E.A. Sports Today

Satisfying finish

Wigington downs Clay in on-course showdown of County Tour’s top two players for Calhoun County Match Play crown

At Anniston Municipal GC
Sunday’s semifinals
Brennan Clay def. Landon Straub, 4&3
Gary Wigington def. Nick Ledbetter, 7&6
Consolation match
Nick Ledbetter def. Landon Straub, 6&4
Championship match
Gary Wigington def. Brennan Clay, 3&2

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The last time Gary Wigington left the parking lot at Anniston Municipal Golf Course, he was lamenting a rare pair of triple bogeys on the back nine in the final round of the Calhoun County Championship that brought a cascade of results.

It cost him the county championship and the season-long Player of the Year race. It dropped him into a tie with Brennan Clay atop the Calhoun County Golf Tour points and the tiebreakers gave Clay top billing on the county tour.

They basically had the same type of seasons with wins and results – they even tied for sixth in the county tournament – but the Player of the Year was awarded on a tiebreaker. Two guys couldn’t have been more even – and then they met on the course Sunday for a final showdown.

It won’t change the outcome of the Player of the Year award, but Wigington did gain a little end-of-season satisfaction when he defeated Clay 3 and 2 for the Calhoun County Match Play Championship.

“That’s always a hard way to kind of lose and not being able to go out there and just settle it on the course,” Wigington said. “I guess it was settled on the course; I don’t know. I hadn’t thought a whole lot about it because when you have two triple bogeys on the last nine of the county tournament you don’t deserve to win.

“Eliminate one of those and end up winning pretty handily the county and the Tour for the year, but that was me. It wasn’t anything anybody else did it was just stupid play on my part.

“But today being able to go out on the course and play it out, I wanted to win. It’s been close all year. I’ve been hitting it better. I’m still make some dumb mistakes and kind of eliminated all those stupid mistakes I’d been making all year long.”

It was Wigington’s second straight Match Play title and fourth in the last seven years. He has been in the finals in six of those seven years and seven of the last nine.

Wigington was on top of his game this weekend. He never trailed in any of his three matches and none went past the 16th hole. He beat Clay Calkins 6&5 in the second round after drawing a first-round bye and Nick Ledbetter 7&6 in the semifinals.

“With this format I just tried to stay very aggressive all day,” he said.

In the championship match he won the first three holes and was 5-up through 11, but Clay made a charge in the middle of the back nine to close the gap and draw praise from his opponent. Clay won 12, 14 (eagle) and 15 to cut his deficit to 2-down, then Wigington made a 15-foot birdie on 16 to close the match. Even then, Clay nearly chipped in from just off the green to keep the match going.

“Just a disastrous start losing the first three holes,” Clay said. “You can’t get behind that early like that against him. If I make that putt on 11 and get up and down on 13, I may have won five (holes) in a row. Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.”

All four players in the Final Four got two matches Sunday. Ledbetter bounced back from his semifinals loss to beat Landon Straub in the consolation match 6&4. The Weaver senior was 6-under-par over his 14 holes. 

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 def. Landon Straub, 4&3
Gary Wigington def. Nick Ledbetter, 7&6
Consolation match
Nick Ledbetter def. Landon Straub, 6&4
Championship match
Gary Wigington def. Brennan Clay, 3&2

2010: Ott Chandler def. Janson Wilborn
2011: Matt Rogers def. Frank Brady
2012: Gary Wilborn def. Ott Chandler
2013: Gary Wilborn def. Grant Hockman
2014: Andrew Brooks def. Gary Wigington
2015: Caleb McKinney def. Kevin Daugherty
2016: Gary Wigington def. Dalton Chandler
2017: Chad Calvert def. Gary Wigington
2018: Gary Wigington def. Chad Calvert
2019: Jeremy McGatha def. Chad Calvert
2020: Brennan Clay def. Gary Wigington
2021: Gary Wigington def. Andrew Brooks
2022: Gary Wigington def. Brennan Clay

You must be logged in to post a comment Login