E.A. Sports Today

Wait rewarded

Happy accident overlooking a sponsored team opens door for five additional teams in King Classic and a record-sized field
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
Benji Turley didn’t hold out much hope when he submitted his team’s registration for this year’s Sunny King Charity Classic with the field already bursting at the seams.
Potential scheduling conflicts were expected to keep him from playing, but you can’t even get in if you don’t submit something to say you’re interested. “That’s why there’s a waiting list,” tee time chairman Keith Howell said.
The tournament was sold out weeks ago, but due to a happy accident related to a sponsored team, one spot had to be added to the field and that opened the door for five additional teams to come along.
The additions bring the field to a record 210 teams (420 players) spread across the tournament’s three courses – Anniston Country Club, Cider Ridge Golf Club and Silver Lakes. The tournament starts July 12. Complete tee times have been posted elsewhere on the website.
“I’m excited; I really wanted to play,” Turley said. “I didn’t really think it’d fill up like that. I think last year they were having to find people because some dropped out.”
Partner Adrian Geeting was so convinced it wasn’t going to happen he started making plans to work during the Classic weekend. He still wasn’t quite sure what happened when Turley texted him the good news. He was just as surprised to realize it would be his 20th Classic in 21 years.
“I was calling around putting my name out there for people who may have had a partner drop off just to play; I tried to pull every string I could,” he said. “I was shocked when he told me. I just assumed we weren’t in. Now I’m excited.”

The same surprise was in line for James Lett and Daniel Simmons, Jimmy Ray and Bobby Graham, Matt Kenneway and James Penland, and Conway and Roger Shirey. Tournament officials have dipped into the waiting list before, but never this deep.
Turley has missed playing in the tournament only once since 1999, teaming on various occasions with Marcus Harrell, Brian Macoy and Geeting. The reason he delayed entering this year was because his daughter Erin’s soccer team was playing in a regional tournament and if it had won it would play in the nationals in Tennessee the same week as the Classic.
“I told Goob let’s see what happens (in the soccer tournament) and we’ll sign up when we get back,” Turley said. “Normally it doesn’t fill up like this. When I texted Keith he told me there were like 11 teams on the waiting list. I’m excited because I’ve been practicing the last two weeks like we were going to get in.”
Turley’s soccer commitments have reduced his golf to playing about 10 rounds this year, so he doesn’t know what to expect from his game.
“My expectations are to try to win Championship B,” he said with a chuckle.
Don’t laugh; there is a funny story to that. Last year in the second round at Cider Ridge, Turley hit a 3-wood from 240 yards on 18 to six feet and made the eagle that placed him and Geeting firmly on the cutline at the bottom of Championship A, 10 shots behind eventual three-time champions Gary Wigington and Ty Cole.
NOTES: The winners of the “Antonio Langham Lottery,” the teams that are paired with the former Alabama and NFL defensive back, are Jordan and Tim Evans (Friday at ACC), Greg Smith and Greg Stroud (Saturday at Silver Lakes, and Brian and Ken Howell (Sunday at Cider Ridge) … Turley is signed up to play in the Calhoun County Tournament and the Buddy Moore Classic, just in case the schedule falls right … Of course, the Championship Sunday pairings at ACC will reflect the leaderboard after Saturday round, but if the current pairings are a reflection of potential favorites the final three groupings currently listed for Sunday are Cory Etter-Caleb Bowen, Ryan Howard-Richard Poole, Jeremy McGatha-Brennan Clay, Cody Robinson-Barrett Waters, Jacob LeCroy-Jacob Harper and Wigington-Cole … Harper won the 2018 Alabama Open. Waters is a mini-tour pro from Villa Rica.

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