E.A. Sports Today

Alabama wide Open

‘3 Amigos’ from Birmingham will be paired in the final group Sunday at Twin Bridges; they’ll have fun playing together, but it’ll be all business as they battle for the title

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

GADSDEN — Bo Hayes just finished signing his scorecard and took a quick glance at leaderboard as he pushed away from the table. As he saw the first page of names roll across the video screen he had one wish for Championship Sunday in the Alabama Open.

“I’m hoping all three of us can play together in the final group tomorrow,” he said. “That’ll be fun.”

Less than a half-hour later the golf gods made his wish come true.

Hayes and his regular Birmingham playing partners William Walker III and Drew Mathers separated themselves enough from the field during Saturday’s second round at Twin Bridges they will be battling it out for the title in the same 10:10 a.m. group on the final day.

Former UAB teammates Walker and Mathers both shot 67 to finish the day tied atop the leaderboard at 12-under-par 132, two shots ahead of Hayes. They’re four clear of their nearest challengers.

“I just saw Bo down there (at the range as he came off No. 9) and we talked about that for a second; that’ll be really fun,” Mathers said. “It’ll be like we’re playing a fun game at home. That’ll be nice.”

“it’s always cool to battle it out with guys you practice with all the time,” Hayes said.

As near as they can recall, it’ll be the first time they’ve been paired together in a tournament. When they’re not separated in a tournament field, you can find them playing together in regular rounds at Greystone (where Hayes and Mathers are members) and Shoal Creek (where Walker calls home).

And those matches are intense.

“We exchange money back and forth every day,” Mathers said. “It’ll be fun tomorrow.”

And if the group plays like it has the first two days of the tournament, it’ll be a shootout.

Walker played a bogey-free round for the second straight day in his Alabama Open debut, which was a nice sign as he sharpens his game in preparation for Q-school. He was 3-under on the front and 2-under on the back.

“It’s always a goal, but this week the course isn’t really that long, it’s more like a shot-placing course, so I’ve been trying to really just place my ball in the right spots and commit to every shot and it’s worked out so far,” he said. “I gave myself a few hard par putts, but I made them, so I can’t really complain about that.

“I’ve been playing well at home and it’s nice to put two good rounds together for a tournament. Hopefully I can go out tomorrow and finish it off … I really think it’s going to be a battle. I know Drew’s playing well. I know Bo’s playing well. I can’t really let up.”

Mathers got off to a 59 watch kind of start. Starting on the back nine, he birdied each of his first four holes and five of his first six. He was 7-under through 13 holes, but finished double bogey, birdie, bogey.

“Going into today I thought if I could shoot anything from 5- to 7- to 8-under I would be in the final group at least or either have the lead or be tied,” he said. “I was just focusing on getting the ball in play today. I kind of fell apart at the end, but overall I played really good. Tomorrow, if I just do the same thing and eliminate the bogeys I should be all right. But it’s just a matter of doing it.”

Hayes grabbed the opening-round lead with a stress-free 8-under 64. On Friday, he played the par-5s in 6-under with a pair of eagles. He was only 1-under on the same set of holes Saturday.

“It was definitely more stressful today,” he said. “I didn’t play the par-5s nearly as well.  I just didn’t take care of the par-5s. It was basically the same round, just minus the 6-under on the par-5s from yesterday. I actually thought I hit better putts today, I just didn’t have any go in.”

Forty-one players made the cut to Sunday at 7-over or better. Oxford’s Harrison Hughston made it on the number and he’ll be joined in the round by Centre’s Nick Sawyer, Cider Ridge director of golf Jammie Lett, Twin Bridges assistant Tee Brown and Ty Cole.

ALABAMA OPEN (Top 15)
William Walker III, Tuscaloosa6567132
Drew Mathers, Mobile6567132
Bo Hayes, Birmingham6470134
Todd Bailey, Daphne6870138
Mike Genovese, Loxley6969138
Paul McClure, Mobile6870138
a-Jake DeZoort, Northport6871139
a-Price Brown, Mobile6970139
a-Paul Bruce, Guntersville7168139
Noah Dennis, Trussville7168139
a-Ross Napier, Hartselle7168139
Christian Bosso, Pensacola, Fla.7168139
Jacob Greer, Sterrett7071141
Colby Odom, Priceville 6873141
a-Ty Cole, Albertville7072142

Ledbetter leads Dub Ellis

CENTRE — Gage Ledbetter shot his career-best 9-under-par 62 Saturday to grab the first-round lead in the Dub Ellis Invitational at the Cherokee County Country Club. He leads by two over John Rollins.

Ledbetter, who played in the final Sunday group most recently in the Etowah Open at Briarmeade, had seven birdies and an eagle on No. 14. He played holes 6 through 10 in 4-under.

“My game is headed in the right direction,” he said.

DUB ELLIS INVITATIONAL
CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Gage Ledbetter62
John Rollins64
Vance Lewis65
Chad Hare67
Keaton Stanfield70
Chris Sprayberry71
FIRST FLIGHT
Kurt Duryea72
Shane Porter73
Colin Edwards74
Greg Hare75
Pat Cooper76
Sean Edwards76
Paul Wynn76
Tim Hill76
SECOND FLIGHT
Luke Goss79
Kyle Burgess81
Christian Stinson84
Ian Edwards94

Sunday pairings

8 a.m.: Luke Goss, Kyle Burgess, Christian Stinson, Ian Edwards
8:10: Pat Cooper, Sean Edwards, Paul Wynn, Tim Hill
8:30: Kurt Duryea, Shane Porter, Colin Edwards, Greg Hare
9:00: Chad Hare, Keaton Stanfield, Chris Sprayberry
9:10: Gage Ledbetter, John Rollins, Vance Lewis

ACC Club Championship

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT
Jacob LeCroy65
Gary Wigington68
Kevin Daugherty69
Chad Key71
Freeman Fite71
Jake Goggans72
Kenny Wright74
Greg Shultz74
FIRST FLIGHT
Charlie Smith75
Graham Morrow76
Timmy Woodard77
Ryan Howard77
Cypress Hathorn77
Will Broome78
Jack Svensen78
Wes Couch78
Chandler Wilborn78
SECOND FLIGHT
Al Johnson79
Andrew Morris79
Matt Hunter80
Rob Svensen80
Trey Stone82
Taylor Jones83
Henry Pritchett83
Tyler Teneyck84
Caleb Morrow84
THIRD FLIGHT
Tyler McNickle84
Mark L. Cotton85
Kenneth Willingham86
Ryan Huff87
Clay Blackwell87
Matt Hartdegen89
Steve Gendron90
Shaughn Rankin90
FOURTH FLIGHT
Chase Thomas93
Manu Sharma94
Dustin Merritt95
Zach Limberis95
Jimmy Ulrey98
Brian Woodfin99
Kris Key100
Eric Stringer106
SENIOR FLIGHT
David Sanders72
John Carrozza78
Tom Roberts84
Don Whitlow106


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