E.A. Sports Today

A Ty at the top

Four players are tied for the first-round lead in the Gadsden City Championship at Twin Bridges GC; updated with Sunday pairings

Gary Wigington (L) and Chad Calvert survey the contours of the 12th green during Saturday’s opening round of the Gadsden City Championship at Twin Bridges.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN – If you’ve got game, no matter how much you lay off it, you just got game.

Ty Cole figures he’s played 2½ rounds of golf in the last six months – and none under true tournament conditions – but when it came time to stick a peg in the ground for the first Calhoun County Golf Tour event of the season Ty became, well, the Ty everyone expects on the golf course.

Even if he was a little rusty, the Etowah County native birdied his first three holes of the season, shot 4-under-par 68 and  held a piece of the four-way tie for the lead after the opening-round of the Gadsden City Championship at Twin Bridges Golf Club.

“Today was smoke and mirrors,” he said. 

All four 68s – Cole, Gary Wigington, Corey Ray and Timmy Woodard – will play in the final group for the newest championship on the Calhoun County Golf Tour. They hold a one-shot lead over Chad Calvert. Jake Goggans is another shot back.

Since September Cole played in a scramble with his father, played a round on his home course and played another he couldn’t complete because of pain in his shoulder. Truth be told, he probably wouldn’t have played this week had good friend Luke Armstrong not torn up his four-wheeler, a hobby that’s really grabbed the four-time County Tour Player of the Year’s attention.

“Normally I’ll take the winter off, but by about mid-February I’m itching to play,” he said. “This year my wife literally looked at me two weeks ago and said are you ever going to play golf again and I said not as long as somebody will go riding ATVs with me. That’s my new thing. It’s stress-free. I never three-putt …”

So with that as the backdrop, he had no idea what to expect when he got to the golf course Saturday.

So what’s he do? Birdies the first three holes of the round like he played just the other day.

There were hiccups that creeped in. He didn’t birdie either of the back-to-back par-5s on the front, three-putted 7, hit it in the water off the tee with a hybrid on 10 and effectively three-putted the par-5 11th. He birdied 14 and 15, then parred into the clubhouse.

“Luke asked me what I thought it’d be like and I told him it’s going to shoot anywhere from 65 to 85 and I have no idea what it’s going to be between there,” Cole said. “And 85 was generous because it could have been 90.”

The question becomes now that he hasn’t played in a while and finds himself right in the thick of it, is golf back on the front burner?

“The competitiveness will kick in,” he said. “But I know I haven’t played, so I have no expectations.”

It may be a new season but Wigington found himself in the old position at the top of the leaderboard. The reigning County Tour Player of the Year won five of seven events last season and finished second in the other two. He has been second or better in eight of his last nine Tour points events.

He would have held the lead outright had he not bogeyed the last hole from 90 yards. But that’s kind of how the day went for him. He lost ground by playing the gettable first four holes in only 1-under, but got back into it with three straight birdies coming though the turn as part of five birdies in a seven-hole stretch.

“It should’ve been a lot better score than that because it was out there,” he said. “It was overall a solid round, but not quite there.

“It was one of those rounds that could’ve been real good, just too inconsistent, too many bad shots. You can never argue with that kind of number, but there were a lot of wasted shots … Hopefully things will come around and fall into place like it did last year and we can have a good year.”

Timmy Woodard posted the 68 first. His go-for-the-pin approach produced his lowest round ever and featured seven birdies, including all four par-5s and three of the four par-3s that he hit inside 10 feet.

He could’ve taken it deeper, but missed a three-foot birdie putt on 4, left an eagle putt inches short and had two three-putt bogeys. Still, he was pleased with his play and excited to be playing in the final group on Championship Sunday for the first time.

“I know the guys out there,” he said. “If I play my best game I think I can compete. It’s just getting the doubles and stuff out.”

It usually takes Ray a little while to knock the rust off, but he started fast with birdies on his first two holes and closed with his fifth birdie of the round.

He got a couple “fortunate breaks” in between, none bigger than having his tee ball on 17 skip across the water onto the bank where he punched a sand wedge back into play and got up and down from 100 yards for par.

“That was a pretty uncharacteristic shot for me,” he said. “Something about that did not feel comfortable and it showed.

“This is the first time I played out here since they redid the greens so I was struggling with speed a little bit, but overall it was a pretty solid round.”

