E.A. Sports Today

Bringing it home

At long last, Wigington realizes victory in ACC Invitational, filling a void in a stellar resume

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today
Every time Gary Wigington tees it up he has his eye on the prize, but the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational at Anniston Country Club has turned into a special mission for him.
Four times he finished second here and last year he carried a four-shot lead into the final round before coming up short in the end, so you could say getting his name on that trophy has become something of an obsession.
He finally got it Sunday, holding off Ty Cole in the dark down the stretch to win the elusive title for his 18thCalhoun County Tour victory.
Wigington shot a final-round even-par 70 for a three-day total of 209, one shot better than his Sunny King Charity Classic partner and chief rival on the County Tour. Cole shot a final-round 66 and had a short chip from just off the green on 18 to force a playoff. Jacob LeCroy finished a distant third after also posting 66 in the final round.
“I’ve been close several times and not closed it out; it was a good day to be able to get it there,” he said. “It’s really the last two or three years I’ve been really wanting to get it. I’m tickled to get it, especially being 50.
“Every weekend you go out wanting to win. Thinking back on it, it is pretty cool to think I’ve won a tournament at (so many places).”
Wigington has now won Tour-sanctioned events on six of the eight Calhoun County golf courses that have been in operation during his lifetime. The only facilities missing from a total sweep are Silver Lakes (where he’s finished second three times since 2015) and Indian Oaks (which isn’t part of the Tour anymore). He has won nine of the 12 tournaments that have appeared in the Calhoun County Tour lineup, including two that don’t exist anymore, and that doesn’t county the Sunny King that he’s won a total of eight times.
Ironically, in any other year, Wigington and Cole would have been playing as partners in the Sunny King challenging for the title (they’ve won three together). Instead, they were battling it out down the stretch.
Cole closed the gap to one with a two-shot swing on the par-5 11th. They went score-for-score the next four holes until Wigington rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt from the left side of the hole on 16. Cole had a putt of a similar length on the other side of the hole and was little too firm with his attempt.
“I had been putting good pretty much all weekend and felt like I’d made a good amount of putts,” Wigington said. “It just looked good to me and it went in. I was really trying to win the thing and not just lag it up there. On 15 and 16 I was trying to make them. You can’t ease through it with (Cole) playing as good as he was today. You’ve got to keep grinding.”
But you can’t let Wigington get too far ahead, either. That was the difference for Cole, who just couldn’t catch his partner from five shots back despite posting one of the best rounds of the tournament.
“At the end of the day, he’s too good, you can’t give him five shots,” Cole said. “I’m sure everybody has their griping story for the first two days, but you can’t spot Twig five shots on any golf course and expect to come back and beat him. I gave it everything I had. Maybe if I make the putt on 2, don’t three-putt on 8 and make the putt on 9 going to the back it might be a little different, but you’ve got to make the putts when you’re five back. You just can’t spot him five shots; he’s too good. Last year was a fluke, him coming back to the field. That’s not going to happen two years in a row.”
Cole did cut the margin to one with a birdie at 17. He hit hit drive on 18 into the left trees and put his second shot just off the green to give himself a chip for birdie, but Wigington was down the middle off the tee, on the green in two and had an easy two-putt to secure one of the more fulfilling wins of his career.
LeCroy rocketed up the leaderboard with what he called one of his best rounds of golf in a couple years. His 66 featured six birdies and an eagle and could’ve been even lower without a four-putt double bogey on his second hole of the day. He shot 70-66 on the weekend after an opening-round 77.
“I knew what I was doing wrong, I just had to tune into it, focus on it,” he said. “Today was the best golf – not the best score – I’ve played in probably two years. It was ridiculous how good I played. Every hole I had 15 feet for birdie. It could’ve been something really special. It was one of those days. I just had some bad holes on the front and back.”
Adrian Geeting made a little Calhoun County Tour history when he became the first player to make two holes-in-one on the Tour. Geeting aced ACC’s fourth hole Sunday from 175 yards with an 8-iron. It was his sixth ace all-time and second on the Tour, matching one he made in the Cane Creek Invitational in 2011, one of four he recorded in a 13-month stretch.
It helped him shoot 68 and grab a share of third place in the Championship B flight.
“I didn’t really see it, but it almost caused a wreck,” he said. “Chase (Hollingsworth) was going out and when he saw it go in he started spinning out because he was getting excited. I hit it, I thought it was close, and he went nuts, I looked up and it was gone.”
NOTES: The round was delayed nearly three hours by a mid-afternoon thunderstorm that hit before the final two groups had even gotten started. Had Cole made his chip on 18 and tied Wigington for the lead, there were plans for a playoff starting on No. 16, but with darkness descending it would have been a challenge to complete … Wigington, Cole and LeCroy have won the last three ACC Invitationals … Former ACC club pro Kevin Daugherty held a share of the lead through two holes, but bogeyed three of his next four holes and finished T-5. He had won the event in the 90s prior to turning pro.

