It was an instant classic at the Gadsden Invitational on Sunday. The storylines were there and the last nine holes of the 54-hole event was something to behold.
Frankie Wade Jr., a 22-year-old University of North Alabama senior, outdueled four-time winner of the event and the all-time Calhoun County Tour wins leader, 46-year-old Ty Cole, to win his first Tour event.
The two were tied for the lead after the first and second rounds, setting the stage for the final round. Wade’s grandmother passed away on Friday and he dedicated the tournament to her. Cole was playing for his fifth Gadsden title and to regain the lead in the Calhoun County points race.
Cole started the final round with a birdie on No. 1 to take the lead. However, a double bogey at No. 5 gave Wade a one-shot lead.
It was a lead Wade would not give up as he doggedly hung on down the back nine. Crowds began to gather as word of the duel got out as they matched one great shot after another.
Wade found the bunker, narrowly missed a creek, and hit a tree on 10, 11 and 12. There was a lid on the cup, however, as Cole was unable to get puts to drop to take advantage of those mistakes.
The two matched pars on 13 and 14. Both bogeyed 15 and birdied 16 as they continued to grind through the holes. Twenty-seven carts of people lined the fairways as Cole’s 3-year-old son was cheering for his daddy and Wade’s Gadsden buddies were cheering him on.
On 17, with Wade clinging to a one-stroke lead, Cole nailed an iron shot to within eight feet, but Wade answered back, nailing his own iron shot to within eight feet. Both missed birdie attempts, and they went to 18 with Wade still up by one.
Wade’s second shot into the par-4 hole was all over the pin as he left himself eight feet for birdie. Cole was off to the left with his tee shot, but somehow managed to hit a magnificent approach shot to within nine feet of the hole.
Cole’s birdie attempt slid by the hole. Wade knocked his birdie putt home for the win. Cole missed a short putt coming back, giving Wade a three-shot victory at 10-under par for the tournament.
Cole regained the points lead, but now second-place Brennan Clay is right on his heels heading into the final event at The Hill in a couple of weeks. Clay finished in a third-place tie with Chris Hummell at 3-under par.
Frank Shikle won the Senior A flight, Danny Dunlap won the Senior B flight and Tim Williams and Mike Lett tied for first place in the Senior C flight.
Alan Smedley won the Championship B flight and Mason Dennis won the Championship C flight.
Martin Halcomb and Layton Bussey tied for first place in the first flight. Daniel Black won the second flight, Wayne Copeland the third flight, Timmy Woodard the fourth flight, Matt Greer the fifth flight and Mark McCaig the sixth flight.
Layton Bussey had an ace on the 167-yard No. 2 hole while playing in last week’s Gadsden Invitational.
Will Broom aced No. 16 at Anniston Country Club last week. Clay Blackwell, Tyler McNickie, Ben Miller and Dustin Merritt were witnesses.
Mini-Tour event coming to Cider Ridge
The Rolling Red Mini-Tour, based out of Atlanta, is bringing a tournament to Cider Ridge Oct. 3-4. The purse will be around $7,000, and the tournament will be called the Cider Ridge Classic. It will have a Monday final round.
Baptist Campus Ministries
Baptist Campus Ministries will hold its 31st annual four-man scramble with a shotgun start on Thursday, Sept. 30, at Pine Hill Country Club. The event will cost $65 a person for 18 holes of golf, a golf cart, two mulligans, lunch and the opportunity to win some great prizes. First place is $100 a player, second place is $60 a player and third place is $40 a player. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., lunch is served at noon and they will tee off at 1 p.m. Call Gary Brittain at 256-435-7020 for more information.
The Rider Cup
Parker Memorial Baptist Church is inviting other churches in the area to get together a foursome or two to come play in a four-man scramble format.
The men will be teeing it up at 4 p.m. on Sept. 2 at Cane Creek. The cost is $20 for nine holes, cart fees, a burger, fries and a coke from the Cane Creek Grill, and good fellowship and fun.
If you want to add a foursome from your church, contact me at 256-419-6444.
Anniston Country Club (256-237-8412): There is a dogfight every Saturday and Sunday.
The Sunny King Charity Classic will be held Sept. 24-26. The Martha Vandervoort Memorial tournament will be hosted by ACC on Oct. 21. The RMC Foundation will hold its annual tournament on Oct. 6.
The Salute to Industry golf tournament will be held Sept.16 with a noon shotgun start. Call now to register your team.
Anniston Municipal, “The Hill” (256-231-7631): A round of golf, if you walk, is only $10 during the week and $12 on weekends. Add $14 for 18 holes if you want a cart. There is a special rate in place on Mondays and Tuesdays only — just $18 for all-day golf.
The Thursday afternoon nine-hole scramble will start at 5 p.m. Call the clubhouse by 4:30 p.m. to register.
The Calhoun County Championship will be held Aug. 28-29. “The Buddy Moore” Charity Classic two-man scramble will be held Sept. 11-12. The County Match Play Championship will be held Oct. 2-3.
Cane Creek Golf Course (256-820-9174): There is a special rate in place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Sunday as you can play 18 holes for just $20. Dogfights are taking place on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with registration time at 8:30 a.m. and a tee time of 9 a.m. You are invited to join fellow seniors and enjoy a round of golf and a great meal from The Cane Creek Grill.
The next City of Anniston senior two-man scramble will be held Sept. 6. The cost is $31 and covers green fees, cart rental and lunch. Tee time is 9 a.m. You must be over 50 years old, and check-in time is 8:30 a.m.
Cider Ridge Country Club (256-831-7222): Cider Ridge was listed as one of the top courses in Alabama in a recent Golfers’ Choice magazine. Veterans (retired and active) can play for just $20 plus tax on the last Tuesday of each month.
Pine Hill Country Club (256-237-2633): There are several dogfights each week at Pine Hill. They are at 10 a.m. Wednesday, noon Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday. The Parking Lot Gang hosts a scramble at 11 a.m. each Thursday. Registration is at 10:30 a.m.
Silver Lakes (256-892-3268): The first Tuesday of each month you can play golf at Silver Lakes for no green fees. You need to have a current RTJ Trail Card for this deal. The cart fee will be $20 if you take a cart. 2021 Trail Cards are $35.
Indian Oaks Golf Club (256-820-4030): Indian Oaks has a dogfight every Saturday and Sunday, starting at 8 a.m. Every Tuesday and Thursday there will be a scramble at 9 a.m.
Course rates are $20 for 18 holes and a cart on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. It is $15 for 18 holes and a cart on Wednesday. On Saturday and Sunday, the rate is $25 for 18 holes and a cart.
Saturday is the night for Indian Oaks’ season-long putting contests. Each Saturday night winner and runner-up qualifies for the year-end championship tournament. There are cash payouts. The contest begins at 7:30 p.m.
Contact Anniston Star golf writer Brant Locklier at firstname.lastname@example.org.