E.A. Sports Today

If it’s on, he’s in

LeCroy says he’ll be back to defend if the Sunny King Charity Classic is played this year, but uncertain with whom

Jacob Harper (L) and Jacob LeCroy won last year’s Sunny King Charity Classic with a mind-blowing 51-under-par. LeCroy said he’ll be back to defend if the tournament is played this year, but Harper isn’t sure he’ll be able. (Photos by Brad Young)

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
Organizers of the Sunny King Charity Classic are still trying to decide whether to hold this year’s 42nd edition of the tournament in light of the country’s coronavirus response, but if they do give the OK one thing is certain – Jacob LeCroy will be back to defend the title.
The question, however, is with whom will he defend. He’d like to do it with Jacob Harper, who he teamed with to rewrite the tournament record book last year. But Harper is trying to launch a professional career and his playing schedule might not allow it. 
If Harper can’t play, LeCroy’s second option is Michael Cotton, his long-hitting assistant coach at South Alabama and former Texas Amateur champion. If that doesn’t work out, he’s thinking about some of the county’s top young talent the likes of Dalton Chandler – if he doesn’t play with his father Ott – or Logan Archer, who finished second to the runaway winners last year with his dad Randy. 
“I’m definitely going to play in it,” LeCroy said. “I don’t know with who yet. I don’t have a partner. I’ve been scoping around. Everyone’s been asking me about it. I will find somebody to play with. I’m going to play in the golf tournament.”
Tournament organizers have been holding off making a decision on the tournament until receiving further guidance on the government’s pandemic response. The only concession they’ve made so far is delaying the opening of electronic registration to May 1.
This year’s tournament is July 10-12 at Anniston Country Club, Cider Ridge Golf Club and Silver Lakes. It regularly draws more than 400 players, hundreds of volunteers and hundreds to the social functions, and raises more than $100,000 for local charities. It has raised more than $3 million during the life of the event.
LeCroy is hoping it gets played.
“It would definitely bum me out (if it weren’t),” he said. “I think that would be a little bit extreme (to cancel). I think that’s way too early to call that now. I think you could wait til somewhere in June.

“I know they’ve got sponsors and everything like that, but it’s a big tournament. They raise a lot of money for charity. I think it’s really important. It’s also a fun tournament.”
Even before the coronavirus pandemic hit LeCroy doubted Harper would have been able to return because he was hoping happily his partner would be chasing bolder pursuits. Harper didn’t make it through Q-school, but put together a heavy schedule in February and had a series of Monday qualifiers later on the docket. He didn’t know Tuesday if he was going to be able to play in the Classic.
Since school’s been out due to the pandemic, LeCroy has been catching up on his academics to remain eligible for the upcoming season and “playing a lot of golf” to keep his game sharp for a spot in the lineup when he does return. He played several tournaments in the fall as a freshman, but bounced between the fifth and sixth spots in the spring. 
He played in five events with a 73.64 stroke average in 14 rounds with a T-10 in his college debut in the season-opening Lone Star Invitational hosted by UT-San Antonio and a top-15 two weeks later. He shot a career-best 67 in the Jags’ Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate at Magnolia Grove in February.
Whoever LeCroy gets as his partner, it’s doubtful they’ll match the 51-under total he and Harper shot last year to win by 13 shots – both all-time tournament records. They shot rounds of 20-under 52 at Silver Lakes (scramble), 16-under 56 at Cider Ridge (scamble) and 15-under 55 at ACC (best ball) – the low round every day.
“We’re not going to be able to beat that, I don’t think; it was pretty wild,” LeCroy said. “I would take the under on that number if I were a betting man. 
“Looking back at it now, man, that was wild. That was one of the best weekends I’ve ever had playing golf. We weren’t even thinking about it, we were just doing it. I remember going out there as a kid watching Gary (Wilburn) and Garrett (Burgess) and Cypress (Hathorn) and Twig (Gary Wigington) and all those guys just out there doing that thing and to be out there and do it and the way we did it I thought that was pretty cool.”

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