Slane, Pelham win Goodwin Memorial Classic; Oxford finishes third
by Al Muskewitz
amuskewitz@annistonstar.com
Apr 23, 2013 | 4314 views |  0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Oxford’s Cole Abney hits his second shot  from the fairway Tuesday on the 10th hole at Cider Ridge Golf Course during the Kelsey Goodwin Memorial Golf Tournament. (Photo by Trent Penny)
Oxford’s Cole Abney hits his second shot from the fairway Tuesday on the 10th hole at Cider Ridge Golf Course during the Kelsey Goodwin Memorial Golf Tournament. (Photo by Trent Penny)
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OXFORD — Connor Slane had two pretty good days in his final high school tournament before the state sectionals.

All he did was win medalist honors, be selected for the event’s $1,000 scholarship and make a shot that clinched the team victory. His birdie on the first hole of the team playoff Tuesday secured Pelham High’s win in the fourth annual Kelsey Goodwin Memorial Golf Classic at Cider Ridge Golf Club.

The North Alabama signee shot a final-round 73 to finish at 2-over 146 and win by five shots over Logan Archer, the Oxford sophomore with whom he shared the first-round lead.

His birdie on the first extra hole — the par-5 18th — a nice bounce-back from his bogey there in regulation, sealed the Panthers’ three-stroke win over Hewitt-Trussville in the playoff. Both teams finished regulation at 668, nine shots better than host Oxford.

“It’s been awesome,” Slane said. “Golf-wise, it was just a great ball-striking week, rolled it well on the greens and was fortunate to come out on top. To win that scholarship in Kelsey Goodwin’s name, it’s just been really special. Pretty solid two days.”

The playoff was the first in tournament history for the team title. All five players for both squads returned to the 18th tee and played for a cumulative score. Pelham won it with 23 strokes.

The Panthers were the first-round leaders in the inaugural Classic in 2010, but were overtaken by Athens on the final day. They had to go extra holes this time, but held on.

“This is our last real tournament with me at Pelham before sectionals and it’s pretty cool to win it,” Slane said. “It’s a good way to finish.”

His “stress-free” birdie in the playoff was just a continuation of his consistent play all season. He hit driver off the tee, then “took a little bit off” a 3-wood from 246 yards into a breeze to about 25 feet and two-putted.

He had two birdies in regulation and was so comfortably ahead by the time he got to 18, his bogey had no impact on the medalist race. It did, however, contribute to the team segment, which ended in a deadlock.

Slane’s first birdie on the par-3 No. 3 hole put some space between him and his only two real challengers, Archer and Gadsden City sophomore John Derrick Dawson. His second, on the par-5 15th, virtually locked up his third individual win of the season.

“I had the same mentality as yesterday, just go out and play the best I can,” he said. “The first nine and first few holes on the back I was just out there playing the best I can. The last few holes I knew I had a little bit of the lead and played a little bit conservative. … It worked out nice.”

Hewitt-Trussville started the day five shots back in the team competition but got big moves from Carden McCay (10 shots) and Chandler Hill (five) to help make up the difference.

Oxford, meanwhile, went into the final round six shots back, but even playing on its home course couldn’t make up any ground. The Yellow Jackets were led by Cole Abney’s 76 and Tyler Putnam’s 84. Abney made the all-tournament team.

“We’re going to have figure some ways to get some practice on the back nine ourselves,” Oxford coach Darrell Cline said. “We just didn’t get it done. No excuses.”

There was some debate whether Archer should have been placed in the Oxford lineup. Had he been, the Yellow Jackets would have won their tournament for the first time by four shots.

Archer, who only became eligible to play for the Jackets last week and will play in next week’s sectionals as an individual, ran into a couple of bad breaks on the front nine and turned in 5 over. He made his only birdie on No. 10 and closed with five straight pars to edge Dawson for second place by a shot.

“I was playing to beat (Slane) because I was trying to win it, but it didn’t go down the way I planned it,” Archer said. “I’m a sophomore, he’s a senior and he’s probably got a little more experience for this. I was going to try to play steady with him and try to stay with him and maybe give him a run for it at the end. It didn’t go down that way.”

Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
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