NOTES: Woodard’s seven birdies tied his Tour best, matching his output in the second round of the 2019 County Championship … Two players in the field were getting back in the game after long absences. Greg Burnett, who was one of the county’s best players back in the day, was playing his first tournament in 17 years; he shot 89 with a birdie. Craig Messer was in his first tournament in 15 years; he shot 82. Both stepped away followed the birth of children. “That was fun,” Messer said. “It felt good to be back. I definitely had nerves the first couple holes, but it was good nerves. I expected better. It was my putting. I’ll come around.” …

Will Brown played one of his best rounds in a Tour event. His 71 is three shots off the lead. He was 5-under on the back after four straight birdies and 2-under for the round through 17. His drive on 18 found the left side hazard, but he took a stroke and salvaged bogey. He shot 2-under 68 in the opening round of last year’s County Championship at The Hill. “I think it’s one of those goals like breaking 80 or breaking par that you finally broke the ice in a stroke-play event and made it happen,” he said of breaking par in a Tour event. ““Four (birdies) in a row for me anytime, in the dogfight at Pine Hill, is good; four in a row in a tournament is nice. Struggled a little bit on 18, but got it done.”

Gadsden City Championship

Championship A
Timmy Woodard



Corey Ray343468
Gary Wigington353368
Ty Cole 333568
Chad Calvert363369
Jake Goggans363470
Will Brown393271
Harrison Hughston373471
Andrew Brooks393372
Brennan Clay363672
Caleb McKinney353772
Championship B
Chase Hollingsworth



Tanner Wells353873
Dane Moore363773
Logan Forrester363773
Clay Calkins393473
Norman Clifton393473
Hunter Carr403474
Bill Gilchrist393574
Jody Wooten393675
Jeremy McGatha363975
Casey Harmon363975
Matt Miller363975
Championship C
Danny Whittaker



Chance Harris383876
Chandler Richards383876
Chip Howell364076
Johnny Barnes364076
Tee Brown413576
Layton Bussey383876
Chris Cox393877
Mike Hughston383977
Nick Hubbard383977
Jeremy Willis393877
Will Broome403777
Josh Poole383977
First flight
Daily Thomas



Mason Dennis403878
Eric Ray413778
Mark Guyther393978
Dustin Travis384078
Nick Pollard423678
Randy Lipscomb354479
Drey Reeves394079
Ted Heim403979
Blake Grisham394180
Matt Greer413980
Matt Rogers404080
Lamar Carter413980
Second flight
Dre Davenport



Holland Corbin394382
Craig Messer433982
Daniel Ricks414182
Drew Anderton384583
Justin Goree404585
Clayton Chandler414485
Jason Payne434285
Clay Smith444286
Nathan Williams374986
Zach Mangum394786
Third flight
Mark Gaines



Jeff Chapman454388
Tyler Dopson434588
Maverick Smith444589
Greg Burnett444589
Kenny Fulmer454590
Scott Jimmerson444892
Houston Black454994
Kelly Rogers474895
Randy Watson514798
Keith Hutcheson435699
Adam Benefiel5155106
Dennis MoyerWD
Chase ThomasWD
Mark McCaigDNS

Sunday pairings

8 a.m.: Randy Watson, Keith Hutcheson, Adam Benefiel
8:07: Scott Jimmerson, Houston Black, Kelly Rogers
8:15: Greg Burnett, Maverick Smith, Kenny Fulmer
8:22: Mark Gaines, Jeff Chapman, Tyler Dopson
8:30: Zach Mangum, Clay Smith, Nathan Williams
8:37: Drew Anderton, Clayton Chandler, Justin Goree, Jason Payne
8:45: Dre Davenport, Corbin Holland, Craig Messer, Daniel Ricks
8:52: Lamar Carter, Matt Greer, Blake Grisham, Matt Rogers
9:00: Ted Heim, Randy Lipscomb, Drey Reeves
9:07: Eric Ray, Daily Thomas, Dustin Travis
9:15: Mason Dennis, Mark Guyther, Nick Pollard
9:22: Mike Hughston, Josh Poole, Jeremy Willis
9:30: Will Broome, Chris Cox, Nick Hubbard
9:37: Chip Howell, Chandler Richards, Danny Whittaker
9:45: Johnny Barnes, Tee Brown, Layton Bussey, Chance Harris
9:52: Casey Harmon, Jeremy McGatha, Matt Miller, Jody Wooten
10:00: Dane Moore, Tanner Wells, Hunter Carr, Bill Gilchrist
10:07: Clay Calkins, Norman Clifton, Logan Forrester, Chase Hollingsworth
10:15: Andrew Brooks, Brennan Clay, Caleb McKinney
10:22: Chad Calvert, Jake Goggans, Will Brown, Harrison Hughston
10:30: Ty Cole, Corey Ray, Gary Wigington, Timmy Woodard

You must be logged in to post a comment Login