E.A. Sports Today

Etter closing in

Pine Hill pro, the defending champion, reaches PGA Section Match Play final for second year in a row 

By East Alabama Sports Today

BIRMINGHAM – Pine Hill’s Cory Etter moved closer to defending his title Wednesday when he won his semifinal match in the PGA ALNWF Section Match Play Championship at Riverchase CC.

Etter, the No. 9 seed, defeated FarmLinks director of golf Curtis Ohrn 2 up to reach the finals for the second year in a row. He has won nine straight matches in the event over the last two years and 12 of the 13 he’s played over the last three.

He will play either Jeff Jordan of Mountain Brook Club or former tour pro Todd Bailey of Rock Creek Golf Club in the championship match at a date to be determined. Jordan and Bailey have until Sept. 21 to play their match. Etter is scheduled to leave for an event at Pebble Beach on Sept. 26 and was hoping everything could be concluded by then.

Etter went on quite a roller-coaster ride in Wednesday’s match. He jumped out front 2-up after three holes and was 4-up through seven, but Ohrn, the No. 13 seed, came roaring back with birdies on 8, 10, 11 and 13 to square the match. Etter three-putted from 25 feet on 14 to go 1 down, but birdied 16 from five feet and 17 from three feet to regain the lead and then won 18 to avoid extra holes. He has been behind for only three holes in four matches of this year’s tournament.

“I had five birdies and a bogey and only win 2-up,” Etter said. “I’m walking off 7 green 4-up and thinking this is about to be over and 10 holes later I’m thinking let me get in this thing again.”

In the run-up to the semifinals, Etter defeated No. 1 seed Matt Workman of Vestavia CC in the quarterfinals, Matt Luther of the University of South Alabama and Robbie Blackwell of Prattville. Last year, he beat Rainbow City’s Jammie Lett in the finals.

“I always set myself a goal and today my goal was to try to get to 5-under as fast as I could,” Etter said. “I never got there, but I got to 4. I feel if I get to 5-under and I lose, I just got outplayed.”

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