shared third at 145.

Gary Wigington rallied back into contention after back-to-back double bogeys on the front nine and had a 12-foot birdie putt on the final hole to force a playoff. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

No one in the championship flight posted a red number. Cole and Championship B flight winner Andrew Brooks and runner-up Brennan Clay had the best rounds of the day.

“The three years I won before I played pretty good golf; this was absolute survival,” Cole said. “Everybody struggled today. We all struggled today. It was just survival.”

Does that make this one more satisfying or memorable than the others, then?

“Heck no,” he said. “I want a seven-shot victory. I want a cruise-control win. I don’t like sweating it out. Anybody will take a win anytime they can get one, but it was … today was survival.”

It was his 12th win all-time on the Calhoun County Tour. Wigington, the all-time Tour leader in wins (13), was a runner-up for the 20th time; he had a 12-foot birdie putt on 18 that would have forced a playoff.

There was a lot of carnage early. The final foursome was a combined 17-over-par on the Mindbreaker front nine, completely flipping the leaderboard at the turn.

McGatha and Wilborn, playing in the group in front of the leaders, shared the lead a two-shot lead on the 10th tee. Wilborn fell out by making an 8 from the deep rough on the hole. McGatha saved par and the lead with a long putt there, but he lost traction with three bogeys on the back.

Down the stretch it became a head-to-head battle between the Sunny King Classic partners. Cole surged to the top of the leaderboard with three straight birdies to start the Backbreaker back nine. Wigington bounced back into contention after back-to-back double bogeys to close the front nine and got within one when he nearly holed out from the fairway on 16 (Backbreaker 6).

Cole appeared in position to close it out on the next hole as he stared down an eight-foot eagle putt and Wigington below the green with his second shot. Both players walked away with birdies.

They both hit sharp iron shots into the next green and both barely missed their birdie putts to keep the margin at one.

Cole’s tee ball on the final hole rolled just into the hazard right of the fairway and all he could did was wedge it back into play. Wigington also was right of the fairway and while he thought he hit a good approach the ball finished below the elevated green.

Cole pitched onto the back of the green. Wigington thought his pitch would leave him a makable birdie putt, but the ball didn’t release and left him about 12 feet short instead of the more desirable kick-in with a chance to extend the day. Cole’s downhill birdie putt stopped midway to the hole and he finished to apply pressure to Wigington’s finish.

“It wasn’t anything malicious, but I would have expected him or anybody else to do the same thing,” Cole said. “We’re big buddies, but we’re both competitors.”

If Wigington makes it, the tournament goes to extra holes, so there was a lot on the line. While he was in the middle of his backstroke a sudden commotion from open play on the adjacent Heartbreaker tee box broke his concentration and the putt missed the hole.

It was enough of a disruption everyone around the final tournament green looked disapprovingly in the direction of the noise. Cole said something similar happened to him during Saturday’s opening round.

“I heard it and it does mess you up, but when I watched the ball roll out I misread it again,” Wigington said. “The ball was going right up the hill and I was playing right edge, so I probably missed it anyway because it was misread. But you do hear something and it does mess with you a little bit. I might have hit a better putt, but I don’t know if I’d have made it because I think I had it read wrong.”

NOTES: Cole also won the tournament in 2014, 2015 and 2016 … Smith climbed the leaderboard with a birdie-birdie-par-birdie finish. The incoming Valdosta State freshman from LaFayette, Ga., didn’t make his first birdie of the day until the one on 15 (Backbreaker 6) that started the run. He made five birdies Saturday … Chase Thomas bounced back from his opening-round 92 to shoot 84 and finish second in the third flight … There were only three rounds under par all day – all in the players’ flights. First flight winner Link Casey had the best round, a 66 from 5,871 yards that featured six birdies and an eagle. … The course yielded 281 birdies and six eagles over the weekend, but also 285 double bogeys or “others” … Silver Lakes is part of the Sunny King rota and is offering unlimited practice-round availability for registered tournament players … The next event on the Calhoun County Golf Tour calendar is the Pine Hill Invitational July 21-22. Entry fee is $100.

