E.A. Sports Today

Cole blooded

Cool Cole finishes with birdie in the rain to edge Okins, Graveman for a one-stroke stroke victory in Oxford City Championship

Ty Cole putts to finish off his victory in the Oxford City Championship on Sunday at Cider Ridge as Brennan Clay (middle) and Andrew Brooks watch. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/Gunghophotos.com)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

CIDER RIDGE — The hole that marred Ty Cole’s mood Saturday became his birdie for the win on Sunday, and a tournament he nearly missed became his second win on the 2023 Calhoun County Golf Tour.

Cole fought off Kenny Okins’ Sunday surge, sinking a 4-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to clinch a one-stroke victory in the Oxford City Championship at Cider RIdge.

Cole’s bagged his second Tour victory this year, the first coming at Twin Bridges in June, and his 24th Tour victory overall.

Cole’s par-72 round on Sunday backed up a 64 on Saturday to finish at 8-under 136. It was just enough to edge Okins, who led by two strokes through 15 holes while shooting a Sunday-best 66, and Justin Graveman by one shot.

Cole very nearly didn’t play in the Oxford City Championship. He wasn’t listed in Thursday night’s release of tee times but called Friday to get back in.

“It was just one of those deals,” he said. “I had committed a long time ago, and then kind of committed to a buddy of mine. I was kind of going back and forth.”

When Cole saw Scottsboro’s Thomas Looney was playing in the Scottsboro-based tourney, he changed course again.

“Realistically, up there, you’re not going to beat him,” Cole said. “I would’ve literally been going up there to play for second.”

Cole prevailed in the season’s fifth Calhoun County Tour points event.

Because of rain throughout the week, including a 3-inch downpour on Friday, Cider Ridge pro Cory Etter placed the field on shorter white tees on Saturday. The Championship A and B flights played on longer blue tees on Sunday.

“Shooting par ended up being good enough,” Cole said. “Kenny played great. To shoot that number from those tees, and where the pins were, that’s a damned good score.”

Every stroke mattered, including Cole’s 25-foot putt to save bogey on No. 9.

Then came the big finish on No. 18, which had its own back story. His bogey on 18 Saturday soured his mood after a round that otherwise featured nine birdies. He left the course abruptly to work through misadventures from just outside the bunker and in the bunker and a missed 8-foot putt.

On Sunday, Cole caught two breaks that helped him score the decisive birdie on 18. 

He hit four inches behind the ball on his 5-iron second shot, but the shot settled just short of the green, and not in the sand trap that bedeviled him Saturday.

Rain started to fall before his third shot.

“The rain helped on 18 because I could skip it from the fringe,” Cole said. “If it wouldn’t have rained, I didn’t know what I was going to do. When it rained, and the grass got wet, I knew I could skip it.”

His third shot settled 4 feet short of the hole, and rain became a motivator as he sought to avoid a playoff.

“I’m standing over the putt going, ‘You’re playing in the rain if you miss it. You’re playing in the rain if you miss it,’” Cole said. “That was going through my head. I did not want to play in the rain.”

Kenny Okins hits during Sunday’s final round of the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge. (Photo by B.J. Franklin/Gunghophotos.com)

Okins, who began the day in the Championship B Flight after shooting a 71 on Saturday, hoped for a hole or two in the rain.

Playing four groups ahead of Cole’s final group, Okins reached 8 under par for the day with a birdie on 15. That birdie put him at 9 under for the tournament, then two strokes ahead of Cole.

The former White Plains High and Southern Union Community College golfer shot his big number for the day using irons.

“I didn’t hit anything more than a 3 iron today,” he said. “I’ve been struggling with my driver bad. 

“I played real consistent for the first 15 holes. I hit about every fairway, almost every green and made a lot of putts.”

Okins said he became aware of his score relative to Cole’s after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11. Okins’ momentum changed when he missed a 2-foot par putt on 16.

After parring 17, he hit into the woods on 18 and had to chip out. He missed a 12-foot par putt.

He wound up tied for the tournament’s second-best score and first place in the Championship B Flight, where he started the day. He called his run at a Tour victory “kind of crazy.”

“I’m done playing college golf, and I really hadn’t been playing much,” he said. “It was unexpected, to say the least. I can’t lie. I was kind of shocking myself out there.”

