E.A. Sports Today

Cole wins again

Cole goes wire-to-wire to win fourth straight Gadsden Invitational title; Wigington survives battle for second

Ty Cole and son Camden celebrate dad’s fourth straight win in the Gadsden Country Club Invitational.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
GADSDEN – Ty Cole was coasting towards a fourth straight win in the Gadsden Country Club Invitational when he got a text from his wife on the 16thtee that reignited his jets a lot more than the birdie he just made on the previous hole.
Ashlin Cole texted her man that she and their 4 ½-month old son had just arrived on the grounds and would be waiting to greet them at the scoreboard. From that moment on one thought consumed Ty’s play.
Get this win to the house and put baby Camden in the bowl on top of the trophy that has carried his daddy’s name ever since club officials revived the tournament in 2016.
He couldn’t get in quick enough. He closed out the victory with a 2-over-par 74 Sunday that wrapped up a 4-under 209 and a four-shot wire-to-wire win over Gary Wigington. He had such a substantial lead coming down the stretch it didn’t matter that he four-putted the final green for a double-bogey and his highest score in any round of his four victories here.
“I saw that text on 16, that was the goal – to put him in the trophy,” Cole said. 
Cole went into the day with a five-shot lead and never led by less than four at any point during the final round, but he insisted if Wigington had made any putts on the front nine it would have a closer battle on the back. He eventually shut the door with birdies on 14 and 15.
“I hit it all over this deed,” he said. “The lead had nothing to do with me. I did not hit it good. I did not putt it good. Twig hit it good enough on the front that he could’ve erased a five-shot lead after nine holes. He hit it that goo. He just couldn’t get any putts to fall. Then on the back we did what we did.”
With Cole comfortably in front, the real drama turned out to be the battle for second among the other three players in the foursome – Wigington, Jeremy McGatha and Hunter Hawkins.
The spot eventually went to Wigington with nine pars on the back nine. It was the first time since the second round of last year’s Cider Ridge Invitational he had gone through a County Tour round without a birdie. By finishing second he maintained his lead in the Calhoun County Tour points standings. 
“I knew I needed to get second just to get a higher number than the rest of them,” Wigington said. “I knew Jeremy was playing good. I didn’t know exactly how we stood, but I knew we had to be pretty close after the front nine. I was trying to do my best to get it in, not just chalk it up to another loss.
“You’re going to have to play really good for three days to even have a shot (against Cole) and you might not have a shot even then. When you put one good day and two so-so days together you’re going to get beat. I wanted to at least get second for the points. I’ve just got to at the end of the year get some wins along the way and see how the chips fall.”
McGatha got back in it by playing the front in 2-under. He missed his chance for separation when he tugged birdie putts on the par-5 12thand 14thand bogeyed the par-3 13thin between. He was still within one coming to 18. He went for it from 208 uphill into the wind and feathered the shot off to the right side of the green. His pitch up to the putting surface didn’t quite make it and rolled back to him, effectively ending the bid.
Hawkins joined the drama with back-to-back birdies on 13 and 14, but fell to fourth with a bogey-double-bogey finish.
No one has won the tournament since it was revived in 2016 other than Cole. He is 34-under-par in the four wins with nine rounds in the 60s.
“You grow up here and the Country Club was the Holy Grail; that was the one everyone wanted to win,” he said. “By the time my game was good enough to win it, it goes away. When I heard (pro Matt Ganshaw) was coming here (from Twin Bridges) I kind of talked to him and said you’ve got to bring the Invitational back. It doesn’t matter if you get 40 players the first year, you’ve got to bring it back and it’ll grow. And they’ve gone from 40 to near 100.
“I remember it used to be you’d have 140 players with a 30-player waiting list when I first started playing and I was playing in the fourth flight. This was a big-time tournament. People may not look at it now that way, but I still look at it that way, because as a kid this was one everybody wanted to win. Just like the people who grew up in Anniston, everybody wants to win Anniston Country Club’s Invitational.”
NOTES: The win was Cole’s 15th on the Calhoun County Golf Tour, one behind Wigington on the all-time list. All of his wins have been in stroke-play events. Three of Wigington’s wins have been in the Match Play Championship. It was the 22nd time Wigington has been second … Brian Baker shot the best Sunday round of the championship flight (68) and won Championship C. He was 3-under through four and turned in 30. He bogeyed each of his last two holes … The other flight winners included Chris Jones (Championship B), Jon Key (first), Michael Casey (second), Steven Lee (fourth) and Mike Douglas (senior). Kaine Gibson made a 14-shot improvement between the first and second round and was bumped to the third flight, where he shared first place with Timmy Woodard. … Cole was right about hitting it all over the place. He found only two fairways Sunday and five over the last two rounds … The champion was philosophical about his four-putt on 18. “It ain’t the first four-putt I’ve had this year; at least this one didn’t end up in 77.” He four-putted while posting that number in the opening round of the season-opening Cane Creek Invitational … The next event on the Calhoun County Tour in the Wilfred Galbraith Anniston CC Invitational May 31-June 2.

