The two-day event featured a unique format that provided a challenge to test each player’s ability and strategy.
Pine Hill manager Corey Etter explained it, “The first day we played a scramble at Pine Hill. Basically, each player hits a shot from the same spot and they select the best ball after both hit and continue to play until they hole out. On the second day, at Cherokee County, the team selects the best drive and then each player would have to play their own ball until they completed the hole. The team score on that hole would be the lowest of the two players score on that hole. ”
Jeremy McGatha and Jaylon Ellison took the lead at the conclusion of Saturday’s play as they posted the low scramble total of 55 on the Pine Hill layout. Benji Turley and Adrian Getting were a stroke behind while Rich and Corey Etter slid into third carding a 57.
The 38-team field was split into three flights for Sunday’s play in Centre and managed the round through intermittent light rain. Turley and Geeting birdie the first two holes and grabbed the early lead. That lead was short lived as McGatha and Ellison closed out the front nine with a six under par 29.
On the back nine McGatha and Ellison’s scoring pace began to cool while the Etters caught fire, running off six straight birdies from the par 4 No. 9 to the par 5 14th. The Etters birdie on number 11 tied them for the lead while their next one on the 175-yard par three 12th hole pushed them to the front of the field.
The Etters turned in a 59 final on the Cherokee layout giving them a two day total of 116 (57-59) and the clubhouse lead with three teams still on the course.
Playing in the final pairing, McGatha and Ellison approached the 18th tee box down two strokes to the leaders and needed a chip in eagle to set up a playoff. That didn’t happen, but McGatha did deliver a spectacular 20-foot birdie putt that cut the lead to one and tied them with Mike Williams and Cole Skaggs at 117 (60-57).
A scorecard playoff between those two teams gave Williams-Skaggs the advantage and McGatha and Ellison (55-62) were relegated to third place.
Jake Minnix and Kim Nichols were honored as the top Cherokee County team in the talented field.
The duo’s 20-under was an even 10 below par on both courses. With all teams in the clubhouse the Etter father-son team was officially declared the winner of the first Highway 9 Golf Challenge.
Two skill prizes were collected by Marcus Harrell at Cherokee County on the closest to the pin par three contests. Harrell bested the field on the 175 yard 12th hole and the signature 17th that played at 123 yards. Tyler Huckaby claimed the honors at Pine Hill sticking his shot close from 160 yards out on number 3. Corey Etter’s shot on the 170-yard 16th topped all golfers.
The first flight was won by Cole McNeil and Dalton Chandler (64-60) with a 124 total. Steve Baker and Johnny Bentley were one stroke behind in second place totaling 125 (64-61). Jon Bailey and Adam Lawrence (66-61) finished third.
Rodney Van Pelt and Jeff Woodall shot a two day total of 133 (69-64) to win the second flight.
Cherokee Club Manager Steve Baker added his thoughts to the successful tournament “This type of format gave everyone, regardless of age or gender, a chance to win. From the responses we’ve received from the tournament players I can’t wait until we do this again. ”
Next up at the Cherokee County Country Club calendar is the two-person senior scramble for anyone 50 and over on Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. The $30 entry fee covers lunch and features door prizes and cash awards for the flight winners.
On Sept.17, the ladies host the annual Cotton Classic. The 2-gal scramble event will begin with a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. and the cost is only $120 per team.
The 1st Annual Tiger Track Classic Golf Tournament will be held on Oct. 8 at 8 a.m. Entry fee is only $200 per four-person team and the winners will pocket $500 while the runner-up earns $300. Third place collects $200. The proceeds support the track and field program at Cedar Bluff High School. Last May, the Tigers earned their fifth consecutive boys and girls 1A team state track and field championships.
For more information on any of these tournaments you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 256-927-5070.