Maybe they do because of it.
The two-time Sunny King Charity Classic champions were at it again Saturday, putting together a run of six straight birdies on the front nine at Cider Ridge, giving them the lead after two rounds.
McGatha and Ellison had nine birdies and two eagles in shooting 59 for the second day in a row, leaving them at 26-under 118 for the tournament and with a three-shot lead over three teams going into today's best-ball championship round at Anniston Country Club.
"Me and him both talk about momentum every time we play," McGatha said. "Early in the round I had the momentum going. Middle of the round Jaylon held me up with his momentum. At the end of the round, we both jelled together."
Matt Rogers and Grant Hockman had the best round of the day — 58 — and moved into a tie for second with first round leaders Benji Turley-Brian Macoy (63) and Ryan Howard-Scott Murphree (60) at 121. The high-profile teams of Marcus Harrell-Ott Chandler (61), the defending champs, and Garrett Burgess-Gary Wilborn (61) are another shot back at 122.
The leaders birdied their first hole of the day, but their string didn't start until No. 4. And it didn't end until they made the turn.
"You establish momentum by capitalizing on good shots, and we had a great many good shots from 4 on," Ellison said. "We stuck it (close) every hole and made our putts."
Once they made it to the back, the longtime partners missed their birdie on 10, but said they didn't feel badly about it because they didn't want to chase a difficult pin. They made up for it by making eagle — one of two they had on the back — at 11, when Ellison chipped in from just off the green. They made the second eagle on 15 when McGatha hit a 7-iron that took one bounce, hit the pin, circled the cup and stopped two feet from the hole.
They almost had a third on 16 when McGatha lipped out his 9-iron approach shot and then again on the par-3 17th, when Ellison came within an eyelash of a hole-in-one.
"They had just said that a guy had a hole-in-one at the Country Club on 16, and we were like, 'Well, let's see another one,'" McGatha said. "And he gets up there and … it was close."
"If it spins another half an inch, it's in," Ellison said.
Ellison has only made one ace in his life, and it really wasn't an ace at all. It came in the Deep Freeze winter-time tournament at Silver Lakes, when they played the Short Course in reverse.
That birdie got them to 13-under, but they could only par the par-5 18th from 245 yards out.
"We made two eagles on the back nine and it made up for some missed putts," McGatha said. "We had some missed opportunities."
Rogers and Hockman took advantage of their opportunities and put together two long strings of birdies.
They made five in a row on the front — and an eagle on 9 to turn in 28 — and made six in a row on the back.
"We made a lot of putts," Hockman said. "It kind of (stinks) that we got off to a bad start (Friday) to put us in the hole and we just tried to grind (Saturday) to see how close we could get."
They kept the string alive on the front with a birdie at the par-5 fifth after the long-hitting Hockman snapped his driver on the tee box.
Rogers, long recognized as one of the best short-game players in the county, chipped in from just off the edge of the green for the eagle at 9. He also chipped in from just off the green at 13 to keep the back-nine birdie string going.
"After (Friday), everything was gravy," he said. "We had a little bit of a different circumstance (Friday). We're happy to be where we're at."
Howard and Murphree didn't have the impressive run of birdies that either McGatha-Ellison or Rogers-Hockman had, but they made a lot of them Saturday — 13, with one bogey — by playing to each other's strength.
In the opening round scramble, Howard was strong with his long irons and kept the team in play, while Murphree's short-iron game and putter were sharp. Saturday, Howard made birdies on 5, 6, 10, 15 and 18 and hit the ball so close on the par-3s Murphree was able to birdie in front of him.
"He's a tremendous young player and deserves a ton of credit for holding us up (Saturday)," Murphree said. "He's looking forward to getting back to ACC and taking up where he left off in the Invitational."
Turley and Macoy went into the day with a one-shot lead, but they were never able to put together the birdie string they enjoyed in the scramble round at Cane Creek the day before. They didn't have any bogeys, but they had back-to-back birdies only twice — each time on the back nine — and could only par the par-5 ninth, which several teams eagled in the round.
"We actually played as good today as (Friday), (but) our putters were not in sync (Saturday)," Macoy said. "That's pretty much the story. We actually hit the ball probably as good (Saturday) as we did (Friday), just nothing fell."
The leaders will be getting challenged from all sides today, but with a three-shot lead going into the final round at his home course, Ellison said he likes his team's chances. A round of 61 would tie the modern-day tournament scoring record that some predicted would fall earlier in the week.
"We're both playing Anniston Country Club very well … and I feel very comfortable with (McGatha) as my partner (there)," he said. "I'm a member there and I play it well and we'll see how the cards fall tomorrow."
2009 Sunny King Charity Classic Tee Times -