Photo | Tommy Hicks
There’s something about Price Brown and the Mobile Metro golf tournament. In a short period of time, Brown has etched his name on the tournament trophy and that of the Mobile Junior Metro tourney a number of times.
The latest title came Sunday when he ran away from the field to win the College Division and the overall 2022 championship. He claimed a two-shot lead in Friday’s first round of the 66th annual three-day, 72-hole event at Azalea City Golf Course and simply increased his advantage with every round.
Brown, a member of the UAB golf team, fired an even-par 72 in Friday’s first round to grab a two-shot lead and followed that with a 2-under-par 70 on Saturday to extend his lead to nine shots. On Sunday, with those seeking the overall championship playing 36 holes, Brown turned in rounds of 69 and 74, and won the overall title by a whopping 15 shots.
Brown credited his ball-striking and putting to his victory, hitting most of the greens over the 72 holes and three days in regulation.
“One thing, in particular, that was working for me was my ball-striking. I really didn’t miss many greens and I just kept it in play,” Brown said following Sunday’s final round. “I could have had a few more putts go in here and there, but I hit a bunch of greens and I hit a bunch of fairways and that really helped me out.”
Brown said he enjoys playing the Azalea City course; it is one with which he has a good deal of familiarity.
“I’ve played here hundreds of times, so it definitely suits my game,” he said. “You kind of have to drive it well here and the greens aren’t the biggest in the world, so you have to miss them in the right spots on the greens. That definitely was a factor that the course fits well into how I play.”
Last year, Brown finished third for the overall title to champion Sheldon Statkewicz, who turned professional later that summer and did not return to defend his crown this year. But Brown won the 2020 Mobile Metro crown the first time he was eligible to play for the title — after taking the 2019 Mobile Junior Metro crown just a few months before.
He is the only player in the tournament’s long history to hold the Mobile Metro and Mobile Junior Metro crowns simultaneously.
“It’s pretty cool, just playing against all the guys that I grew up playing with,” Brown said. “Being able to win it twice is pretty cool, and then holding both the Metro and the Junior Metro [championships] at the same time was a pretty cool accomplishment. I am happy and will be happy to keep playing in this tournament.”
This weekend he’ll be in Birmingham seeking the Alabama Men’s State Amateur title at Bent Brook Golf Course. From there he is planning on competing in a number of other events over the summer, including the Spirit of America in Decatur, Ala., and the Magnolia Amateur in Hattiesburg, Miss.
His summer schedule is aimed at making improvements to his game and getting him ready for the fall season at UAB, which begins in September.
“I’m just trying to build up my game to be at a peak when I head back to campus at UAB,” Brown said. “That’s kind of the whole goal of the summer, just keep building up my game and keep progressing.
“I would say playing well in the fall season is a big part of your success in the spring season. You get a feel for the team and everything. But certainly, the spring season is the most important, but the fall season plays a role in how your [spring] season is going to go.”
Dawson Farni, who just completed his time on the Coastal Alabama Community College team, finished second in the overall standings and in the College Division as well. He turned in scores of 78-73-76-73—300, which is 12-over par on the par-72 layout at Azalea City.
Troy University golfer Gregory Jones was third in the College Division with a score of 309, while Scot Sealy, winner of the Senior Division — a three-day, 54-hole tournament for golfers 50 years old and older — also shot a 72-hole total of 309 to tie Jones for third place in the overall standings.
Sealy’s three-day score in the Senior Division was 75-79-74 for a total of 228. Wanting to take a shot at finishing well in the overall standings also, he played the final 18 holes of the required 72-hole event on Sunday. He shot an 81 in that round.
The Championship Division, led by Sealy, featured Barkley Gannon finishing second with a 72-hole score of 313, while Charles Gay turned in a score of 316 to take third place. In the Senior Division, Brad Williams was second with a score of 240, 18 shots behind Sealy over 54 holes, while Ernie Pitts took third at 244.
One of the unique aspects of the Mobile Metro is its format of playing 18 holes Friday and Saturday, but finishing with 36 holes of play for everyone in the College Division and Championship Division and those from the Senior Division seeking positioning in the overall standings.
Competition was also held in other flights, with winners tabbed via gross score and net score. In the First Flight, Ryan Mathers was the gross score winner, with Ryan Aiyer taking the net score title. In the Second Flight, Tripp Brannon was the gross score champion, while James Moran took home the net score honors.
In the Super Senior First Flight (players 65 years old and older), Sam Marone took the gross score title and Chuck Hatcher was the net score winner. In the Super Senior Second Flight, Melvin Hall took the gross score championship while 84-year-old Joe Cherry was the net score winner.
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