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Young duo take early lead after the first day of the Sunny King Classic

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sunny king friday

Golfers practice putting during the opening day of the Sunny King Classic at Silver Lakes Golf Course. / Photo by Stephen Gross/The Anniston Star

The Sunny King Charity Classic teed off Friday for the 42nd time, and after three opening rounds at Silver Lakes, Cider Ridge and the Anniston Country Club, it was anyone's game.

To the surprise of many, a young team of Cameron McCareeth and Sawyer Edwards took an early lead on top of the leaderboard, and their 13-under 59 held up for a three-way tie at the end of the first day.

The teams of Jacob Harper-Kyle Daugherty and Kaine Gibson-William Brown were also tied for first. Harper is the reigning Sunny King Classic champion, having won in 2019 with Jacob LeCroy. However, LeCroy isn’t in this year's competition. There was no tournament in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edwards, a 10th-grader at White Plains High School, said he didn’t think the duo had the best opening round.

“I didn’t think we did that good,” Edwards said. “Obviously, it was good enough. I thought we should have done a little better.”

McCareeth, on the other hand, thought the pair was setting themselves up nicely.

“I’m feeling pretty good about it,” McCareeth said. “But there’s a long way to go. We have to play good (Saturday), and we’ll see what happens.”

Edwards said the team’s short game was their best asset, and the par-4s at Silver Lakes were their best holes.

“We didn’t birdie a par-3, and we didn’t eagle a par-5,” Edwards said. “We played the par-4s the best that we could. It's kind of weird, to be honest.”

Gary “Twig” Wigington and playing partner Ty Cole, the Classic champions in 2016, '17 and '18, are tied for sixth with an 11-under 61.

“We played bad,” Wigington said after their round at Silver Lakes. “We had a bogey on a hole 75 yards out, and we just didn’t play well. We’ve got a lot to make up in the next few days, and hopefully it’ll get better.”

Wigington said Silver Lakes was set up to be more challenging than normal, and that played into his opening-round woes.

“We didn’t kill ourselves, but we didn’t help ourselves," Wigington said.

Wigingon said the two need to play better Saturday and Sunday to put Cole and himself back in contention and have a shot at a fourth trophy.

“If we play good, I think we’ll be right in there and have a shot at it,” Wigington said “But, we have to play good, and play a lot better than we did today. We’ll go out and hopefully have a better performance (Saturday).”

Those who played at Silver Lakes on Friday head to Cider Ridge on Saturday.

For Edwards and McCareeth, the pair is confident going into round 2.

“I think we should do pretty good,” Edwards said. “I play Cider Ridge a good bit. I’ve played a practice round, so I kind of know what’s up.”

Randy Reaves-Will Reaves and Jackson King-Freeman Fite are tied at fourth at 60. Wigington-Cole, Anna Reid-Caleb Morrow and Dalton Chandler-Ott Chandler are tied for sixth.

Allen Cameron-Marshall Ghee, Ryan Howard-Scott Murphree, Jason Johnson-Landon Straub and Matt Rogers-Andrew Brooks are tied for ninth at 62.

The players who started at the Anniston Country Club on Friday will move to Silver Lakes on Saturday before moving to Cider Ridge on Sunday.

The players who started at Cider Ridge move to Anniston Country Club on Saturday and finish up at Silver Lakes on Sunday.

The players who started at Silver Lakes move to Cider Ridge on Saturday and finish up at Anniston Country Club on Sunday.