E.A. Sports Today

Alternate universe

Weaver senior Nick Ledbetter, the last man in the field as an alternate, makes Final Four of Calhoun County Match Play Championship

At Anniston Municipal GC
Saturday’s matches
Buddy Moore Bracket
No. 1 Brennan Clay bye
No. 9 Andrew Brooks def. No. 8 Randy Lipscomb, 3 & 2
No. 12 Matt Rogers def. No. 5 Layton Bussey, WD
No. 4 Landon Straub def. No. 13 Dalton Chandler, 7 & 6
Clay def. Brooks, 3 & 2
Straub def. Rogers, 2 & 1

Chris Banister Bracket
No. 14 Nick Ledbetter def. 3 Jeremy McGatha, 1 up
No. 6 Chad Calvert def. No. 11 Sawyer Edwards, 22 holes
No. 10 Clay Calkins def. No. 7 Gage Ledbetter, 5 & 4
No. 2 Gary Wigington bye
N. Ledbetter def. Calvert, 2 & 1
Wigington def. Calkins, 6 & 5

Sunday’s matches
Brennan Clay vs. Landon Straub, 10 a.m.
Nick Ledbetter vs. Gary Wigington, 10 a.m.
Championship match, 1:30 p.m.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Nick Ledbetter knows what you’re probably thinking about being an alternate. Just a guy they found in the field to fill out the bracket.

This weekend he’s making the field respect the alternates.

The 17-year-old Weaver senior, the deepest of three alternates in the Calhoun County Match Play Championship at Anniston Municipal, beat two of best match play players in the field Saturday and will have to play the two top seeds Sunday if he wants to win the title.

Ledbetter, the No. 14 overall seed, defeated third-seeded Jeremy McGatha 1 up in his opening match and then dispatched sixth-seeded Chad Calvert 2 and 1. He plays No. 2 seed Gary Wigington in his 10 a.m. semifinals match Sunday with a potential championship matchup against top-seeded Player of the Year Brennan Clay.

Clay will play fourth-seeded Landon Straub in the other semifinal.

“Alternates don’t expect a lot,” Ledbetter said. “They’re just playing so they have 16 people (in the brackets).

And Ledbetter didn’t have many expectations either, considering he spent the entire week at a school-sponsored FFA convention in Indiana and didn’t touch a club until hit balls for about an hour at Pine Hill Friday.

“It’s awesome to go out there and compete with all the big guys, who everybody says are the best in the county. It’s just great to be able to beat them, finally.”

Ledbetter was 3 up through 15 on McGatha, but after McGatha hit it to two inches on 16 and Ledbetter hit driver OB off the tee on 17 the margin was 1 up with one to play. They both had birdie putts on 18, but came away with par.

He went up on Calvert right off the bat, winning the first two holes. He was 3 up through, but Calvert birdied 14 to close the gap. They tied 15, Ledbetter missed a 10-footer to win the match on 16 and it ended on the next hole.

“If I would’ve played in the county championship (at The Hill) like this, I wouldn’t have been an alternate,” Ledbetter said. “I got my revenge on that golf course.”

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