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Local golf: McClain first entry into 2019 Sunny King Classic; weekend tournament results, high school golf

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
Bob McClain might be waiting for a partner to get on board, but he wasn’t going to miss out on playing in the Sunny King Charity Classic.
That almost happened to him one year and from then on he’s been determined not to let it happen again.
The best way to do that is make sure you’re first in line.
McClain was the first player to sign up for the 41stSunny King Charity Classic, getting in as soon as the online registration became available. So far about 20 teams have signed up for the July 12-14 tournament.
“The second year I played we were the last guys in,” McClain said. “I don’t really know what it was, but we were the last guys to sign up. It must have been Clark (Cunningham, his partner) dragging his feet. He’s not here to defend himself, so we’ll say that.”
He may be in, but said it might take a “major milestone” for him to play. In the two weeks since he registered, a schedule conflict developed that without some tee time relief might take him off course.
McClain is the pastor of Living by Faith Ministry in Oxford, a ministry he founded in 1987. Come tournament week the church is hosting a major conference for the Apostolic International Alliance, a group for which he is an advisor.
He has played in the Classic the last three years with Cunningham with varying degrees of success. Last year was by far their best, finishing tied for fourth, two shots off the lead, in the Toyota Tacoma Fifth Flight. If for some reason he couldn’t play he would miss it.
“I love playing golf, I love the sport; I say sport, it’s more of a madness than a sport,” he said. “And you always meet a lot of people you don’t know. I’m in the people business, so I love meeting people and every year I’ve played I met so many I did not know. And there’s always people who know people you know, so that just reaffirms the world is not as large as people think it is.”
At 71, if he does get to play in the Classic, he will be able to take advantage of the tournament tee adjustment for seniors. He’s just started finding that tee for his own game, but he isn’t necessarily sure it’s a help.
“I always thought closer was better,” he said. “It just means you get in trouble quicker.”
While on the subject of Classic rules, the committee expects to once again reflight the field during competition to reduce the instance of sandbagging, although the execution has yet to be determined. Additionally, each course will offer a drop zone similar to the play on 16 at Cider Ridge at which time teams will be laying 1 and hitting their second stroke into the green.
Players can sign up for this year’s Classic electronically at www.kingclassic.com

LOCAL HAPPENINGS: Ryan Howard birdied the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to beat Ott Chandler and win the Anniston Country Club Walker Reynolds club championship. Howard shot a final round 71 to pull even with Chandler, a first-round co-leader, 2-under 138. The other flight winners were Jacob LeCroy, Chance Harris and Tom Roberts (seniors)
Tiger Woods wasn’t the only player putting on a green jacket last weekend. Josh Davis won Pine Hill’s Green Jacket Classic last Saturday, posting a 59 (best ball of his net and Ian Poulter’s Saturday Masters score). He won it in a tie-breaker putt-off with Ricky Carden (with Xander Schauffele).
Entry forms are out for the Gadsden CC Invitational (May 17-19) and ACC’s Wilfred Galbraith Invitational (May 31-June 2). Non-member entry fee for Gadsden is $190 and ACC is $200. Entry deadlines are May 15 (or 124 players) for Gadsden and May 29 for ACC. Both events are part of the Calhoun County Golf Tour.

HIGH SCHOOL GOLF: Lauren Cole shot 80 with three birdies to win medalist honors for the second year in a row and lead Glencoe to the Gadsden Area Girls Championship at Twin Bridges.

The Lady Jackets posted a team 277 and won by 11 over Westbrook Christian. Cole won by six shots over Westbrook Christian’s Lauren Weaver. Etowah’s Miranda Nassif and Gadsden City’s Ella Howard tied for third (91).

Team scores: Glencoe 277, Westbrook Christian 288, Gadsden City  297, Etowah 338, Hokes Bluff 397.

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