E.A. Sports Today

First on the tee

Williams, Ricks beat the rush and become first team to register for this year’s Sunny King Charity Classic

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Nathan Williams and Daniel Ricks have been talking about playing in this year’s Sunny King Charity Classic for so long after last year’s event got postponed, they couldn’t wait for the online registration to open.

Really couldn’t wait. The online registration officially opens at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but the two Honda employees somehow got in the queue Tuesday evening.

“I didn’t even know (they signed up),” Williams said. “My partner registered us. I guess we were trying to get ahead of everybody.”

Actually, Ricks said, “there really isn’t much” to the story of them jumping on board early.

“I saw something on Facebook yesterday that said, ‘Ready, Set, Go, Sign Up,’ so I just signed up; that’s really all there is to it,” he said. “I was sitting there and since I saw that I don’t know when the next possibility I’ll have to take time out to sign up so I went ahead and signed up.”

It’s not like the committee is going to make them re-register; actually, there might even be a message in there for the rest of the field to discourage slow play. Suffice to say, the online registration is now open at the tournament website www.kingclassic.com.

This will be the longtime friends’ third SKCC appearance. They made their debut in 2018 and finished T9 in the Toyota Tacoma (Fifth) Flight with rounds of 69-69 after a tough Friday and finished 23rd in the Honda Passport (Fourth) Flight in 2019 with rounds of 68-71-76.

Of course, they were disappointed they couldn’t play last year when COVID-19 postponed the event, but it made them even more eager to play this year.

“It’s something I look forward to,” Ricks said. “I was a little bummed (when it was canceled).”

Organizers weren’t going to go two years in a row without the tournament. The event traditionally has been held the weekend after the Fourth of July, but the committee backed it up this year to give all the COVID-19 protocols that shut it down last year a chance to take hold.

Of course the dates will conflict with high school and college football and the tournament rounds will race against sundown but at least they’re having it. Organizers have expressed confidence in the past that despite the obstacles they still will draw a strong field and satisfy the commitments to their local charities.

“I think a lot of people are looking forward to playing in it later in the year,” said Williams, 29, a former Talladega College baseball player.

“Hopefully, it’ll be a little cooler,” Ricks, 34, said.

Nothing else about the tournament is expected to change. It’s still $325 per player, which includes tournament rounds, range balls and admission to all social events for the player and plus-one. Practice rounds and mulligan are extra, although mulligans ($60 total) can be purchased at the time of registration. The field will play a scramble at Silver Lakes, modified scramble at Cider Ridge and best ball at Anniston Country Club.

Because of the later date it is unlikely reigning champions Jacob LeCroy and Jacob Harper will return to challenge the record-setting 51-under-par they posted in 2019. LeCroy plays on the South Alabama golf team and will be in classes that week and Harper is carving out his pro career.

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