E.A. Sports Today

LeCroy repeats

South Alabama junior pulls away on Backbreaker 9 to win RTJ Championship at Silver Lakes for second year in a row

Jacob LeCroy steps into his putt on the 14th hole Sunday in the RTJ Championship at Silver Lakes.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

SILVER LAKES – The crew at Silver Lakes that set up the golf course Sunday moved the tees up on the first hole of the Backbreaker to bring some fun, excitement, risk and drama to the start of the back nine. It did what it meant to do.

Only one shot separated Jacob LeCroy and Alex Harper at the top of the leaderboard when the final group reached the now drivable par-4. When they walked off the green, LeCroy’s lead was four and the South Alabama junior was on his way to winning the RTJ Championship for the second year in a row by a wide margin.

LeCroy shot a final-round 69 and had a two-putt birdie on 18 to put an exclamation point on a 10-under-par 134. Because of the way the back nine unfolded, he won by six shots over Gary Wigington and seven over Brennan Clay, who raced up the leaderboard from the First Flight with the best round of the day (65). Harper finished tied for sixth overall.

“I’m excited to go back-to-back,” LeCroy said. “I showed up that first day and played an unbelievable round of golf and that kind of catapulted me (to the win).”

Last year he needed birdie on the final hole to win and did them one better with an eagle at the last to win by two. This year’s tournament turned out to be not as stressful, but that didn’t stop him from grinding all the way to the end.

The tournament turned when the group turned from the Heartbreaker to Backbreaker. By the time LeCroy and Harper made the turn, they had put some distance between themselves and their playing partners and separated themselves from the rest of the field. It looked like it was going to be a two-man shootout on the back nine.

Moving the tee up on Backbreaker 1 gave players the option to roll the dice. LeCroy pulled out a driver and his his shot off the tee found the deep bunker in front of the green. Harper tried to hit a trapped 5-iron safely up the fairway, but pull hooked it right to the edge of the left grassy hazard.

Standing in the high grass, he tried to make the smart recovery, but the shot came out hot and found the tall stuff left of the green. He made solid contact on his flop shot, but it caught a small limb and knocked down. His recovery didn’t make it to the green and it took him two to get it in the hole for double-bogey 6.

LeCroy, meanwhile, blasted out of the bunker to 10 feet behind the hole and made the putt for birdie. He went to 9-under and Harper fell to 5.

“I thought it was the right play overall,” he said. “I’d rather be in the bunker than the rough. I didn’t hit it good and wound up in the bunker and probably the only bad thing that could happen is getting a bad lie. I had a decent lie and I had to get it up pretty quick.” 

Harper’s trouble didn’t end there. He bogeyed five of the next six holes and fell off the pace.

It wasn’t that the Backbreaker 1 totally deflated him mentally. The swing flaw he had been trying to fix for the longest time and stayed away for 27 holes just emerged at the worst possible time.

“I made four of those hooks swings and it cost me five or six shots,” he said. “Four bad swings I’ve been working with Jammie (Lett) at Cider Ridge to fix because that’s the mistake I’ve been making since college.

“The same thing happened at Cider Ridge. I finished the tournament there 5-over and had a 10 and three doubles; do the math. I’m 8-under if you eliminate those and every one of them were flip hooks. But it’s getting better because I played 27 holes (here) without hitting a flip hook.”

While it might not have happened for him Sunday, Harper, who caddies for former PGA and Korn Ferry Tour pro Willy Wilcox, had nothing but praise for the way LeCroy golfed his ball.

“Jacob truly has the golf swing, speed, fundamentals and extension through impact of a Tour player,” he said. “And the two guys he works with are PGA/Korn Ferry players’ coaches, so he’s getting top-end instruction. No doubt he’s got aa legit chance to play for a living. I hope to see it.”

NOTES: Since 2018 LeCroy has played six events on the Calhoun County Golf Tour. He has three wins and two thirds … The runner-up finish was Wigington’s 30th since joining the CCGT … Clay’s 65 featured six birdies, a bogey and a hole-out from the bunker for eagle on Heartbreaker 7. He played the par-5s in 5-under Sunday. “It’s amazing what you do when you play the par-5s great, which out here you have to do to play good,” he said. Clay has finished third in each of his two CCGT starts this season … The next event on the CCGT is the Wilfred Galbraith Anniston CC Invitational June 3-5.

Alex Harper plays his second shot on Backbreaker No. 1 from the edge of the hazard. The hole opened the door for Jacob LeCroy’s victory.

RTJ Championship

Jacob LeCroy6569134
Gary Wigington6872140
Dane Moore6973142
Zach Contris7171142
Dalton Chandler7271143
Alex Harper6677143
Jeremy McGatha7275147
Harrison Hughston7078148
Landon Straub7569144
Nick Lee7472146
Jason Britton7572147
Will Reaves7475149
Corey Ray7476150
Chris Cox7377150
Chandler Richards7576151
Luke Armstrong7478152
Chad Calvert7380153
Layton Bussey7380153
Nick Ledbetter7380153
Clay Calkins7579154
Cain Hollingsworth7482156
Brennan Clay7665141
Jeff Chapman7774151
Shawn Ledbetter7775152
Randy Reaves7776153
Daily Thomas 7877155
Randy Lipscomb7778155
Chase Hollingsworth7679155
Jody Wooten7779156
Casey Harmon7781158
Matt Rogers7687163
Jake Goggans7688164
Hunter Carr7887165
Mason Dennis8072152
Morton Holcomb7975154
Ott Chandler8077157
Chris Sanford7978157
Alex Argo7979158
Tanner Wells7979158
Patrick Cooper8179160
Robert Daniel8180161
Cole Contris8183164
Trent Ralston7986165
Mike Hughston8185166
Vance Lewis7992171
Jake Williams8194175
Ted Heim8095175
Cole McNeal80100180
Jeff Bain8375158
Michael Casey8474158
Corey Mize8279161
Ethan Davis8480164
Joseph Hedgepeth8282164
Zack Graham8583168
Daniel Black8385168
Mike Lett8685171
Tyler Romine8582172
Jared Patterson8687173
Joe Williams8390173
Cliff Tucker8292174
Matt Greer8492176
Noah Huckeba8691177
Logan Forrester8878166
Nathan Williams9082172
Dre Davenport8786173
Jason Payne8886174
Mike Ledbetter9086176
Jeff Noah8790177
Craig Graves9289181
Kevin Godshall9192183
Bill Gilchrist8796183
Mason Aulsbrook9293185
David Scruggs8997186
Cam Hurst9880178
Danny Casey9488182
Parker Staton9390183
Fisher Prichard10190191
Scott Jimmerson93101194
Gavin Johnson10295197
Kenny Fulmer94104198
Mark Rains 108102210
Marlee Hedgepeth104107211
Keith Hutcheson112100212
Andy Lang108108216
Tyrell Tucker99WDWD

Jacob LeCroy comes off the 18th green Sunday after successfully defending his title in the RTJ Championship at Silver Lakes

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