E.A. Sports Today

Cole blazes with 57

Leads County Championship by 5 after breaking course record; locks Player of the Year after Wigington withdraws

Ty Cole picks out a line from the tee during Saturday’s opening round of the Calhoun County Championship. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
As good a year as Ty Cole has had on the Calhoun County Golf Tour this season there was still a mathematical possibility he might not win the series points championship and Player of the Year.
He just about took care of all that on his own ball Saturday, then locked it up a few hours later when closest challenger Gary Wigington withdrew after four holes because of painful bone spurs in his left elbow.
Cole, the Tour’s all-time wins leader, set the Anniston Municipal course record when he shot 13-under-par 57 to lead after the morning wave of the opening round of the 83rd Calhoun County Championship. He is the first player in County Tour history to shoot a tournament round in the 50s and it came with one bogey on the card or it could have been even lower.
He won the tournament last year with a two-day total of 12-under-par.
The closest players to him at the end of the morning wave – Tanner Wells, Daniel Black, Jonathan Pate and Caleb Bowen – were 10 shots back. Jeremy McGatha and Adrian Geeting closed the gap in the afternoon with a 62 and 64, respectively. If Cole completes the deal Sunday it will be his fifth Tour win this season, a single-season Tour record, and amass the most player points possible under the current points format.
The old course record at The Hill was 58, set by James Ramey during a regular round in 1992 and tied by Dalton Chandler two years ago. Cole’s round, of course, was done under tournament conditions.
“I just got the putter going,” Cole said. “We were talking about it out there, it was kind of like just playing a round at the local club with the boys.
“When I got up this morning I didn’t know if I was going to play. I worked yesterday, then played in a tournament at Silver Lakes, my back seized up on me and I bet I didn’t hit 10 full shots all day out there. I woke up this morning and it felt fine. I even dressed like I was going to ride around and watch (Chad) Calvert play if I couldn’t play. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to swing it.”
The 57 is three strokes better than the lowest score he has ever shot in the game. It felt, he said, similar to the record 64-62 he put up in winning at Cider Ridge earlier this year, but it didn’t start so impressively. He birdied his first hole of the day, the par-3 seventh, parred 8 and bogeyed on 9 – a hole he typically doesn’t play well – after his second shot found the trees.
He got on a roll on the back nine, shooting 26 with eagles on 13 (20 feet) and 18 (35 feet), giving him a Tour-leading six for the season. He left another eagle putt on 10 dead center one roll short of the hole. He had 10 birdies.

He hit 14 greens and had 22 putts, nine on the back nine with one two-putt. He dropped his season stroke average on the Tour to 67.9
“When I got over the ball I felt like I was going to hit a good shot, when I got over the putt I felt like the putt was going to go in,” Cole said. 
“He was just in control of his game,” Calvert said.

Cole carried a 150-point standings lead going into the Tour’s final points tournament of the season. He has won four events and leads in four statistical categories, normally a strong enough resume to win a Player of the Year endorsement, but the way the standings are calculated on the Tour and 1.5 times the points at stake he still needed to finish fourth or better to a Wigington win this week in order to take the title for the third time in four years.
“I didn’t think about any of that today,” Cole said. “I showed up just hoping I could play golf.”
Wigington played four holes in a group with three other former County champions at The Hill and birdied two of them, but the elbow that had given him trouble off and on the last couple years and flared on him at Silver Lakes Friday proved too painful to continue. He called the pain “excruciating.”
“I shouldn’t have hit the first ball, but I wanted to give it a whirl,” he said. “The County Tournament is always the biggest tournament of the year, the granddaddy of the individual events. I took a bunch of Advil to see if that would take the pain away, but I pretty much knew when I went out there I wouldn’t be able to finish.”
The recently turned 50-year-old remains one of the top players on the Tour. He won the season-opening event at Cane Creek for his 16thcareer Tour win and was Player of the Year (2012-14) or runner-up each of the last seven years. A couple Sunday slipups kept him from winning at Anniston Country Club and Silver Lakes earlier this summer, but he wouldn’t blame the elbow for those finishes.
“I wouldn’t say it was a major contributor,” he said. “It hadn’t been bad at all until about a week and a half ago.”
The injury is expected to take him out of the County Match Play Championship, of which he is the defending champion. He likely will undergo surgery in September.
Word had spread quickly about Cole’s 57 and the players in the afternoon knew they faced a tall order.
“I looked at it as we’ve still got a mountain to climb,” Geeting said. “We knew we were playing for second.”
But that didn’t prevent them from giving chase.
McGatha put together a big charge late to step. He was just treading water through 10 holes with a birdie and nine straight pars, then caught fire and played his final eight holes 7-under. He birdied 16, 17 and 18 to start the run, eagled 1 and birdied 3 and 4.
“I’m not going to say it was hard, it was weird,” McGatha said. “It happened a few years ago (1999) when we came up here and Twig played in the morning and shot 61 and we were all like, well, wow. We get up here and 57’s posted and we’re like, same thing, wow.
“I’m happy with 8. It sucks to be five back, but 8-under in the first round of the County, I’ll take it. Maybe I can start hot tomorrow, but I’ve witnessed this at Briarmeade. I was 63-63 with him and he came out 64 to my even-par 71. I’ve got to start fast and hard and see what happens. But I’m going to have fun either way.”
NOTES: Low putts for the day went to Jason Johnson (19) … Tyler Dopson was among six players at 69. He made 17 straight pars before making birdie on his final hole of the day (No. 3) … Clay Calkins eagled his final hole to make it into the afternoon wave.
To see more photos from the morning wave visit www.bjfranklin.smugmug.com

