Cole takes county golf title; Wigington wins player of year
by Al Muskewitz
amuskewitz@annistonstar.com
Aug 18, 2013 | 4035 views |  0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ty Cole puts Sunday at Cane Creek Gold Course, where he won the Calhoun County Gold Championship. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
Ty Cole puts Sunday at Cane Creek Gold Course, where he won the Calhoun County Gold Championship. (Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star)
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McCLELLAN – Ty Cole didn’t let one bad swing or the bad break it left get him down.

Cole hit an errant drive off the fifth tee in Sunday’s final round of the 77th Calhoun County Golf Championship at Cane Creek Golf Course. Not only was it way left, the ball landed in a stump hole that was too deep even to take advantage of the playing rules of the day.

He ended up making double bogey on the hole and fell three shots off the pace. But he picked up seven shots over the next seven holes to regain the lead and wound up winning the county title by a comfortable margin

Cole shot a final round 1-under-par 71 in rainy conditions for a 6-under 210 total that was four shots better than Gary Wigington. Jeremy McGatha and Ott Chandler were another shot back at 215, and that close to going into a playoff with Wigington to decide the Calhoun County Player of the Year.

“Any time you beat a field that’s this deep it’s special,” said Cole, a 38-year-old glass installer from Albertville enrolled in the range program at Silver Lakes. “This Calhoun County area has so many good golfers that any time you win a tournament with a field as deep as it is here it means a lot.”

It was Cole’s second win at Cane Creek this year. He nosed out Janson Wilborn in the amateur portion of the Fort McClellan Credit Union Pro-Invitational in June.

Cole’s win denied Wigington a record-tying fourth straight County Championship title and sixth all-time (tying another record). But by virtue of being the highest finisher among players on the Calhoun County Golf Tour, he won Player of the Year honors for the second straight year.

Cole and Wigington went into the final round tied for the lead, but the double bogey at 5 pushed Cole three shots back. To his credit, he didn’t panic or rush to get it all back.

“It was just better to take my medicine,” he said. “It’s a bad day. Everybody’s going to have a bad hole. You just kind of wait it out. My bad hole came on 5. Somebody else is going to have a bad hole later in round, so I figured I got mine out of the way.

“I know its bad weather. I know the shots people are going to try to hit today, they aren’t going to pull them off every time like they would in dry weather, so I just stayed patient. I don’t have to make birdie on every hole to get that double back. Weather the storm, do the best you can on that hole, get out of there with what you can get out with and go about your business. As I made pars and birdies on the rest of the front nine, it started building a little bit of momentum.”

Cole birdied 7, but the big move came on 9. Wigington hit his tee shot out of bounds and ended up making double bogey while Cole made birdie with a putt through the fringe with a hybrid. The swing put Cole in the lead for good.

“I’m not thinking about holing that shot,” Cole said. “Then I remembered on 6 Jeremy was in the fringe and he tried to putt it. The wetness on the fringe just grabbed his ball and it came up way short.

“So (on 9) I’m like you can’t putt this, just get something that will get it through the fringe, knock it up there, get your par, gain your two shots back and get out of there. It was a good shot that just happened to go in.”

Wigington had been struggling with his driver most of the season. He hit only 50 percent of his fairways in Tour events and only eight total this weekend. He figured he hit bad drives on 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 13.

“I’ve been hitting my driver an 3-wood bad for quite a while and it’s going to catch up with you,” Wigington said. “Today I hit a couple of them out of play. All year I just didn’t keep it in play enough.”

Cole gained another shot when he birdied 11 and Wigington three-putted for bogey. Perhaps his biggest play of all came on 13 when he made a 20-footer for bogey after hitting is drive way right and hit a tree trying to escape.

“Making the putt on tournament saved the tournament,” Cole said. “If I don’t make it and Twig makes his, you’re talking about a four-shot lead going to one with five holes to play and this is his house.”

The tournament brought a close to the County Tour standings and determined the 16 players to qualify for next month’s Calhoun County Match Play Championship at Cane Creek.

Wigington wound up winning the points race by 131.25. He won Pine Hill outright and finished second among Tour players at Silver Lakes and Cane Creek.

He said he “didn’t have a clue” where he stood in the standings until 18. He was just trying to grind out the tournament.

“It’s unbelievable that it came down to one shot after seven tournaments,” he said. “It was great to win Player of the Year for the second straight year, but it’s more frustrating not to win the County.”

As Player of the Year, Wigington locks down the No. 1 seed. The other tentative qualifiers include – in order – Chandler, McGatha, Wilborn, Jaylon Ellison, Matt Rogers, Daniel Black, Adrian Geeting, Grant Hockman, Billy Thompson, Frank Brady, Clay Calkins, Gary Wilborn, Mark Durden, Nick Pollard and Dalton Chandler. Two of the more intriguing first-round matches feature father Gary Wilborn vs. son Janson Wilborn and Sunny King partners Rogers vs. Brady.

Wigington, Chandler and McGatha went into the tournament separated by 75 points in the standings. Whoever won the event – or was low Tour player – would win Player of the Year.

Chandler made a run at it while Wigington was having his problems. He was 3-under-par with six holes to play, but couldn’t close the deal.

