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With a barrage of 11 natural birdies, a net eagle and a net birdie, brothers Brandon and Chris McKeel erased a three-shot deficit the final round and sizzled to the overall championship in last weekend’s Member-Guest tournament at Willow Springs Country Club.
The McKeels ruled the Springs or lowest-handicap flight with rounds of 62-58 for a net 22-under-par 120 to prevail by two shots against Rick Proctor-Andy Harris. Proctor-Harris, who owned the lead entering Sunday’s final round, carded a 59-63—122.
“We caught fire,” Brandon McKeel eagerly reported.
“I have a memory forever,” he added in regards to teaming with his accomplished brother. Chris McKeel led Hunt High to a pair of North Carolina High School Athletic Association 3-A championships, starred at Virginia Tech — where he was proclaimed All-Atlantic Coast Conference — and briefly played professionally.
The duo of Donnie Page-Leander Green salvaged third in the Springs Flight at 62-62--124.
Jimmy Easom-Rudy Outland overcame a four-shot deficit after the first round to win the Willow flight at 64-58—122, followed by Scott Hill-David Blanton at 64-58-—122. M.A. Tyson-Lee Fulcher, the first-round front-runner, wound up third at 60-63—123. Easom-Outland won a card playoff for the top spot.
Greg Narron-Jack Wagamon, in the Country Club flight, established a five-stroke lead in Saturday’s round and hung on for a first-place finish at 62-65—127.
Hank Butts-Gary Hodges emerged the runner-up at 68-61-—129, with Lee Lemmons-Randy Barnes third at 67-63—130.
The format was best ball of two for Saturday’s round and Texas scramble for Sunday’s final round. Handicaps were utilized each round.
In the Springs flight, the McKeels birdied Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 9 on the front and Nos. 11, 12, 13, 14 and 18 on the back. Brandon McKeel, with a 2-handicap, registered a net eagle on No. 9 and a net birdie on No. 16. Chris McKeel birdied Nos. 3, 4, 5, 6, 13 and 14, while Brandon contributed birdies at Nos. 6, 7, 9, 14 and 18 — after Chris launched his tee shot on the par-3 within a couple feet of the flag. Both birdied Nos. 11 and 12.
Proctor-Harris hung tough with birdies at Nos. 3 and 6. However, the net eagle on No. 9 left the duos deadlocked. The McKeels then surged to a three-shot cushion with birdies at Nos. 11, 12 and 13. Both teams birdied No. 14 and Proctor-Harris shaved the deficit to two shots with Harris’ birdie at No. 15. But the only remaining birdie was claimed by the McKeels on No. 18.
With each playing the preferred tee shot on each layout, 38-year-old Chris McKeel fired a 6-under 65 and Brandon McKeel, 41, fashioned a 67.