E.A. Sports Today

Chasing 50

SKCC leaders LeCroy, Harper have a chance to set tournament scoring record, reach 50-under-par on Championship Sunday

Jacob LeCroy (R) gives partner Jacob Harper some skin after another clutch shot in the scamble round at Cider Ridge Saturday. (Photo by Brad Young)

Jacob Lecroy-Jacob Harper 108 (-36)
Randy Archer-Logan Archer 112 (-32)
Cory Etter-Caleb Bowen 115 (-29)
Jeremy McGatha-Brennan Clay 116 (-28)
Patrick Cushman-Hank Smith 116 (-28)
Barrett Waters-Cody Robinson 116 (-28)
By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
OXFORD – For the longest time, 40-under-par was the Sunny King Charity Classic’s Holy Grail, the magic number dangling in front of the players like a golden carrot on a stick.
Then the champions hit the number three years in a row and it was like a disappointment if the winner didn’t reach it.
Now, with the way Jacob LeCroy and Jacob Harper have been ripping through the rounds, 45-under has become realistic this year and – shudder to think – 50 is a possibility.
LeCroy and Harper added another SKCC record to their resume Saturday, shooting a “smooth” bogey-free 16-under-par 56 at Cider Ridge Golf Club to tie the tournament scamble record. That, on top of sending a buzz throughout the tournament with a record 20-under 52 scramble score at Silver Lakes the day before.
They sit at 36-under 108 after 36 holes and play the best-ball final round at Anniston Country Club — LeCroy’s home course — Sunday. They lead Randy and Logan Archer by four after the father-son team posted a 15-under 57. Cory Etter and Caleb Bowen are another three shots back. The Archers shot the low round at ACC last year (11-under 59).
“We’re obviously doing a little better than what we thought would happen,” LeCroy said.

The all-time tournament record is 43-under-par, set in 2016 by Ty Cole and Gary Wigington, the three-time reigning champions the front-runners were formed specifically to challenge.

History suggests the record will fall. The eventual champion hasn’t shot worse than 8-under in the final round since 2010 and less than 10-under only once in that time frame.

A mere 7-under 63 would tie the all-time record; the frontrunners were 7-under through seven holes Saturday. An average champion’s final-round would get them to 45; they were 9-under at the turn Saturday. A third-straight tournament record round would get them to 50; the current best-ball record is 13-under 57.
“That crossed my mind today,” LeCroy said. “We’re talking about both of us going out there and shooting 60 or 63 on both balls apiece and doing it on different holes. You’ve got to birdie hole 12. There’s 14, 15, 16. We both bogeyed 2 the last time we played it.
“Harper’s been hitting it well. I’ve been hitting it good. If I can do my thing tomorrow and he plays like he’s been playing, we have a chance to do it. You’re talking about playing unbelievable to shoot 50, but we’re going to give it our best. … We’ve got big hopes for tomorrow doing something that wasn’t done before.”
Would 50 really be a bad thing in the grand scheme of things?
“This is like baseball,” tournament chairman Brett Key said. “People like to see home runs and birdies. Fifty under, that’s nasty. Those kids are really golfing their ball.”
The scamble record of 16-under was set by Wigington and Randy Reaves in 2002 at Cane Creek Golf Course. LeCroy and Harper began their assault on it with birdies on each of their first 11 holes. They missed holes 3 and 4, then birdied their last five in a row. Harper made 11 of them.

“It was smooth, that would be the right word for it,” Harper said. “We just played solid, that’s about it.We had to kind of grind a little bit coming in, but the first 10 or 12 holes it was pretty easy.”
The leaders started the day with a three-shot lead over three teams, but only one of the challengers was able to keep pace. Randy and Logan Archer withstood rainy conditions in the afternoon wave to post the second-best round of the day.
The closed with a flourish. They were 9-under after 13 holes, then played the last five on their home course in 6-under, including Randy’s eagle at 15.
“They’re really good, but we’re going to go out there tomorrow and give it our best shot,” Logan Archer said.  “Who knows, they could wake up on the wrong side of the bed tomorrow and shoot 65 and we’ll still have to have a heluva round to catch them. We’re going to have to play out of our minds again, but it all comes down to who’s going to make the putts.”
Georgia mini-tour pros Cody Robinson and Barrett Waters got out of the gate slow, parring their first two holes, and could never sustain anything when they did get right. They shot 11-under 61 and fell into a three-way tie for fourth at 28-under 116. Warren Askew and Will Broome, the other team shooting an opening-round 17-under at Silver Lakes, returned to earth with a 3-under 69 and fell back into a tie for 17thin the Ford F-150 Championship Flight.
“It’s hard to catch good play like that,” Robinson said of the leaders. “To go out there and back it up with another best round of the day is pretty incredible. Hopefully we can put two good rounds together tomorrow and make something happen. If not, that’ll be fine, but we’re just going to go out there and try our best again.”

Tournament officials have updated the Sunday pairings at Anniston Country Club to reflect the second-round scores. Here are the revisions:
12:20 p.m. – Lance Evans-Chandler Wilborn, Aaron Jackson-Joseph Hedgepeth
12:30 – Ryan Howard-Richard Poole, Richard Gibson-Richard Gibson Jr.
12:40 – Jackson King-Tyler Huckaby, Ott Chandler-Dalton Chandler
12:50 – Jeremy McGatha-Brennan Clay, Gary Wigington-Ty Cole
1:00 – Cory Etter-Caleb Bowen, Cody Robinson-Barrett Waters
1:10 – Jacob Harper-Jacob LeCroy, Logan Archer-Randy Archer
Brad Young contributed to this report. To see a gallery of Brad’s photos from the day’s round, click Bradleyphotography.us

Randy Archer keeps the umbrella handy as he tracks the path of his putt during Saturday’s Sunny King scamble round at Cider Ridge. Archer made several birdies and an eagle at 15 to help his team grab sole possession of second place and a spot in Sunday’s final pairing. (Photo by Brad Young).

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