Alabama Four-Ball: Eubanks, Crabtree victors

POINT CLEAR, Ala. (May 1, 2011) -- Less than a week ago Woodie Eubanks and Forrest Crabtree were not even a team in the 29th State Four Ball Championship played over the Dogwood Course at Lakewood Golf Club in Point Clear. Sunday afternoon they were crowned champions.

Eubanks has played the last two years with two-time State Amateur champion Will Swift, but Swift had to drop out when his wife had their second child. Eubanks was going to withdraw when he was contacted by Crabtree, who was a freshman at Samford University when Eubanks was a senior, to see if he might want to play with him. Eubanks is now the head men’s and women’s golf coach at Samford and Crabtree is a dentist. Crabtree’s original partner fellow Mobile native Michael Johnson also had to withdraw with a bad back. So it was just meant to be that he and Eubanks ended up as a team.

Eubanks is delighted Crabtree made that call.

On their way to the title they defeated the team of Dambro and McLaughlin in the round of 16 and then took out defending champion John Hanson and his partner Jeff Champion in the quarterfinals. Last year Hanson, of Montgomery, paired with Alex Balog to win. Sunday they defeated John Wright and Haymes Snedeker 1 up in the semifinals and 2007 State Four Ball champions Del Wood III and Alan Coshatt in the final by a score of 3 and 2.Eubanks, of Pinson, won the State Mid-Amateur in 2008 and was the low individual in the 2009 State Club Team Championship while representing Limestone Springs, and Crabtree, of Mobile, won the 1997 State Junior.

“We’ve never played together in a tournament before, so the first day we had to learn each other’s games,” Eubanks said. “I’m aggressive and he’s a tactician. It took some getting used to each other’s style of play, but we have done well together.”

Very true indeed.

“The semifinal match was the best match, bar none, that I’ve ever been involved in,” Crabtree said. “There were 14 holes that had either a birdie or an eagle on them from one of the four of us.

“I’ve not played State championships in years as I have two young children and don’t get to travel, but have played in local tournaments. This was so much fun.”

Eubanks concurred and they kept up their good play in the final.

“It was a lot of fun to win and be involved in such good matches. Forrest helped keep me on an even keel and I helped him be a little more aggressive.”In previous years Eubanks has made it to the final and semifinal with Talbert Griffin, and the semifinals and round of 16 with Swift. He has a new partner now for sure and he and Crabtree will be back to defend.

Wright, of Gulf Shores, won the State Amateur in 1989, and he and Snedeker of Fairhope shot 64-64–128 to tie for the low total with Steve Hudson and Robert Nelson in the stroke play qualifying. They kept playing well in the match play to reel off two wins Saturday. Snedeker is the older brother of Brandt Snedeker, who won on the PGA Tour last week at The Heritage, and Haymes is a fine player in his own right. Lakewood is his home course and he also starred on a recent series of the Golf Channel’s “Big Break” golf reality show. However, they lost 1 down in a close match with the eventual champions in the semifinals.

In the second semifinal Wood and Coshatt beat Robbie Cotten and Tripp Owens by a score of 3 and 2.

In the final Wood and Coshatt won the first hole, but Eubanks and Crabtree then took control with four birdies and an eagle on the front nine to turn 3 up. They kept that lead the rest of the way, closing the match out on the 16th hole.

ABOUT THE Alabama Four-Ball

36 holes of gross four-ball stroke play to determine 16 sides for match play. Entries are open to sides of male amateur golfers who are legal residents of Alabama and have an active GHIN® USGA Handicap Index® at an AGA member club. Maximum allowable combined team handicap is 16.8 under the USGA Handicap System™. Two players who play as partners comprise a side. Partners are not required to be from the same club.

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