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

Championship A Flight

Ty Cole 69-72—141
Gary Wigington 67-75—142
Gage Smith 71-74—145
Chandler Wilborn 70-75—145
Jeremy McGatha 71-74—145
Daniel Black 70-76—146
Alex Harper 73-76—149
Harrison Hughston 73-76—149
Randy Lipscomb 69-82—151
Scott Martin 73-78—151
Jake Goggans 72-81—153

Championship B Flight
Andrew Brooks 78-72—150
Brennan Clay 78-72—150
Dane Moore 75-75—150
Chris Cox 75-78—153
Keaton Stanfield 74-79—153
Cole Contris 78-75—153
Chase Hollingsworth 76-77—153
Matt Miller 76-78—154
Doug East 78-77—155
Jay Austin 77-78—155
Jordan Carter 78-79—157
Chad Calvert 76-81—157
Luke Armstrong 74-88—162
Mike Hughston 78-86—164
Dillon Davis 78-88—166
Jordan Evans 89-86—175
David Beard 78-WD

First Flight
Link Casey 79-66—145
Randy Reaves 79-67—146
Tanner Wells 79-73—152
Clayton Chandler 82-71—153
Graham Morrow 79-76—155
Austin Minter 83-73—156
Chad Reavis 83-73—156
Daily Thomas 83-74—157
Jeff Noah 81-77—158
Bill Gilchrist 81-78—159
David Sanders 82-77—159
Shane Chappell 80-80—160
Tyler Dopson 83-78—161
Lee Waldron 80-82—162
Matt Rogers 83-79—162
John Turnipseed 83-81—164
Jake Nichols 79-85–164
Kaine Gibson 80-85—165

Second Flight
Jared Driggers 86-77—163
Derek Sewell 85-78—163
Matt Burns 84-80—164
Billy Thompson 84-82—166
Scott Hyten 84-83—167
Tim Steward 89-79—168
Blake Erwin 86-83—169
Jarrod Smith 86-86—172
Jerry Kemp 89-83—172
Casey Harmon 88-85—173
J.T. Wright 86-88—173
Josh Hicks 84-91—175
Jason Simmons 85-90—175
Marty Branson 89-88—177
Kenny Wright 86-WD

Third Flight
Matt Greer 91-80—171
Chase Thomas 92-84—176
Andrew Gunnels 91-86—177
Kenny Fulmer 95-82—177
Rick Marini 91-86—177
Kyle Rosenbauer 92-89—181
Ross Summerford 97-86—183
Ryan Summerford 105-81—186
Chad Maples 95-91—186
Kelly Rogers 104-94—198
Steve Williams 105-96—201
Keith Hutcheson 118-109—227
Craig Graves 90-WD
Todd Gober 97-WD

Gage Smith, an incoming freshman at Valdosta State, made a late charge to pull into a tie for third. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/GungHo Photos)