Al Johnson reacts after watching a putt just slide past the hole. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

Championship A
Ty Cole 31-26—57
Jeremy McGatha 30-32—62
Adrian Geeting 33-31—64
Justin Graveman 32-34—66
Ott Chandler 33-33—66
Dalton Chandler 34-32—66
Tanner Wells 33-34—67
Daniel Black 34-33—67
Jonathan Pate 33-34—67
Caleb Bowen 32-35—67
Brennan Clay 34-33—67
Championship B
Billy Thompson 37-31—68
Matt Rogers 34-34—68
Andrew Brooks 35-33—68
Gage Miller 33-35—68
Keith Raisanen 35-34—69
Jake Goggans 33-36—69
Chad Calvert 34-35—69
Randy Lipscomb 34-35—69
Nate Griffin 35-34—69
Tyler Dopson 34-35—69
First flight
Lenn Coffey 34-36—70
Lamar Carter 34-36—70
Tony Hicks 35-35—70
Chris Hubbard 36-34—70
Will Brown 33-37—70
Jeff Borrelli 34-36—70
Jason Johnson 36-34—70
Frank Brady 34-36—70
Will Brown 33-37—70
Nick Pollard 34-36—70
Danny Whittaker 35-35—70
Second flight
Layton Bussey 36-35—71
Brian Woodfin 33-38—71
Chase Hollingsworth 36-35—71
Landon Straub 35-36—71
Landon Winfrey 36-35—71
Mike Lett 36-36—72
Ron McClellan 35-37—72
Robin Wood 37-35—72
Clay Calkins 32-40—72
Third flight
Chase Thomas 36-37—73
Tim Steward 37-36—73
Andrew Miller 37-36—73
Chad Mullinax 37-36—73
Kenny Fulmer 38-36—74
Chip Howell 37-37—74
Nick Hubbard 35-39—74
Payton Bradley 40-35—75
Randy Watson 36-39—75
Don Hill 39-36—75
Andrew Tyson 38-37—75
Byron Preston 35-40—75
George Salmon 41-34—75
Fourth flight
Will Broome 37-39—76
Mark Gaines 38-38—76
Keaton Borrelli 42-35—77
Mark Cotton 36-41—77
Mike Hughston 38-39—77
Cameron McCareeth 39-38—77
Allen Mangham 39-38—77
Chris Randall 37-40—77
Johnny Barnes 39-38—77
Tim Dennison 37-40—77
Fifth flight
Timmy Woodard 37-41—78
Tyler Teneyck 42-36—78
Ted Heim 37-41—78
Trent Lott 39-40—79
Al Johnson 41-38—79
Chris Reaves 43-37—80
Cal Lambert 41-39—80
Kenneth Patterson 38-42—80
Sixth flight
Brad Young 43-38—81
Kelly Rogers 41-40—81
Bruce Collins 40-41—81
Dennis Austin 42-40—82
Will Coker 43-40—83
Brad Hardin 43-41—84
Gene Hicks 41-50—91
Gary Wigington WD
Chance Harris DNS
Sunday’s pairings
8 a.m. shotgun
1B: Thomas, Stewart, A. Miller, Mullinax
1A: Fulmer, Howell, N. Hubbard, Bradley
2: Watson, Hill, Tyson, Preston
3: Salmon, Broome, Gaines, K. Borrelli
4: Cotton, McCareeth, Hughston, Mangham
5: Randall, Barnes, Dennison, Woodard
6: Teneyck, Heim, Johnson, Lott
7: Reaves, Lambert, Patterson, Young
8: K. Rogers, Collins, Austin
9: Coker, Hardin, Hicks
1 p.m. shotgun
1B: Cole, McGatha, Geeting, Graveman
1A: O. Chandler, D. Chandler, Wells, Black
2: Pate, Bowen, Clay, Thompson
3: M. Rogers, Brooks, G. Miller, Raisanen
4: Goggans, Lipscomb, Calvert, Griffin
5: Dopson, Coffey, Carter, Hicks
6: C. Hubbard, Johnson, Brady, J. Borrelli
7: Brown, Pollard, Whittaker, Bussey
8: Woodfin, Hollingsworth, Winfrey, Straub
9: Lett, McClellan, Wood, Calkins

(Based on Saturday’s scores/position)
(Top 16 qualify for Match Play Championship)
Ty Cole 1650
x-Jeremy McGatha 1275
Gary Wigington 1275
Adrian Geeting 1030
Brennan Clay 970
Randy Lipscomb 928.75
Justin Graveman 907.5
Daniel Black 890
Dalton Chandler 782.5
Caleb Bowen 765
Scott Martin 707.5
Chad Calvert 701.25
Matt Rogers 693.75
Ott Chandler 642.5
Jonathan Pate 640
Tyler Dopson 611.25
x-Tiebreaker, highest finish in County Tournament
Frank Brady 590
Andrew Brooks 568.75
Jake Goggans 556.25
Layton Bussey 497.5
Tanner Wells 485
Clay Calkins 458.75
Chris Cox 447.5
Gage Miller 433.75
Billy Thompson 373.75
Landon Straub 372.5
Corey Ray 367.5
Nick Pollard 335
Kenny Okins 332.5
Logan Archer 327.5
Keith Raisanen 318.75

Jeff Borrelli looks to get the ball back in play after going long into No. 9 green. (Photo by B.J. Franklin)

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