He three-putted 13 for bogey – only his second three-putt of the Tour season -- and bogeyed the par-3 15th.

“I had a chance,” he said. “I played really well; I just didn’t putt well enough to win. It takes all three phases and I didn’t get it done.

“I thought I had to make birdie on 18 to get in a playoff and hit a couple bad shots. I made par, but a lot of times playing the good players we play against par is not good enough. To come down to one stroke against arguably the best player in the county … it still doesn’t feel any better to finish second, but I was there to the end.”

McGatha added to the drama. Even though he didn’t score well in the final round, he birdied each of the last two holes to get within a stroke of Wigington.

“We gave each other every opportunity to seize Player of the Year,” McGatha said. “He’s a great player; he deserves it. I wish I had done better. I’ve got to go work on my game.”

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star. Calhoun County Championship scores.

Final results.

Championship A

Ty Cole 67-72-71—210

Gary Wigington 70-69-75—214

Jeremy McGatha 70-70-75—215

Ott Chandler 69-75-71—215

Cypress Hathorn 73-73-73—219

Caleb McKinney 68-73-80—221

Matt Rogers 69-77-76—222

Adrian Geeting 73-74-75—222

Daniel Black 71-75-81—227

Chandler Wilborn 75-75-78—228

Janson Wilborn 72-79-77—228

Chris Cunningham 71-78-82—231

Nick Pollard 70-81-81—232

Championship B.

Lance Evans 71-81-73—225

Frank Brady 75-79-77—231

Jaylon Ellison 75-79-77—231

Billy Thompson 74-80-78—232

Clay Calkins 74-78-83—235

Kenny Wright 81-72-82—235

Jonathan Pate 74-82-83—239

Chris Maye 74-84-81—239

T.J. McGatha 76-84-79—239

Landon Straub 77-78-85—240

Benji Turley 75-82-85—242

Mike Lett 71-88-83—242

Tim Steward 74-87-81—242

Doug East 76-WD

Cane Flight

Jason Rich 81-73—154

Mark Durden 76-79—155

Scott Eaton 78-77—155

David Martin 78-78—156

Al Johnson 79-80—159

Dan Griffin 77-82—159

Dan McClellan 82-82—164

David Gilley 81-84—165

Jacob Lecroy 82-87—169

Brent Varnum 81-93—174

Mark Pritchett 80-98—178

Josh Britton 82-DNS

Creek Flight

Shane Chappell 86-79—165

Sean Hayes 85-85—170

Allen Mangham 88-84—172

Jerry Kemp 87-86—173

Stuart Rice 89-84—173

Austin Minter 88-85—173

Rocco D’Gomez 86-88—174

Al Muskewitz 88-87—175

Vince Floyd 91-85—176

Bill Teneyck 88-92—180

Roger Fair 88-95—183

Kelly Rogers 89-95—184

Jackson Johnson 91-97—188

Ray Pledger 93-98—191

Michael Jones 106-111—217

Tony Pritchett 96-DNS

Calhoun County Golf Tour Points standings

(Top 16 qualify for County Match Play)

Gary Wigington 1475

Ott Chandler 1343.75

Jeremy McGatha 1326.25

Janson Wilborn 1121.25

Jaylon Ellison 1027.5

Matt Rogers 1018.75

Daniel Black 977.5

Adrian Geeting 941.25

Billy Thompson 923.75

Grant Hockman 915

Frank Brady 885

Clay Calkins 868.75

Gary Wilborn 852.5

Mark Durden 826.25

Nick Pollard 813.75

Dalton Chandler 810

Dan Griffin 780

Chandler Wilborn 768.75

Caleb McKinney 727.5

Dan McClellan 645

Tim Steward 643.75

Chip Howell 637.5

Benji Turley 626.25

Doug East 625

David Martin 547.5

Lance Evans 547.5

Shane Chappell 537.5

Kenny Wright 525

T.J. McGatha 512.5

Matt Miller 497.5

Landon Straub 487.5

Chris Cunningham 452.5

Lewis Lecroy 435

Dustin Travis 430

Timmy Woodard 390

Jerry Kemp 355

Ryan Huff 352.5

Rob Riddle 335

Austin Minter 325

Al Muskewitz 301.25

Kelly Rogers 295

Stuart Rice 297.5

Andrew Brooks 292.5

Scott Eaton 286.25

Cole McNeal 272.5

Danny Smith 218.75

Ethyn Roberts 217.5

Chris Hubbard 207.5

Layton Bussey 172.5

Brandon Roberts 140

Calhoun County Match Play First-round pairings

No. 1 Gary Wigington vs. No. 16 Dalton Chandler

No. 8 Adrian Geeting vs. No. 9 Billy Thompson

No. 5 Jaylon Ellison vs. No. 12 Clay Calkins

No. 4 Janson Wilborn vs. No. 13 Gary Wilborn

No. 6 Matt Rogers vs. No. 11 Frank Brady

No. 3 Jeremy McGatha vs. No. 14 Mark Durden

No. 7 Daniel Black vs. No. 10 Grant Hockman

No. 2 Ott Chandler vs. No. 15 Nick Pollard
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