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Geeting takes overnight lead in Cider Ridge Invitational after 67; it’s been 19 years since his last win in-county

By Al Muskewitz/East Alabama Sports Today

OXFORD – Everybody who tees it up in the opening round of a Calhoun County Golf Tour event is hungry to bring back a win on Sunday, but Adrian Geeting may be the hungriest of all.

The Anniston electroplater has been one of the regular and most consistent players on the Tour; he just hasn’t been able to close it out. He has won out of town, but it’s been 19 years since he last won an individual tournament in Calhoun County – the 2001 County Championship when he was 20 and before the Tour was founded – qualifying him for consideration as Best Player In Town Without a Tour Win.

Geeting moved a step closer to ending the drought Saturday when he shot 5-under-par 67 to take the first-round lead of the Cider Ridge Invitational. He leads Andrew Brooks, a one-time winner on the Tour, by one and 10-time Tour winner Jeremy McGatha by two.

“I want to (win one) bad,” Geeting said. “All my buddies have. Ott (Chandler) has won a bunch of them. (His son) Dalton’s won a bunch of them. I want to bad.

“It’s not something I think about all the time, but it’s when you get in that position you don’t want to be that player that’s never won one, that’s good enough to win one. Like Ricky Fowler is on Tour, the best player never to win a major, that kind of deal. You don’t want to be that, so yeah I’d love to win one. I’ve been right there in it all the time. Everybody expects me to.”

He’s certainly capable. He’s played in 61 Tour points events since 2010 with 38 top 10 finishes, 12 top 5s and an average finish of T-9. His best year was an abbreviated 2018 when he finished eighth, fourth and second. He was top 6 in five of six events in 2011 and top 10 in six of seven events in 2012.

A couple years ago he and Kenny Wright set the Sunny King Charity Classic scramble record at Silver Lakes. His best finish ever in a Tour event was runner-up in the 2018 County at The Hill, where he won his only title. His best finish last year was a T-3 in the season-opener at Cane Creek. He was third two other teams since 2010.

His one-shot lead at Cider Ridge is the first time he’s carried a lead into the final round of a county event since his lone win. When he won the County he took a two-shot lead into Championship Sunday and then won by a stroke over a charging McGatha.

“I just wasn’t good enough, I don’t think (to have won more); I just wasn’t at that level,” Geeting said. “That Hill thing, I was playing good golf, but I was young. And it’s the Hill. I’m playing the best golf of my life right now, the past couple years. I’ve won a bunch of stuff out of town, just not locally.

“I probably should have. It’s just I’ve never just played at the right time. Every time I play good, it’s always like Ty (Cole) shoots 58 or Twig (Gary Wigington) 62 or something like that. If 67 is leading this is the first tournament I played good when everybody else played, not bad, but mediocre.”

Both of the Tour’s all-time wins leaders had trouble Saturday. Wigington, winner of the last three events, shot 73, while Cole shot 79 (his highest round in a County Tour event since 2015 by two shots).

Geeting’s round featured a pair of three-birdie runs (7-8-9, 13-14-15), offset by one bogey. He hit 13 fairways and 16 greens. It was his best score since a 66 in the second round of the 2018 County and his best round in relation to par since a 6-under 64 in the opening round of that tournament.

“It was a pretty flawless day,” he said. 

And one that maybe gets him closer to that elusive win.

It’s hard to win on this Tour. Brooks plays on it as regularly as Geeting, playing virtually all of them until 2019, and his only win was in the 2014 year-end Match Play Championship. He was playing for only the second time this year (he was T-14 at Silver Lakes) and was only playing this week because his son Anderson’s travel baseball team he coaches didn’t have a game this weekend – until it did.

He played early and quickly, shot 68, then hustled out to the ballpark where his son’s 9U Death Valley Baseball team found a game.

“It’s a struggle to juggle the time, but I don’t regret missing some tournaments to be involved with him in that matter,” Brooks said. “It’s one of those things I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. Before I know it he’s going to be in high school and have somebody else coaching him and I’m not going to have this chance to be with him. My game’s a little more sporadic than it used to be, but for no more than I’ve played I’m fairly content with where it’s at right now.”

Taking advantage of the local knowledge he gained as a former Cider Ridge assistant and the comfort he feels playing here, Brooks posted seven birdies and an eagle in his round. It could have been even better, but he also had three bogeys and a double.

The eagle came on No. 15 after another big drive left him 120 yards from the green. He hit a gap wedge to seven feet.

And until Geeting came in with his score he held the lead.

“It’s what we play for,” he said. “All of us have a very high competitive spirit and that’s what we sign up to play for – to have the opportunity to have a shot at a title going into Sunday. It does feel good especially being at what I consider used to be my old home course. I do have a little extra confidence there than I do anywhere else on the Tour. It’s why we sign up. Outside of the camaraderie and all that, when we tee it up on the first hole we want to play as well as we can and we want to be there when the time comes with an opportunity to win.”

For Brooks, Geeting and the others in the final group Sunday, that time comes at 2:04 p.m.

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