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Calhoun County Championship

Ty Cole, shown during the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge on July 9, has clinched his sixth Calhoun County Player of the Year honor. (File photo)
Ty Cole, shown during the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge on July 9, has clinched his sixth Calhoun County Player of the Year honor. (File photo)

Calhoun County, AL – McGatha, Cole 8 under, tied for the lead after first round. Wigington withdraws because of COVID, clinching Player of The Year for Cole

By Joe Medley

Flash back to 2019, and the Calhoun County Golf Tour Player of the Year battle came down to Ty Cole and Gary Wigington at the County Championship.

Wigington tried to play with an elbow injury and couldn’t, and Cole shot a 13-under-par 57 on The Hill at Anniston Municipal that day.

History might not repeat itself, but it sure has a way of echoing.

Wigington never played a hole in the 2023 Calhoun County Championship. He withdrew because of COVID, a reality that cliched a sixth Player of the Year honor for Cole.

Cole, who came into the tournament leading the season points and needing only a fifth-place finish, did his part, anyway. He shot an 8-under 62 to match Jeremy McGatha for the lead headed into Sunday’s final round.

The reality of how the 2023 points title ended left Cole with mixed emotions. He and Wigington are long-time friends and playing partners in team events like the Sunny King Charity Classic.

“I hate it for him,” Cole said. “I know he’s a competitor, and he wants to tee it up and do all of that, but I understand COVID. My wife is a teacher, and COVID is back going around, or whatever.

“With his situation with (son) Peyton, it’s nothing to joke about because of Peyton being immunocompromised. He’s got to handle that, and golf will always take a back seat to that.”

Wigington, who won the 2023 Calhoun County Golf Tour’s first event at Silver Lakes, was the only player besides Cole who entered the final points event in contention for Player of the Year. County marked Wigington’s only miss of the season, which included eight points tournaments.

Final points factor in the top-five finishes, and County counts 1.5 times.

Cole entered the County Championship in the driver’s seat with a season resume that includes three wins. To unseat Cole, Wigington needed to win at The Hill and for Cole to finish fifth or worse.

Cole clinched his sixth player-of-the-year title, all coming in the past 10 seasons. He thanked his County Championship co-leader, who also happens to be the Tour’s CEO, and Matt Rogers, who runs the County Championship.

“It’s nice,” Cole said. “I’ve kind of cut back my schedule a little bit. I skipped Silver Lakes this year and just played the few I could play, but it’s always nice to win.

“Jeremy and Matt have put so much into this for the last 10 or 15 years, whatever it is now. It’s nice to see, over the course of a summer, you put in some good rounds. You’ve won a few, lost a few, but at the end of the year, they say, ‘OK, well you’re the player of the year,’ or whatever. I’m just glad Jeremy and Matt have put so much into it over the years for us to kind of have something to shoot for and not just be a bunch of old men out there, just trying to relive the glory days.”

There’s still one more day for Calhoun County Tour glory, and McGatha looks to join Cole, Wigington, Jacob LeCroy, John Rollins and Andrew Brooks on the list of tournament winners for 2023.

Saturday’s shotgun start had McGatha starting on his traditional first hole, No. 6. He birdied four of the first five holes, what he called “the hard stretch,” to send off on a journey of nine birdies and one bogey, No. 11.

Now, it’s all about finishing.

“These things, you’ve got to put two rounds together,” he said. “I’ve shot a 64 in the Etowah County (Open) and followed it with a 74 and didn’t even come close.

“I love it up here. I’ve won the County three times and finished second nine times. Honestly, I’m tired of finishing second, but I’m getting older. I’ll try my best tomorrow and see what happens.”

