He was proud to have bounced back from a massive meltdown in the closing stretch of the first Calhoun County Golf Tour event of the season. He was proud to once again be able to finish off a County Tour event after failing the last two times out.
Ellison made it around a rainy Anniston Municipal Golf Course in 3-under-par 67 for the second day in a row Sunday and won the limited-field event by two shots over tour points leader Ott Chandler and four over first-round leader Gary Wigington.
He played the last five holes Sunday bogey-free and 2-under par. It was a marked contrast from the 6-8-9-3-7 finish at Cider Ridge after getting within sight of Chandler’s lead. He also let the back nine get away at Cane Creek last August after a sizzling 32 front got him within a shot of the County Championship and Player of the Year titles that both went to Wigington.
“Not only was Cider in my mind, but the County was, too,” Ellison said. “I spent four hours this week with (swing teacher) Mark Blackburn and (mental coach) Charles Plott on nothing but putting. Putting and driver have been my weakness the last two years — it’s keeping me from playing to the next level as an amateur — and from Thursday on I worked on nothing but putting.
“What I’m proud of is the last two rounds I’ve had no three-putts; I had eight the week at Cider. My pace for this tournament has been the best it’s been in probably three or four years. When you get the flat stick rolling, good things can happen.”
Putting certainly was the difference for his challengers.
Chandler had 11 one-putt greens Sunday and took only 25 putts in his round, but lamented missing “a lot of makeable putts” this week that, if holed, could have given him a second straight tour win.
Wigington felt his pain. The reigning player of the year had 31 putts, but missed nine from inside six feet.
“I putted good yesterday, putted bad today,” he said. “I’m real happy with the way I hit the ball all week, put myself in some good positions and could’ve made a real good score today if I’d made the putts like I did yesterday. You can’t expect to miss nine putts and stay with these guys.”
Ellison and Chandler were one shot apart coming to 18 and both were laying 2 in front of the green. Chandler’s pitch shot got caught in the fringe, while Ellison’s shot left him with a routine birdie putt.
“I tried to play it short,” Chandler said of his chip. “If it goes another yard I’m really close, but the rain came and got it soft and when it hit it just stopped. But (Ellison) played good; he always plays good. He outplayed me this weekend.”
The other flight winners included Grant Hockman, Dalton Chandler, Benji Turley and Jerre Dingler.
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.