E.A. Sports Today

County Tour expands

A new course, changing dates highlight the 2019 Calhoun County Golf Tour schedule

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
The Calhoun County Golf Tour moves into its 13th season of competition in 2019 with more expansion and changes in dates.
For the first time since 2010, the Tour is offering eight stroke-play events for Player of the Year points with the addition of the Etowah Open at the Links at Briarmeade in Glencoe. It is the tour’s second expansion into Etowah County in as many years, having added the Gadsden Invitational last season.
Even with the increased menu, a player’s top five finishes on the season will count towards their position in the Player of the Year standings and top 16 qualifying for the County Match Play Championship. That’s typically achieved through their top four finishes during the season and the Calhoun County Championship, which again will carry 1.5 times the series point value.
“The only other time we’ve had eight is when we had Stoney Brook involved; that year seemed to go well,” Tour director Jeremy McGatha said. “We’re only counting your best five. This will give people the opportunity with personal life events a little more wiggle room.”
For the first time in the tour’s history a points event will be held prior to the traditional season opening County Two-Man.
The Cane Creek Invitational will open the Tour schedule March 23-24 – that event’s earliest start date – with the Two-Man at Silver Lakes moving to April 6-7.
The Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge also has moved to a later date – May 4-5 – in hopes of enhancing its presentation, kicking off an intense month of tour competition that includes the championships at Gadsden CC and Anniston CC.
For years the Tour was a Calhoun County-exclusive proposition, but over the last two years, owing to its popularity among golfers from inside and outside the county, it has expanded into Etowah County.
“I think we’re just trying to build on what we did last year when we added Gadsden,” McGatha said. “I don’t know when we’ll expand again. It’s hard enough fitting eight tournaments in.”
If it is the last time the County Tour expands for a while, Briarmeade owner Mason Cothran is glad he got in before the door closed.
“I’m super excited about it,” he said. “It’ll be our sixth year and it’s been a goal to get to the where we could be involved in something like that. When I was talked to about it two years ago I said I would love to do it, but I don’t think we’re ready to do it. That person said you’re ready.
“More than anything I want people to know we’re still here; a lot of people in my town don’t know we exist. But at the same time, I don’t have any expectations of how this thing is going to work out. I’m not setting it high, not setting it low. I just want people to come out and check us out.”
Last year’s Tour season drew more than 250 players to its seven points events.

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