Calhoun County Championship scores

Jeremy McGatha 62 62
Ty Cole 62 62
Brennan Clay 63 63
Chad Calvert 63 63
John Rollins 64 64
Chris Cox 64 66
Vance Lewis 67 67
Chip Howell 68 68
Sawyer Edwards 68 68
Clay Calkins 68 68
Gary Wigington WD
Ott Chandler 69 69
Jonathan Pate 69 69
Zach Mangum 69 69
Tim Woodard 70 70
Billy Thompson 70 70
Andrew Brooks 70 70
Benji Turley 70 70
Kevin Daugherty 70 70
Daniel Black 70 70
Tanner Wells 71 71
Dustin Travis 71 71
Randy Lipscomb 71 71
Keaton Borrelli 71 71
Tim Steward 72 72
Chris Sprayberry 72 72
Landon Holley 72 72
Chris Randall 72 72
Matt Rogers 72 72
Bob Eaton 72 72
David Coffee 72 72
Mark McCaig 72 72
Jeff Noah 72 72
Chris Reaves 73 73
Rush Rutledge 73 73
Doug Gardner 73 73
Will Brown 73 73
Chase Hollingsworth 73 73
Chris Hubbard 73 73
Josh Poole 73 73
Tim Turner 74 74
Ted Towns 74 74
Lamar Carter 74 74
Landon Straub 74 74
Scott Watson 74 74
Nick Ledbetter 74 74
Kolby Slick 75 75
Dennis Austin 75 75
Mike Hughston 76 76
Johnny Barnes 76 76
Layton Bussey 76 76
Chance Harris 76 76
Kenny Fulmer 76 76
Eric Cannington 76 76
Ted Heim 77 77
Cam Hurst 77 77
Ryder Hudgins 77 77
Vann Hall 77 77
Tyler Dopson 77 77
Tyler TenEyck 78 78
Russ Montgomery 78 78
Mark Cotton 78 78
Taylor Vera 78 78
Bradley Elliott 79 79
Gage Ledbetter 79 79
Doug Huie 79 79
Chad Mullinax 80 80
George Salmon 80 80
Hunter Carr 80 80
Jimbo Phillips 80 80
Marc Gaines 80 80
Nick Hubbard 80 80
Austin Jones 81 81
Blake Jones 81 81
Danny Whitaker 81 81
Logan Watson 81 81
Randy Watson 82 82
Gene Hicks 84 84
Carson Chandler 84 84
Casey Turner 88 88
Kelly Rogers 88 88
Larry Champion 91 91

Sunday tee times

Sunday tee times for the 87th Calhoun County Golf Championship

8 A.M.

Hole 1A: Scott Watson, Nick Ledbetter, Dennis Austin, Kolby Slick

Hole 1B: Tim Turner, Ted Towns, Lamar Carter, Landon Straub

Hole 2: Layton Bussey, Chance Harris, Kenny Fulmer, Eric Cannington

Hole 3: Mike Hughston, Johnny Barnes, Ted Heim, Cam Hurst

Hole 4: Ryder Hudgins, Vann Hall, Tyler Dopson, Tyler TenEyck, Russ Montgomery

Hole 5: Mark Cotton, Taylor Vera, Bradley Elliott, Doug Huie

Hole 6: Gage Ledbetter, Chad Mullinax, George Salmon, Jimbo Phllips

Hole 7: Hunter Carr, Marc Gaines, Nick Hubbard, Austin Jones, Blake Jones

Hole 8: Danny Whitkaer, Logan Watson, Randy Watson, Gene Hicks

Hole 9: Carson Chandler, Casey Turner, Kelly Rogers, Larry Champion

1 P.M.

Hole 1A: John Rollins, Chris Cox, Vance Lewis, Chip Howell

Hole 1B: Jeremy McGatha, Ty Cole, Brennan Clay, Chad Calvert

Hole 2: Sawyer Edwards, Clay Calkins, Ott Chandler, Jonathan Pate

Hole 3: Zach Mangum, Timmy Woodard, Billy Thompson, Andrew Brooks

Hole 4: Benji Turley, Kevin Daugherty, Daniel Black.

Hole 5: Tanner Wells, Dustin Travis, Randy Lipscomb, Keaton Borrelli

Hole 6: Tim Steward, Chris Sprayberry, Landon Holley, Chris Randall

Hole 7: Matt Rogers, Bob Eaton, David Coffee, Mark McCaig

Hole 8: Jeff Noah, Chris Hubbard, Rush Rutledge, Doug Gardner

Hole 9: Will Brown, Chase Hollingsworth, Josh Poole, Chris Reaves.

Ty Cole, shown during the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge on July 9, has clinched his sixth Calhoun County Player of the Year honor. (File photo)
Ty Cole, shown during the Oxford City Championship at Cider Ridge on July 9, has clinched his sixth Calhoun County Player of the Year honor. (File photo)



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