Ty Cole 1350
Gary Wigington 1142.5
Brennan Clay 982.5
Jeremy McGatha 927.5
Chad Calvert 775
Randy Lipscomb 667.5
Logan Archer 650
Andrew Brooks 647.5
Caleb Bowen 530
Scott Martin 475
Matt Rogers 467.5
Chandler Wilborn 447.5
Clay Calkins 435
Jake Goggans 420
Daniel Black 395
Adrian Geeting 375
Kenny Wright 372.5
Alex Harper 362.5
Luke Armstrong 360
Chris Cox 335
Kaine Gibson 315
Tanner Wells 307.5
Jacob LeCroy 300
Kevin Daugherty 295
Chip Howell 277.5
Chad Reavis 270
Layton Bussey 245
Dalton Chandler 242.5
Chase Hollingsworth 237.5
Jeff Borrelli 235
Dane Moore 232.5
Dustin Travis 230
Timmy Woodard 217.5
Austin Minter 215
John Lindsey 205
Steve Lee 195
Gage Smith 195
Kent Back 177.5
Clay Guerin 175
Taylor Jones 170
Corey Ray 167.5
Harrison Hughston 165
Daily Thomas 165
Chance Harris 160
Landon Straub 155
Grant Hockman 155
Tanner Roberts 155
Corbin Holland 152.5
Cypress Hathorn 152.5
Graham Morrow 150
Max Basler 150
Daniel Fienemann 142.5
Richard Starling 140
David Lawrence 140
Walt Drake 135
Eric Haskins 135
Tim Fulmer 135
Matthew Burrow 132.5
Heath Walker 130
Rick Taylor 127.5
Derek Sewell 120
Jake Nichols 117.5
Randy Archer 115
Eric Howle 112.5
Jimmy Ulrey 112.5
Mike Granato 112.5
Cole Contris 107.5
Josh Hicks 107.5
Ron Fleming 102.5
Keaton Stanfield 100
Jerome Wilson 92.5
Joey Fortner 92.5
Seth Collett 92.5
Blake Erwin 90
Jared Driggers 90
Kevin Rogers 85
Matt Miller 85
David Beard 85
Jim Dunlap 85
David Sanders 82.5
Norris Ray 80
Will Broome 80
Ryan Huff 77.5
Doug East 77.5
Jay Austin 75
Keith Hutchinson 75
Jerry Kemp 75
Eric Lett 70
Janson Wilborn 70
Jordan Carter 65
Scott Sikes 60
Mark Cantrell 60
Casey Harmon 60
Jason Simmons 55
Scotty Grimes 55
Vince Floyd 55
Mark Highland 50
Mike Hughston 50
Marty Branson 47.5
Keith Raisanen 40
Mike Lett 40
Tyler Dopson 37.5
Tyler Teneyck 35
Dillon Davis 32.5
Jono Waugh 32.5
Don Springer 32.5
Clayton Chandler 25
Link Casey 25
John McKenzie 25
Ryan Summerford 25
Wayne Hudgins 20
Jason Britton 20
Zach Contris 15
Trey Stone 12.5
Randy Reaves 10
David Martin 10
Kyle Rosenbauer 10
Tyler Huckaby 10
Rocco D’Gomez 10
Eric Crabtree 10
Jeff Bain 10
Mark Cotton 10
Jimmy Jackson 7.5
Kelly Rogers 5
T.J. McGatha 5
Scott Hyten 5
Will Farley 5
Clark Cunningham 5
Mark Gaines 5
Jarrod Smith 5
Cliff Tucker 5
Jeff Hammontree 5
Jeff Noah 5
Hank Smith 5
Tim Steward 5
Fran Doyle 5
Larry Cunningham 5
Bill Gilchrist 5
Clay Smith 5
Jeff Chapman 5
Ron McKinney 5
Shane Chappell 5
Chase Thomas 5
Ron Seckinger 5
Kenny Fulmer 5
Lee Waldron 5
Aaron Jones 5
Andrew Gunnells 5
Billy Thompson 5
Clay Jones 5
Don Hill 5
J.T. Wright 5
Matt Greer 5
Roscoe Johnson 5
Brad Baird 5
Amado Ortiz 5
Brad Knight 5
Brian Woodfin 5
Bruce Collins 5
Buster Woodard 5
Charley Estes 5
Charlie Smith 5
Chris Sanford 5
Danny Dunlap 5
Danny Owens 5
David Lipscomb 5
Don Whitlow 5
Donnie Sutton 5
Dre Davenport 5
Gary Wilborn 5
J.T. Cross 5
Jeremy Willis 5
Kobie Webb 5
Kyle Daugherty 5
Lamar Ward 5
Landon Holley 5
Phillip Hunt 5
Rob Svensen 5
Ron McClellan 5
Tom Roberts 5
Chad Maples 5
Craig Graves 5
John Turnipseed 5
Matt Burns 5
Rick Marini 5
Ross Summerford 5
Steve Williams 5
Todd Gober 5

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