E.A. Sports Today

LeCroy laps field

LeCroy runs away with his second ACC title, shooting 10-under 200 and winning by 13; Howell scores ace

Here’s a comparison of Jacob LeCroy accepting the championship trophy from pro Steven Driggers after winning the ACC Invitational in 2018 (left) and Sunday.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jacob LeCroy remembered the feeling last year when he went into the final round of the Wilfred Galbraith Anniston Country Club Invitational with the lead and let it get away.

It wasn’t the driving force behind his play this weekend, but it was in the back of his mind and he was determined not to have that feeling again.

He didn’t. Not by a mile.

To say the South Alabama junior ran away with the tournament is an understatement. He shot a final-round 66 and won his home club’s invitational for the second time in five years by a margin that made Tiger Woods’ rout of Stephen Ames in the PGA Tour’s 2006 Match Play look like a nail biter.

He shot 10-under-par 200 for the three-day tournament and won by a whopping 13 shots. It was reminiscent of the show he and Jacob Harper put on in winning the 2019 Sunny King Charity Classic. The 10-under was two strokes better than his winning score in 2018, which had been the tournament’s lowest winning score since at least 2014. No one had won it by more than four in that same period.

And it wasn’t like he was playing against a bunch of choose-up superstars who need strokes to make it interesting. He beat the best players on the Calhoun County Golf Tour, players he looked up to as a developing player. Former ACC pro Kevin Daugherty and former Samford golf coach Woodie Eubanks were tied for second at 213. Gary Wigington finished fourth and Brennan Clay tied for fifth.

Last year he went into the final round with a two-shot lead, but met all kinds of disaster on the opening hole, from hitting his first drive out of bounds and stepping in a fire-ant mound once he got one in play, made 7, then bogeyed 3, 4 and 5 to fall three shots off the lead. He got back into the mix on the back nine, but Ty Cole eventually won it with a 15-foot birdie putt on 18.

“It really upset me because I just wasn’t in it at all, like, mentally and I came out here today trying to shoot absolutely nothing,” LeCroy said. “I was still going to take my smart plays if I ever got into bad situation, but I’ve been hitting the ball really well.

“I just wanted to go out there and play good golf. I just wanted to show up, see what the golf course gave me and see if I could capitalize. This is one I’ve been wanting to win. This is my home track and if I’m a good player no one is supposed to come to my home course and beat me and I got to show that today and the last two days.”

It didn’t start well. He birdied the first hole, but bogeyed 2 and 3 that closed the gap. It looked to get really interesting on 5 when LeCroy’s tee shot landed well short of the green and Wigington’s shot looked like it was going to roll in for a 1. But LeCroy actually gained ground on the hole when he chipped in for 2 and Wigington missed his birdie putt.

The lead was nine at the turn after he made birdie at 9 on the heels of a 370-yard drive and was 10 with eight holes to play. LeCroy said he had “no idea” how much he was leading by once the round began.

“I knew coming into the day, I didn’t care after I teed off,” he said. “I kind of lost count really quick because I wasn’t playing against them I was playing against basically myself.”

But even before the round started it appeared the field was playing for second place. LeCroy went into the day with a seven-shot lead after back-to-back 67s and a birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie finish on Saturday. 

“It was a good tournament for second place, a really good tournament,” Daugherty said. “I was just trying to hang in there and fight it out for second. I was pretty happy to be playing in the group in front of them. I could just pretend like I was behind all day and keep charging and charging just trying to make birdies and not get caught up in how I stood with Twig and Woodie and those guys. I was just playing.”

Chip Howell had the shot of the day when he aced No. 4 in Sunday’s final round. It was his seventh hole-in-one and second in competition.

Chip Howell had the shot of the day. He scored a hole-in-one on No. 4 with a 4-hybrid. It was his seventh ace ever, second on ACC’s fourth hole and second in competition. His first in competition came a couple weeks ago in the opening round of the State Senior Championship at Gadsden Country Club.