Championship Flight A
Gary Wigington 68-71-70—209
Ty Cole 71-73-66—210
Jacob Lecroy 77-70-66—213
Jackson King 70-71-73—214
Kevin Daugherty 71-69-77—217
Harrison Hughston 69-77-71—217
Randy Lipscomb 71-74-74—219
Scott Martin 71-74-75—220
Logan Archer 68-77-76—221
Lance Evans 73-73-75—221
Chip Howell 75-71-77—222
Brennan Clay 73-74-78—225
Championship Flight B
Jeremy Pannell 76-72-73—221
Garrett Burgess 78-71-73—222
Blair Hollan 73-75-75—223
Adrian Geeting 76-79-68—223
Frank Brady 77-75-73—225
Jake Goggans 74-75-77—226
Ryan Howard 74-76-77—227
Ott Chandler 71-81-75—227
Chris Cox 78-75-74—227
Clay Calkins 73-78-78—229
Maverick Smith 78-73-80—231
Jonathan Pate 77-77-78—232
Gage Miller 75-78-84—237
Championship Flight C
Ryan Huff 76-80-75—231
Chase Hollingsworth 77-79-76—232
Jeff Bain 78-80-77—235
Jeremy McGatha 78-81-77—236
Charlie Smith 76-80-81—237
Landon Winfrey 73-84-80—237
Daniel Black 74-84-81—239
Mike Hughston 78-85-76—239
Hank Smith 76-85-79—240
Matt Rogers 78-80-85—243
Jerry Kemp 78-87-84—249
Kenny Fulmer 77-90-82—249
Mark Guyther 78-93-86—257
Caleb Morrow 77-81-WD
First Flight
Andrew Gladden 71-72—143
Kyle Daugherty 76-71—147
Eric Messer 79-69—148
David Sanders 74-75—149
Scott Murphree 72-79—151
Graham Morrow 79-76—155
Randy Archer 72-84—156
Jared WaIts 77-80—157
Chris Messer 78-79—157
Benji Turley 74-86—160
Chris Leonhardt 76-84—160
Brian Stewart 77-86—163
Second Flight
John Lindsey 82-76—158
Sam Bone 81-77—158
Timmy Woodard 83-77—160
Daniel Gaddis 80-81—161
Drew Anderton 85-78—163
Lewis Lecroy 82-82—164
Chance Harris 84-80—164
Chase Thomas 81-84—165
Patrick Cooper 85-82—167
Rob Davie 85-84—169
Trey Stone 81-92—173
Kenneth Willingham 85-90—175
Greg Rainey 85-92—177
Taylor Morrow 82-WD
Third Flight
Bradley Young 87-81—168
Heath Waldrop 90-81—171
Rick Taylor 89-88—177
Michael Downey 92-87—179
Charlie Estes 86-94—180
Mark Hansil 90-96—186
Ken Reeves 100-90—190
Lamar Ward 103-92—195
Kelly Rogers 101-98—199

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