They gave themselves plenty of chances on the back nine, converted most of them, and wound up winning the fifth annual Buddy Moore Memorial Charity Golf Tournament at Anniston Municipal Golf Course.
Rogers and McGatha shot a final-round 12-under-par 58 to finish at 26-under 114 for a one-shot victory over first-round leaders Jaylon Ellison and P.J. Shields. Twice in the first five holes Sunday they trailed the leaders by three.
“We just hung in there,” Rogers said. “If you can hang in there you never know what’s going to happen.
“We just had to stay the course. We left a few coming in there, but I had a few putts that fell.”
Indeed. Rogers made four clutch birdie putts over the final six holes to overtake their long-hitting playing partners who just couldn’t get anything going on the back.
Rogers made birdies on 13 to get the team within one of the lead, 15 to draw even, 16 from the fringe to take the lead and 18 to match their playing partners’ birdie and avoid a playoff. Rogers’ clinching putt on 18 circled the hole before dropping.
“That’s why I love playing with him up here; he putts these greens (well), he loves them,” McGatha said.
Rogers and McGatha were able to persevere because Ellison and Shields couldn’t get anything going on the back nine.
Ellison and Shields played the first 27 holes of the tournament in 23-under-par – with six eagles – but they made only two birdies on the back nine Sunday, and one of those was on 18. They lost ground by making five straight pars on holes 13 through 17.
“We played three nines very solid, we played our game, and we felt like if we played one more good nine, it was ours,” Ellison said. “With five pars in a row on the back we pretty much gave it away. We gave it away.”
Despite the disappointment this weekend, Ellison said his partnership with Shields “will be tough to beat” in next year’s Sunny King Charity Classic.
“We’ve got such good horsepower, put our two games together it can be deadly at times,” said Shields, a 22-year-old from LaFayette, Ga. “I don’t know if we got just too loose or what, but making five pars in a row on the back you beat yourself.”
In the other flights, Gary Thomas and Danny Whitaker won a three-team scorecard playoff that went all the way back to 13 to win the Maryanne Flight, Tim Mullendore and Mike Braxton won a two-hole scorecard playoff to win the Scott Flight and Dickie Brittain and Ron Wheeler shot 3-under 67 to win the Angie Flight.
The event, played in honor of the late Hill pro and recent Calhoun County Sports Hall of Fame inductee, raised more than $7,000 for its charities. All the flights bore the names of Moore’s family members.
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.
Buddy Moore Memorial Tournament results
Matt Rogers-Jeremy McGatha 56-58—114
Jaylon Ellison-P.J. Shields 55-60—115
Brian Martin-Billy Thompson 57-63—120
Clay Calkins-Brandon Roberts 62-61—123
Grant Jackson-Trey Sawyer 61-62—123
Jackson Bonner-Matt Hunter 59-65—124
Andrew Brooks-Steve Akers 60-65—125
George Salmon-Lee Waldron 62-64—126
Shane Chappell-Matt Miller 61-67—128
Adrian Geeting-Clay Bass 62-68—130
x-Gary Thomas-Danny Whitaker 64-66—130
Tom Sawyer-Roger Jackson 64-66—130
Pat O’Brien-Byron Preston 63-67—130
Rob Riddle-Austin Minter 63-68—131
Russ Montgomery-Steve Montgomery 67-66—133
Tony Strickland-Mike Herndon 65-70—135
Benji Turley-Janson Wilborn 65-70—135
Lynn Oswalt-Norman Thomas 66-69—135
Scott Moore-Will Prickett 66-67—137
David Fitzgerald-David Hill 66-75—141
z-Tim Mullendore-Mike Braxton 68-68—136
Keith Riley-Jeff Shaddix 68-68—136
Mike Zinn-Brian Whitley 67-70—137
Ralph Carter-Lamar Carter 69-69—138
Steve Mullendore-Will Mullendore 69-69—138
Nick Pollard-Brett Varnum 67-72—139
Mark Usry-Ed Usry 69-72—141
Steve McClellan-Steve Shockley 68-76—144
Jerre Dingler-Ted Heim 69-76—145
Dickie Brittain-Ron Wheeler 72-67—139
Rodney Wade-Bruce Collins 71-71—142
Donnie McGinnis-Herschel Tanner 72-70—142
Tim Davis-Doug Mooneyham 70-72—142
Preston Pepper-Daniel Clonts 72-71—143
Steve Rogers-Keith Gann 71-75—146
Elbert Rogers-Kelly Rogers 71-78—149
Ken Renfroe-Chad Ray 75-75—150
Tom Mullins-Henry Higginbotham 75-79—154
Kyle Kempton-Matt Brown 78-81—159
Steve Hughes-Woody Adcock 84-78—162
x-won scorecard playoff on No. 13
z-won scorecard playoff on No. 17
Sunday specialty prizes
Mark Sawyer Longest Drive – AM: Daniel Clonts, PM: Andrew Brooks.
Mike Clonts Longest Putt – AM: Steve Rogers, PM: Brian Martin.
David Coleman Closest to the Pin – AM: Donnie McGinnis, PM: Billy Thompson.