“Andrew Brooks and that group were on 5 tee and I told the guys (in his group) they’re kind of in my eye,” Howell said. “I hit it right to that spot on the right side of the green the first two days, that was my target area, and I just had a little hybrid like 170. As soon as I hit it, it never got off the hole, and Jake (Goggans) and Clay (Calkins) said, ‘What a great swing.’ I was picking up the tee and they said, ‘That’s close; my God, it’s in.’

“It was interesting. The other one I made on that hole it kinds of shows the age and the distance factor. It was on the back left when I made that one and I hit the same club. That was like 190. This was 170 and I hit the same club.”

He thought he had made two in a row as his tee shot on 5 disappeared from view and settled on the back of the green.

NOTES: The back nine was really good to the champion. LeCroy played the side in 11-under for the week with 10 birdies and an eagle and was 8-under on the final four holes … Layton Bussey scored the last hole-in-one in a Calhoun County Golf Tour event, acing No. 2 at Gadsden CC in the opening round of last year’s Gadsden Invitational. Adrian Geeting aced No. 4 at ACC in the final round of the its 2020 Invitational … Ryan Howard’s short putting woes continued in the final round and he did bring out the wedge to putt on No. 7 green. There were two holes he didn’t need the putter, chipping in from off the green for a much-needed birdie on 4 and holing out from the fairway on 13 for eagle … Will Reaves and Ross Napier were paired together in the final round. Their fathers (Randy and Jack) played golf together at Jacksonville State … The next event on the Calhoun County Golf Tour is the Anniston City Championship at Cane Creek June 25-26.

Wilfred Galbraith ACC Invitational

Jacob LeCroy676766200
Kevin Daugherty756969213
Woodie Eubanks727170213
Gary Wigington726974215
Brennan Clay697574218
Freeman Fite727373218
Landon Straub737273218
Ryan Howard707179220
Eric Howle727375220
Jaylon Ellison747373220
Andrew Gladden717479224
Randy Lipscomb757178224
Sawyer Edwards727579226
Ty Cole737771221
Layton Bussey767372221
Ross Napier757472221
Jeremy McGatha747475223
Dalton Chandler747477225
Chip Howell797572226
Will Reaves747677227
Chandler Wilborn767477227
Harrison Hughston777674227
Timmy Woodard797377229
Scott Martin787676230
Jonathan Pate777480231
Morton Holcomb7579WD
Andrew Brooks758276233
Gage Miller778175233
Jake Goggans777977233
Clay Calkins758079234
Chad Key797781237
Nick Ledbetter778476237
Blayne Armstrong808080240
Brandon Fincher807884242
Cain Hollingsworth778283242
Hunter Carr788982249
Cole McNeal807793250
Cohen Picton809285257
Taylor Morrow8080WD
Zach Mangum7474148
Tyler Simmons7474148
Ott Chandler7575150
Matt Hunter7677153
Billy Thompson7677153
Will Broome7776153
Keaton Borrelli7683159
Mark Durden7980159
Dyron Johnson7783160
Eric Boutwell7884162
Michael Downey7887165
Wesley Jenkins7889167
Matt Rogers8476160
Luke Armstrong8479163
Brian Stewart8480164
Charlie Smith8184165
Tyler Huckeby8682168
Houston Black8289171
Riley Boyd8587172
Henry Pritchett8489173
Lamar Carter8391174
Heath Waldrop8491175
Haden Downey8496180
Shaughn Rankin8694180
Mark Hartdegen82104186
Addison Wood86WD
Don Springer8281163
Tom Roberts8591176
Don Whitlow9389182
Noah Flynn8777164
Sawyer Parks8978166
Jason Britton8782168
Greg Rainey8784171
Sean Kline8983172
Taylor Jones8785172
Corey Mize8885173
Andrew Betts8789176
Kenneth Willingham8890178
Chance Haywood8991180
Josh Davis8895193
Drey Reeves87WD
Joe Hedgepeth9277169
Jason Payne9476170
Eric Stringer9189180
Will Hollingsworth9289181
Austin Elliott9191182
Alex Freeman9389182
Kolby Slick9192183
Johnny Barnes10186187
Zach Limberis9498192
Matt Peters91101192
Adam Benefiel98101199
Keith Hutcheson105103208
Marlee Hedgepeth111108219
Jake Pollard91WD
Kelly Rogers95WD

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