E.A. Sports Today

Taking the fifth

Cole wins fifth Etowah Open title in record fashion, wins for the fourth time this season on the Calhoun County Golf Tour

Ty Cole rolls in his final putt to shoot 64 and win the Etowah Open in record fashion.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
GLENCOE – The newest event on the Calhoun County Golf Tour has a familiar champion.
Ty Cole added to his collection of County Tour wins Sunday when he won the Etowah Open for the second time in three years and fifth time since 2009 in record fashion at the Links at Briarmeade.
Cole shot a final-round 64 and finished with a tournament-record 127. He won by seven shots over Jeremy McGatha, the player with whom he shared the lead at the start of the day, and nine over third-place Gary Wigington.
It was his record-tying fourth win on the Calhoun County Tour this year, virtually locking up Player of the Year honors with two events to play. It also moved him to the top of the County Tour all-time wins list with 17.
He’s won the Etowah Open in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2017 and 2019. Stanley Hawkins has won it 11 times. Scott Smith has won it 10.

The win took away the sting of last week’s fifth-place finish at the Sunny King Charity Classic, which he and Wigington had won the previous three years in a row. Cole said that wasn’t as much a factor in the dominating win at Briarmeade as much as fixing a flaw in his setup that led to more solid play.
“I just fixed it,” he said. “It wasn’t some big secret. My posture was bad and when my posture gets bad I come over the top of it.”
Cole hit 19 fairways and 25 greens on the weekend and got around in 24 putts each day. He may have missed 11 greens over the two days but got up and down for par or better all 11 times. He made 15 birdies.
“I told Luke (Armstrong) last night I’m going to go out and try to shoot 59,” he said. “Maybe in the back of your mind you think OK you’ve got a two-shot lead after two holes, but at the end of the day I’m just trying blister the thing. In spots it was really good and in spots it was just god-awful.”
The separation in the round came on the second hole when Cole birdied and McGatha bogeyed after his approach shot into the par-4 caught a tree.
“I got greedy,” McGatha said. “I told Brennan (Clay, his cart partner) I was going to go low and then I saw an opening to try to hook one around and when I hooked it it hit the tree limb and kicked straight down.”
McGatha has finished second 16 times now since the County Tour began in 2007, and he has played in all 97 events. It’s the fourth time he has been in the top three this year and sixth time since winning the 2017 County Championship. The only Tour events he hasn’t had a runner-up finish since its inception are the Gadsden Invitational, which has only been on the schedule two years, and the King of The Hill at Anniston Municipal, which isn’t played anymore.
“I had my chances; how many putts did I just barely miss,” McGatha said. “Even if I’d have made them all I still would have had a hard time catching him. … If Ty’s hitting the ball the way he’s hitting it, the only thing we can do is play better. It’s hard to beat him.”
While the trees took a toll on McGatha early in the round, they were kind to Cole. The winner got two big breaks out of the trees to keep his round going. The hardwoods threw what would have been wayward tee shots back into the fairway on holes 7 and 10, and he took advantage of the break to make birdie each time to extend his lead.
“Anybody who has ever won a tournament you don’t just hit it good all the time,” Cole said. “You look at the British Open or any other PGA Tour event the guy who wins the tournament at some point he got some kind of break. It might not have mattered this week but normally whoever wins a tournament they get some sort of break and if they take advantage of it it’s even better.”
NOTES: Cole has not made a bogey in his last 45 Etowah Open holes … The old tournament record was 133 by Scott Smith in 2008 … Wigington climbed into third place with a 66; he birdied three of his last four holes. Championship B winner Tee Brown also shot 66 in the final round … It was the fourth time this Tour season Cole has shot 64 or better … Cole won four times on the Tour last year as well … The next event on the Tour schedule is the Pine Hill Invitational next weekend. Call the pro shop to register … The County Match Play Championship will be the 100th event in the Tour’s history … McGatha is the only player to have played in all 97 events.

Runner-up Jeremy McGatha chips onto the 17th green from an awkward lie.

Etowah Open

At the Links at Briarmeade
Final scores
Championship A
Ty Cole           63-64—127
Jeremy McGatha         63-71—134
Gary Wigington          70-66—136
Brennan Clay  69-70—139
Shawn Ledbetter         68-73—141
Zack Contris    69-73—142
Chad Hare       70-72—142
Chris Cox        71-72—143
Scott Smith      72-71—143
Brian Baugh    71-74—145
Devin Downs  71-77—148
Championship B
Tee Brown      72-66—138
Brad Connor   73-68—141
Frank Brady    74-72—146
Sam Bone        72-74—146
Chad Reavis    72-76—148
Chris Leonhardt          72-76—148
Mason Dennis  72-77—149
Brock McNeely           74-77-151
Mark Spurlock            72-79—151
Jeff McRae      74-78—152
Clay Calkins    74-79—153
Drew Anderton           74-83—157
Championship C
Michael Rich   76-70—146
Neal Keener    76-71—147
Andrew Brooks          75-73—148
Blake Grisham 75-73—149
Justin Graveman         75-74—149
Stanley Hawkins         78-73—151
Chad Calvert   75-78—153
Harrison Hughston     76-78—154
Bumper Jones77-77—154
Matt Rogers    76-81—157
Kyle Rosenbauer         78-91—169
Championship D
Cole Contris    80-79—159
Justin Graham  85-76—161
Scott Medders  83-80—163
Casey Harmon  82-82—164
Trent Ralston   81-83—164
Chris Holderfield        81-84—165
Greg Hare       82-84—166
Kevin Lipscomb          83-88—171
Andrew Lang  89-82—171
Eric Hoskins   82-94—176
Blake Lipscomb          99-98—197
Jake Ball          80-WD
Trevor Hamilton          111-WD
Randy Lipscomb         DQ
First flight
Brad Baird       69-71—140
Ron McClellan            73-74—147
Mike Estes      75-73—148
Doug Gardner  70-79—149
Larry Gilchrist             75-74—149
Frank Barnes   73-80—153
Greg Davenport          75-79—154
Craig Colvard  76-80—156
Wayne Downey          76-80—156
Wesley Watkins          73-83—156
Chuck Medders           75-83—158
Jay Shields      77-82—159
Second flight
Jason Shields  81-74—155
Craig Graves   78-78—156
Dustin Underwood     81-75—156
Chris Sanford  79-77—156
Justin Wood    79-77-156
Wayne Ball      80-77—157
Gary Hopper   80-79—159
Phillip Eades   78-82—160
Derek Epperson          81-80—161
Lee Vinson      81-81—162
Richard Johnson         82-80—162
Jamie Betterton            82-83—165
Third flight
Kenny Fulmer  83-79—162
Frankie Leath  88-77—165
George Morris  86-80—166
Dani Bone       85-83—168
Paul Allen       86-86—172
Dale Owens    84-92—176
Josh Colvard   83-94—177
Casey Downs  88-92—180
Kelly Rogers   93-87—180
Gary Singleton            104-94—198
Blake Erwin    83-WD

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