Championship A flight
Ty Cole 66-69-74—209
Gary Wigington 69-71-73—213
Jeremy McGatha 74-70-72—216
Hunter Hawkins 71-73-74—218
Dane Moore 72-75-77—224
Tanner Roberts 74-73-77—224
Brennan Clay 76-71-81—228
Tee Brown 72-75-85—232

Championship B flight
Chris Jones 76-72-70—218
Chandler Wilborn 79-70-71—220
Matt Miller 73-76-72—221
Chris Hummel 73-75-74—222
Mason Dennis 78-70-76—224
Randy Lipscomb 73-75-76—224
Chad Calvert 71-79-74—224
Sam Audia 73-77-76—226
Chris Cox 73-77-76—226
Matt Rogers 75-73-80—228
Corey Ray 77-71-80—228
Joey Fortner 70-80-80—230
Jake Goggans 73-76-83—232
Corbin Holland 73-77-87—237

Championship C flight
Brian Baker 74-77-68—219
Jayson Cox 79-72-75—226
Alex Harper 74-78-76—228
Drew Anderton 77-81-75—233
Layton Bussey 79-75-80—234
Danny Dunlap 76-77-85—238
Harrison Martin 77-84-78—239
Daniel Black 77-86-77—240
Landon Straub 77-78-86—241
Jeff Chapman 76-79-88—243
Norman Clifton 79-79-86—244
Dustin Underwood 76-84-90—250
Nathan Nailer 78-95-WD
Jeff Champion 77-78-WD

First flight
Jon Key 73-73—146
Joseph Bolen 72-76—148
Chance Harris 74-77—151
Clayton Chandler 75-77—152
Steve Cantrell 77-76—153
Brad Baird 73-80—153
Clay Calkins 75-80—155
Bumper Jones 75-82—157
Frank Brady 76-82—158
Kenneth Patterson 76-83—159
Will Brown 77-86—163
Jason Britton 77-91—168

Second flight
Michael Casey 78-79—157
Mark Cantrell 81-78—159
Eric Crabtree 78-82—160
Matt Greer 78-83—161
Anthony Pritchard 78-84—162
Graham Morrow 81-84—165
Dre Davenport 79-88—167
Will Farley 81-87—168
Maverick Smith 80-89—169
Lamar Carter 80-90—170
Austin Minter 79-95—174
Tim Fulmer 79-WD

Third flight
Kaine Gibson 88-74—162
Timmy Woodard 85-77—162
Mike Lett 83-80—163
Chase Hollingsworth 84-80—164
Chris Messer 85-81—166
Richard Hollingsworth 85-82—167
Derek Epperson 82-86—168
Jeff Hammontree 82-87—169
Chandler Richards 82-88—170
Justin Goree 84-88—172
Kyle Rosenbauer 85-88—173
Andrew Gunnels 85-91—176
Kenny Fulmer 84-93—177

Fourth flight
Steve Lee 86-81—167
Kent Back 87-82—169
David Lipscomb 87-83—170
Mason Aulsbrook 86-86—172
Chase Thomas 88-84—172
John Lindsay 86-89—175
Craig Inzer Jr. 94-82—176
Danny Owens 86-93—179
Mark Cotton 91-95—186
Don Hill 87-WD

Senior flight
Mike Douglas 77-79—156
James Chapman 79-78—157
Harold Norris 77-83—160
Tim Steward 77-85—162
Dennis Austin 81-86—167
Mike Thompson 87-88—175

County Tour points standings (top 30)

Name Total
Gary Wigington800
Ty Cole777.5
Jeremy McGatha622.5
Brennan Clay470
Chad Calvert445
Randy Lipscomb435
Daniel Black392.5
Adrian Geeting377.5
Matt Rogers355
Justin Graveman332.5
Clay Calkins272.5
Jeremy Pannell250
Layton Bussey232.5
Beau Gammage225
Jake Goggans222.5
Logan Archer200
Hunter Hawkins195
Chris Jones195
Ott Chandler190
Scott Martin190
Nick Pollard187.5
Caleb Bowen185
Brian Baker185
Chandler Wilborn180
Landon Straub175
Matt Miller175
Chris Hummel170
Jacob Lecroy167.5
Lance Evans157.5
Dane Moore155
Tanner Roberts155
Mason Dennis155

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