They’re back and playing like they’re primed for a Sunny King Charity Classic three-peat.
The tandem of Ty Cole-Gary Wigington expect a challenging three days at Silver Lakes, Cider Ridge and Anniston Country Club during the 40th King Classic, however.
The field includes 2013 winners Garrett Burgess-Cypress Hathorn, perennial contenders who finished fourth a year ago. Cory Etter-Caleb Bowen finished third in 2017, and Logan-Randy Archer took fifth.
Perennial contenders Brennan Clay-Jeremy McGatha rank third and fourth, respectively, in the Calhoun County tour standings.
Lance Evans, who teamed with Ryan Howard to stun the field in 2014, and Chandler Wilborn form an interesting team.
“Brennan and Jeremy have been playing really good as a team,” Wigington said. “They won the two-man at the first of the year. Cory Etter and Caleb Bowen have been playing a lot together, and they’re always a good team. Garrett and Cypress have won it, and they’re always going to be a force.
“You know how it is. That weekend, if anybody gets hot for two or three days, there can be a streaky team that’s going to be there.”
But Jaylon Ellison-P.J. Shields, the leading team through two rounds and runners-up a year ago, did not return. Also missing from the field is the father-son team of Ott-Dalton Chandler, who set the modern scoring record at 42 under par while winning in 2015.
Cole-Wigington broke the record a year later, shooting 43 under par, and won at 40 under in 2017. They rank one-two in the county points standings.
At a time when super teams have become a thing in the NBA, Cole-Wigington have played their way into such regard in the Sunny King. Each has a deep enough game to complement the other.
They’ve also had two years to work out how their team strategy.
“He hits the ball long, as well, so if I can keep it in the fairway, and I have pretty decent length, too,” Wigington said. “If I’m hitting the fairway, he can go ahead and fire at it himself.
“It kind of leaves him pretty much free to go ahead and hit the long ball and not have to worry about keeping it in play, if we’ve already got one out there to play for it.”
Wigington, who doesn’t play much during the winter, says he’s cut down on errant shots as the season has progressed.
“Usually, it’s about this time of the year, when the season is about over with, that my game comes together,” he said. “I’ve been practicing a good bit, trying to get ready for it. I talked to Ty, and he seems to be ready.
“We’ve played together a good bit this year, so we probably won’t play any practice rounds together, so we’ll just go at it Friday.”
How long can Cole-Wigington maintain their dominance?
“I think we’re both very competitive and are going to work at it and try to be as good as we can,” Wigington said. “As long as we’re still healthy, we’ve got some good years ahead of us.”