E.A. Sports Today

Two lead at Briarmeade

Wigington, Cole shoot 63 to lead Etowah County Open through first round. McGatha two shots back, Brown three back.

By Brandt Locklier
For East Alabama Sports Today

GLENCOE — The heat is rising, and it is Gary Wigington time on the Calhoun County Tour.

It showed at the Links at Briarmeade golf course in Glencoe on Saturday as Wigington went shot a front-nine 30 and back-nine 33 to take the early lead with an 8-under par 63. He’s tied with Ty Cole for the Etowah County Open lead headed into Sunday’s final round.

Wigington usually catches fire at the end of July. He has won 18 times on the Tour after July 15 and is seeking another win going into Sunday’s final round.

“I always seem to play better this time of the year,” he said. “I like the heat. It kind of keeps me looser. My back has felt real good, and I have been making some good swings on the ball. My putter was good, and I only had 26 putts and was keeping the ball in the fairway.”

Wigington hit 13 greens in regulation and hit 12 fairways. He birdied three of the first four holes to get off to a great start and birdied Nos. 7 and 8 to finish the front nine at 5 under par.

Wigington’s only bogey came at No. 11, but he responded with birdies at 13, 14, 15 and 18 to finish at 8 under par for the opening round.

“Tomorrow will be another grind, and I will have to make some putts,” he said.

Wigington leads the Calhoun County Tour points standings after the first five events.

However, one can never forget about Cole, who has won 23 Tour events, including two this year. He won the Oxford City Championship two weeks ago.

Cole blazed the course for 8 birdies and no bogeys Saturday. He had five birdies on the back nine and three on the front nine for his round of 8 under par.

“Good solid round on a course I know,” Cole said. “Just pretty solid in all phases. Nothing special, but no hiccups.”

Cole ranks fourth in the Tour standings but will add points from the next two tournaments he plays in as five tournaments count. He stands to move up quite a bit as the three players ahead of him have points from five tournaments.

Jeremy McGatha, who currently stands second in the season-long points race, was on fire Saturday, as well, as he fired a 7-under-par 64 to lurk one shot behind Wigington and Cole.

“I was striking the ball well today. I had 8 birdies and only one bogey at 9,” McGatha said, who finished the day with 26 putts.

McGatha, Cole, Wigington and Tee Brown will tee it up in the final foursome tomorrow, and it should be an electric final grouping that will feature three of the top 4 golfers in the 2023 points race.

Brown had the lead for most of Saturday morning. He was in the first group that started at 7:30 a.m. and played brilliant golf on his way to a 65. His home course is Twin Bridges.

He had four birdies on Briarmeade’s back nine to shoot 32 and position himself among the leaders.

Wigington is the defending champion in this event.  

Andrew Brooks had a wild day. He has been on a recent hot streak and birdied five of the first six holes then fell apart on the back nine to 2-under-par for the day. He shot a 39 on the back nine.

Brooks is fifth on the Tour points list.

Etowah County Open scores

Ty Cole6363
Gary Wigington6363
Jeremy McGatha6464
Tee Brown6565
Chris Sprayberry6666
John Rollins6767
Vance Lewis6868
Brennan Clay6969
Andrew Brooks6969
Chad Hare6969
Jeff McRae6969
Dustin Travis6969
Chad Calvert7171
Matt Rogers7171
Cam Hurst7272
Chris Cox7272
Devon Downs7272
T.J. Daugherty7373
Opie Teague7373
Mason Dennis7373
Neal Keener7373
Layton Bussey7474
Craig Colvard7474
Drey Reeeves7575
Chris Maye7575
Caleb McKinney7575
Craig Kiker7676
Randy Lipscomb7777
Scott Moates7777
J.D. Berndt7878
Phillip Eades7878
Greg Hare7878
Greg Davenport7878
Frank Barnes7878
Bob Eaton7979
Turner Shankels7979
Jason Billingsley7979
Jeff Noah7979
Shane Chappell8080
Matthew Williams 8080
Luke Haynie8080
Eric Ray8080
Richard Johnson8181
Wesley Watkins8181
Craig Graves8181
Michael McDowell8181
Ted Heim8282
Paul Allen8282
David Beason8383
Jason Gilley8585
Dylan Jackson8686
Blaine Bryant8686
Mason Cothran8686
Jason Shields8787
Stanley Hawkins8787
Dre Davenport9090
Casey Downs9090
Blake Erwin9090
Patrick Patterson9191
Dani Bone9494
Joseph Fails9595
Gary Singleton9595
Jacob Fails9999

Sunday tee times

8 a.m.: Gary Singleton, Casey Downs, Dre Davenport.
8:10 a.m.: Blake Erwin, Patrick Patterson, Jason Shields
8:20 a.m.: Mason Cothran, Dani Bone, Jacob Fails, Joseph Fails
8:30 a.m.: Stanley Hawkins, Jason Gilley, Dylan Jackson, Blaine Bryant.
8:50 a.m.: Paul Allen, Ted Heim, David Beason.
9 a.m.: Wesley Watkins, Richard Johnson, Michael McDowell, Craig Graves.
9:10 a.m.: Luke Haynie, Eric Ray, Shane Chappell, Matthew Williams.
9:20 a.m.: Turner Shankels, Jason Billingsley, Bob Eaton, Jeff Noah.
9:40 a.m.: J.D. Berndt, Phillips Eades, Frank Barnes.
9:50 a.m.: Randy Lipscomb, Greg Burns, Greg Davenport.
10 a.m.: Chris Maye, Craig Kiker, Scott Moates.
10:10 a.m.: Criag Colvard, Drey Reeves, Caleb McKinney, Layton Bussey.
10:30 a.m.: Neal Keener, Opie Teague, Mason Dennis.
10:40 a.m.: Cam Hurst, Devon Downs, T.J. Daugherty.
10:50 a.m.: Jeff McRae, Chad Calvert, Chris Cox, Matt Rogers.
11 a.m.: Chad Hare, Dustin Travis, Brennan Clay, Andrew Brooks.
11:20 a.m.: Vance Lewis, John Rollins, Chris Sprayberry.
11:30 a.m.: Tee Brown, Jeremy McGatha, Ty Cole, Gary Wigington.

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