E.A. Sports Today

Winning feeling

Hughston wins Wilfred Galbraith Invitational, bags first Calhoun County Tour victory and first victory since his senior year at Donoho.

Cover photo: Harrison Hughston holds the trophy Sunday after winning the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational on his home course, Anniston Country Club. (Photo by Joe Medley)

By Joe Medley
East Alabama Sports Today

That winning feeling came with memories for Harrison Hughston … the 65 he shot at Pine Hill to finish off his second high school Calhoun County championship, edging Donoho teammate best friend Jacob Lecroy.

It came with the promise of more to come, but those memories sustained Hughston for five years. That included his college playing career, at Montevallo, so Sunday’s new winning memories came with a rush of emotions.

“Everyone works hard, but I put a lot of work into it to win,” he said, choking back tears.

Hughston shot a 6-under-par 64 to win the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational on his native Anniston Country Club course.

Clutch par saves on Nos. 15 and 16 and an eagle on 17 made the difference as he went 73-68-64—205 over three rounds to edge another former Donoho golfer, Freeman Fite, by two strokes. Lecroy and Brennan Clay tied for third, five strokes back of Hughston.

Hughston finished it off with a two-foot putt and a big hug from Lecroy, who played in his group. As Hughston waited out Fite’s play on No. 18. the prospect of a sweet, long-awaited victory settled over him.

Hughston stopped as words competed with emotions for expression.

Surgical injuries to both knees caused him to miss three playing semesters at Montevallo. He just had his best Montevallo season this spring, with a second-place finish at the Gulf South Conference Conference championship and a tied-seventh finish at an NCAA South/Southeast Regional.

That winning feeling was so close that he could grasp for it. Sunday, he got to hold it in the form of the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational trophy.

He’s about to move to Wyoming, so winning at home felt good.

“I moved to college, and I started working here,” he said. “I worked here for two or three years, and now I’m a non-member.

“This is where I learned to play golf, and membership means so much to me. It will always be my home. It’ll always be a place I come back to, and I’ll walk in that pro shop. To be able to have my name on that trophy? I can’t overstate how much that means to me.”

Perhaps the second-happiest human to see Hughston win was Lecroy, who came into Sunday’s final round with aspirations of his own. The defending champion, Lecroy shot a Saturday-best 67 to join a five-player pack in second place, two strokes behind leader Taylor McCollum.

Lecroy couldn’t recapture the momentum of his Saturday flirtation with a 30 on the back nine. Once things settled into a two-man showdown between Hughston and Fite, Lecroy became Hughston’s supporter.

They’ll team up for the Sunny King Charity Classic in September, so it had the added effect of team building.

“He was golfing it today way before I started golfing it, and was staying patient, which was great, and he’s my best friend,” Lecroy said. “After 11, I knew I was out of it, so I’m sitting there rooting for him.

“I was upset with myself, but there’s no one else in the entire world I would rather win. … I knew it meant a lot to him.”

Hughston birdied No. 9 to move into a tie with Fite at 2 under for the tournament, and that stalemate continued until Hughston eagled 17.

It took par saves on 15 and 16 for Hughston to stay in the tie. He hit an 8-footer on 15 and a 15-footer on 16.

“We won’t talk about the golf shots that got me there, but really, what’s going to stand out, what I’ll remember, are those two putts,” he said. “The one on 15 moved over 13 inches, and the one on 16 also moved about, like, a foot.

“I’ve worked really hard on my putting. Historically, it’s been kind of a weakness of mine.”

As for the eagle on 17, he credited a favorable far-right pin position. He drove the right rough then hit a 6 iron that left him a 6-foot, uphill putt.

Audible cheers erupted from the No. 17 gallery as Fite’s group readied to tee off.

Fite had just missed an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 16. He went on to par 17 and 18 and finish 72-69-66—207.

“I played well,’ Fite said. “I just couldn’t get anything to go on the last five or six holes, but it happens.”

Freeman Fite sizes up a putt Sunday’ during play in the Wilfred Galbraith Invitational at Anniston Country Club. He led or was tied for the lead for most of Sunday’s final round. (Photo by Joe Medley)

Championship flights

Harrison Hughston736864205
Freeman Fite726966207
Jacob Lecroy746769210
Brennan Clay717069210
Taylor McCollum716873212
Gary Wigington727072214
Chip Howell736873214
Jaylon Ellison707372215
Tanner Wells737478225
Layton Bussey757476225
Clay Calkins737677226
Hunter Carr747380227
Kevin Daugherty797470223
Adam Sanders767473223
Dalton Chandler767673225
John Rollins747874226
Jeff Chapman747678228
Ryan Howard767482232
Vance Lewis767878232
Trey Rouse757979233
Jeff Bain767880234
Ryan Huff787780235
Chance Harris757883236
Jeremy McGatha748273229
Wes Couch748573232
Greg Shultz808075235
Timmy Woodard817877236
Rusty Whitlow807977236
Chad Key787881237
Dustin Travis798177237
Ott Chandler778181239
Cypress Hathorn808180241
Chandler Wilborn788185244
Lewis Lecroy808679245
Benji Turley798287248
Tim Turner778885250
Austin Elliott819081252

Remaining flights

David Sanders7477151
Don Springer7181152
Mike Thompson7784161
Ted Heim8483167
Don Whitlow10297200
Tyler Huckaby7272144
Tanner Tabor7272144
Chase Hollingsworth7371144
Carson Chandler7675151
Houston Black7279151
Mike Wiedmer7776153
Mark Durden7779155
Wyatt Cotney7580155
Blake Grisham7679155
Keaton Borrelli7680156
Bob Eaton7483157
Jake Goggans7682158
Billy Thompson7683159
Hank Smith7790167
Taylor Jones8075155
Zach Mangum7877155
Dre Davenport7878156
Graham Morrow7979158
Zach Goss7880158
Taylor Morrow8079159
Matt Rogers8082162
Kyle Glover7983162
Trey Stone8083163
Cain Hollingsworth8083163
Taylor Vera7886164
Aaron Gregerson8085165
Andrew Gunnels8277159
Matt Hunter8377160
Henry Pritchett8279161
Cam Hurst8378161
Rob Svensen8181162
Joe Hedgepeth8284166
Chase Thomas8385168
Kolby Webb8188169
Scott Watson8289171
Eric Stringer8289171
Colin Read82WD
Don Hill8576161
Zach Limberis8577162
Kenneth Willingham8585170
Sean Kline8585170
Devin Williams8685171
Lamar Carter8587172
Cody Smitherson8687173
Tim Wilcox8589174
John Carpenter8688174
Ted Gregerson8689175
Bradley Elliott8781168
Tyler Teneyck9081171
Jason Payne8983172
Heath Waldrop8887175
Matt Greer9086176
Greg Rainey8992181
Adam Benefiel9192183
Keith Hutcheson8797184
Dylan Parker87100187
Charlie Smith9581176
Kolby Slick9290182
Mark Gaines9297189
Scott Jimmerson9795192
Marlee Hedgepeth9599194
Chase Arnold98102200
Clay Culbert10794201
Judson Miller105104209
Shane Boman107111218
Isaac Scroggins113112225

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