Ellison and Shields scrambled to four eagles and shot 15-under-par 55 to grab a one-shot lead over Matt Rogers and Jeremy McGatha. Ellison and McGatha ended their long-standing Sunny King partnership after this year’s event.
“P.J. and I have battled the last few years in tournaments and always talked about playing together when the time is right,” Ellison said.
They made eagles on 1, 3, 13 and 18. They also had nine 3s on the front nine and a bogey.
Rogers and McGatha played bogey-free golf. They birdied eight of nine holes on the front, but had no eagles.
“Both of them played well, same with us,” McGatha said. “It came down to making putts and they eagle-eagle (on 18 and 1) and we went birdie-birdie. If we can hang in there and make our eagles (today) maybe we’ll have a chance.”
Brian and Cecil Martin are third at 57.
Geeting wins thriller
Adrian Geeting opened a big early lead in his Calhoun County Match Play Championship duel with Billy Thompson, but needed a career shot on the final hole to close out his victory.
Geeting, the eighth seed, hit a 3-wood from 246 yards to six inches on the par-4 13th at Cane Creek Golf Course and tapped in for birdie to beat No. 9 Thompson 1 up Saturday. He advances to meet top-seeded defending champion Gary Wigington in the quarterfinals.
“It was the craziest match in the world,” Geeting said. “When we got to that shot (on 13), all I could do was hit all I got. It was crazy.”
After Geeting had everything going early, the match was all square going to four-hole gauntlet across the road known as The Hollow. Geeting went 1 up with a 20-foot birdie on 11, but Thompson stayed alive on the par-3 12th when he chipped in for par and Geeting 3-putted.
On the fateful 13th, Geeting’s drive clipped the trees down the right side and fell straight down, while Thompson’s kicked out of the trees into the rough about 160 yards out. Geeting took a mighty lash with his 3-wood, the ball landed about 20 yards short of the greenside bunker and rolled so close both players thought it was holed. Thompson’s approach found the bunker, then he almost holed it blasting out.
“It was one of the best shots I’ve seen; definitely a career shot for him,” Thompson said. “It was one of those up-and-down matches that if you were watching it on TV you’d be, ‘Wow, what a match.’
“It started off awful, but turned out to be one of the best matches I’ve played. Being four down after 6 I was shocked to see the last hole.”
In an earlier match, No. 13 Gary Wilborn upset son Janson, the No. 4 seed, 1 up.
Sports Writer Al Muskewitz: 256-235-3577. On Twitter @almusky_star.