It was the way it should be, as the evening neared the end at Sunday’s final round of the two-man team Buddy Moore scramble tournament at Anniston Municipal.
There was the team of defending champions Cory Etter and Caleb Bowen and the team of Jason Johnson and Landon Straub and they were tied. They were about to tee off on the No. 2 and the famous par-3 hole up to a three level green. There was a huge crowd on hand that had been there all day cheering on the golfers.
On this day they would get to see the final hole unfold in front of their perch behind the green.
Landon Straub hit the ball dead center on the green with his tee shot, and it almost crept up on the third level of the green where the hole was, but trickled back down to the second level. The Etter-Bowen team hit both shots to the left of the green about 15 yards off the third level.
Johnson rolled the Straub tee shot up the hill to within six inches and they had their par on the hole. Etter-Bowen had come up seven feet short with their second shot and then both just missed their par putts, and Johnson-Straub were first-time winners in a county tournament.
Etter-Bowen entered the day with a four-stroke lead after shooting a stunning 53 on Saturday that included a hole-in-one, three straight eagles and a score of 25 on the back nine.
Straub-Johnson were five strokes back at 58, and the Brennan Clay-Andrew Brooks team were four strokes back tied with the team of Jeremy McGatha–Matt Rogers for second place.
Straub-Johnson came out on fire and shot a 27 on the front nine, while Etter-Bowen was having problems making putts. Straub-Johnson caught them on the 17th hole with a birdie and then went up by two with a birdie on No. 18.
This meant that Etter-Bowen had to make an eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff. It was then that Bowen came up with a miracle shot on his approach shot to No. 18. The ball hit a tree branch and then hit the flag on the hole and rattled off the pin and just missed going in for what would have been a rare albatross and would have won the tournament.
However, it bounced some 20 feet away. Etter drilled the following eagle putt and forced a playoff with Straub-Johnson.
“We knew we had to have an eagle on the last hole and we were not afraid of the tree guarding the green,” said Bowen. "So, we just went after it.”
Clay-Brooks, winners two years ago, hung in there all day and ended up at 24-under par for the two days, just one stroke back. They both just missed eagle putts on the 18th hole that would have gotten them into the playoff as well.
“It was cool to be in the hunt,” Straub said. "I have never been in this position before and was not sure how I was going to handle things. I was hitting my tee shots just great those last four or five holes and just kept going after it, knowing we had a chance. I never thought I would see us get a win, so I just do not know what to say.”
Added Johnson: “Landon was lights out on the course today. I was expecting them to make that eagle on 18. In these kinds of tournaments they are all good players. We played pretty good and that last putt was all about speed and I was just trying to make sure it got in there close, so we could make par.”
Said Etter: “It was the third year in a row that we have had the lead on the back nine. And it has gotten away from us twice. Just could not get the putts to fall today.”
Clay Calkins and Chris Hubbard shot a final round 58 to pull away and win the Mary Ann Flight with a two-day total of 120. Tony Hicks and Nick Hubbard were four strokes back at 124.
Charles Carden and Johnny Barnes fired a two-day total of 128 to win the Scott Flight by six strokes. George Salmon and Lee Waldron combined to shoot a 135 and win the Angie Flight.