E.A. Sports Today

Cole closing in

County Tour points leader overcomes interesting finish to hold a 2-shot lead in County Championship, edging closer to Player of the Year

If Ty Cole can maintain his position Sunday he will win the County Championship for the third time and County Tour Player of the Year. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Ty Cole stepped up to the 18th tee Saturday at Anniston Municipal Golf Course with what seemed to be confortable holdings on the 82nd Calhoun County Golf Championship lead and potential third Calhoun County Golf Tour Player of the Year in four years.

He was cruising along with a bogey-free 8-under-par for the day, was leading the next best player in his group of contenders by four and his only remaining challenger for Player of the Year by six. Just get it to the house, play well on Sunday and all the rewards of the season would be his.

They still may be, but the day didn’t end without some drama that could have an impact on the final round.

Cole hooked his drive on the par-5 18th out of sight towards Johnston Drive. He hit a provisional drive just in case the original ball was out-of-bounds, and right before impact he felt his left knee give way sending that one careening left. He re-teed again and this time sent one down the fairway.

But when he got in the cart he faced the prospect of hitting 6 in the fairway, maybe be lucky to make 8 and all with a sore knee, an occasional reminder of the career-ending basketball injury that sent him to the game in the first place.

Luckily, he found the first ball – left of the boundary shrubbery, but about six feet from the road – in bounds – and not much prospect to reach the green in 2.

He wound up saving par to complete an 8-under 62 – leaving another birdie putt on the edge of the hole – and leads Adrian Geeting by two. He leads Gary Wigington, the only other player in the field who can win Player of Year, by five. Five players are tied for third at 65. Defending champion Jeremy McGatha is at 66.

“It’s always there,” Cole said. “Sometimes if I get too far out of my feet the knee just gives out and it goes left. I haven’t had an ACL or anything in my knee since I was 19. It’s always in my head, but if I make a good golf swing it’s not an issue, but if I get my weight going left it gives out; there’s just nothing there to hold it.”

Cole was 8-under through 13 holes – hitting every green – and quite honestly could have been 10-under with five holes to play. He left birdie putts on the lip at 9 and 12.

“I kind of had it rolling for 13 holes,” he said. “Eight-under is good, I’ll take it every time I tee it up, but with a few putts that I left right in the throat short it could have been 10, 11, 12. It is what it is.”

Geeting climbed into contention with a round that featured seven birdies, a bogey and a near hole-out for eagle on 6 that blew out the back of the cup and bounced out. When he won in 2001 at 20 he was the youngest winner of the tournament.

“I shot 6-under the first day then, too,” he said. “Then I shot even. It’s not going to be even now. I’ve got to do another 6-under probably. My goal is 10-under for two days, that’s what I figured it’d take. It’s going to be lower than that, it’s going to take 12 or 13 (under) at the least.”

The players at 65 include Jonathan Pate, Tim Turner, Chad Calvert, Ott Chandler and Landon Straub. Pate’s round was bogey-free. Turner had six birdies and a bogey. Calvert birdied his last two holes of climb into the group. Chandler joined them despite parring all three par-5s. Straub had nine birdies, including two runs of four in a row.

NOTES: Don Hill made one of the most spectacular runs of the day. He turned to the front nine in 3-over and then went eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie with chip-ins on 1 and 2 and an adventuresome birdie on 3. He wound up shooting 68. “It’s called luck, that’s all it is,” he said. “That’s the best competition round I’ve ever had. We’ll see what happens tomorrow” … The Cole-Wigington-Calvert group was a best-ball 9-under on the front nine and a combined 13-under on their own ball. Both of the other players in the group said the leaderboard would have looked a little different if Wigington had been sharper with the flat stick … Pate won the Duffer Award with a day’s low 21 putts; he had 15 one-putt greens … Closest to the pin prizes went to Chris Hubbard (No. 2 AM), Jeff Borrelli (No. 2 PM), Jake Goggans (No. 7 AM) and Geeting (No. 7 PM). Turner (AM) and Kaine Gibson (PM) won longest drives (No. 1) … Tyler Teneyck and Kenny Okins were drawn at random to participate in a one-hole putt-off between the morning and afternoon shotgun starts.

(After Saturday’s round)
Ty Cole 1600
Gary Wigington 1288.75
Jeremy McGatha 1065
Brennan Clay 1042.5
Chad Calvert 986.5
Scott Martin 911.25
Caleb Bowen 832.5
Andrew Brooks 812.5
Randy Lipscomb 762.5
Clay Calkins 762.5
Adrian Geeting 750
Logan Archer 650
Matt Rogers 627.5
Chip Howell 540
Daniel Black 525
Jonathan Pate 466.5
(Projected cut for Match Play)
Tanner Wells 465
Landon Straub 461.5
Dalton Chandler 452.5
Chandler Wilborn 447.5
Jake Goggans 425
Jeff Borrelli 402.9
Kaine Gibson 390
Timmy Woodard 377.5
Kenny Wright 372.5
Grant Hockman 365

Adrian Geeting says he has been playing better golf of late and it was reflected in his 64 Saturday. He won the County in 2001 as a 20-year-old. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login