Final scores

Ty Cole6472136
Justin Graveman6671137
Gary Wigington6674140
Chad Calvert6971140
Brad Moultrie6774141
Skylar Dennis6873141
Tanner Wells6972141
Dustin Travis6676142
Andrew Brooks6577142
Hunter Carr6777144
John Rollins6679145
Brennan Clay6580145
Mark McCaig6977146
Kenny Okins7166137
Ott Chandler7071141
Jeremy McGatha7073143
Nick Ledbetter7172143
Jackson Bowman7273145
Landon Straub7274146
Bill McCroskey7276148
Caleb McKinney7178149
Gage Ledbetter7178149
Cam Hurst7277149
Chase Hollingsworth7277149
Michael Brice7279151
Chris Sprayberry7280152
Vance Lewis7281153
Danny Shears7289161
Zac Love72NC
Layton Bussey7368141
Daily Thomas7468142
Sawyer Edwards7469143
Kevin Daugherty7469143
Tyler Putnam7472146
Chance Harris7572147
Ethan Davis7474148
Landon Winfrey7474148
Matt Rogers7574149
Gage Miller7575150
Clayton Owens7379152
Jake Goggins7577152
Jason Rich7579154
Steven Keen7481155
Jonathan Pate75WD
Mason Dennis7673149
Timmy Woodard7673149
Graham Morrow7773150
Ryan Huff7873151
Billy Thompson7873151
Josh Chappell7776153
Cain Hollingsworth7678154
Nathan Williams7876154
Caleb Morrow7778155
Robert Daniel7877155
Coleman Messer7680156
Nick Hubbard7779156
Ryder Hudgins7878156
Henry Pritchard7782159
Josh Reynolds7882160
Vann Hall7884162
Nash Messer7884162
Keaton Borrelli7785162
Tyler TenEyck7690166
Kilgore Knight7971150
Greg Shultz7973152
Daniel Black7974153
Jared Waits7975154
Landon Holley8077157
Kobe Messer7979158
Hanna Dyar7981160
Eric Cannington8080160
Taylor Morrow8080160
Tony Hicks8082162
Nate Pearce8181162
Benji Turley8183164
Brock Young7986165
Craig Duncan8086166
Chad Humphries7988167
Rick Okins81WD
Clayton Chandler8276158
Neil Glass8379162
Carson Chandler8380163
Houston Black8282164
Blake Drummond8480164
Bradley Young8480164
Chris Reaves8482166
Dre Davenport8483167
Jay Whaley8289171
Zack Limberis8390173
Dakota Clark8489173
Eddy Burkes8490174
Brayden Cochran8296178
Jimbo Phillips82WD
Shane Lee8679165
Logan Turner8779166
Jason Payne8583168
Heath Hammond8586171
Nick Machowicz8586171
Kobie Webb8685171
Tyrel Tucker8685171
Michael Ledbetter8588173
Chance Haywood8787174
Daniel Ricks8588175
Blake Jones8689175
Shane Roney8689175
Kevin Burgess8788175
Johnny Barnes8694180
Greg Rainy8596181
Spence Florczak8799186
Ricky Carden87101188
Doug Huie9375168
Marc Gaines8982171
Bart Smith9084174
Wade Richardson8985174
Chase Thomas9290182
Wilson Lowe9389182
Matt Greer9094184
Alex Whaley9492186
Daniel Mitchell9988187
Adam Benefiel9497191
Stuart Criss99102201
Larry Champion99104203
Will Sewell98110208
Palmer Pearce109101210
Jason Swope107111218
Bailey Masters89WD
Trey HanveyWD
Brian IrwinWD
David Sanders7472146
Mike Granato7774151
Frank Toland7776153
Robbie Hurst7677153
David Messer7876154
Gary Austin7679155
Dennis Austin7976155
Andy Jenkins7486160
Mike Lett8179160
Chip Howell71WD
Tim Steward8275157
Bob Feicht8277159
Charley Estes8277159
Ted Heim8283165
Anthony Humphries8382165
Wilton Page8680166
Rick Barthel8583168
Lamar Ward8587172
Buddy Carden9291183
Lee Clark9798195

Cover photo: Ty Cole (left) and Cider Ridge pro Cory Etter pose during awards after Sunday’s final round of the Oxford City Championship. (Photo by Joe Medley)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login