Irving, Osborne Lead Texas Four-Ball at Crown Colony
LUFKIN – Joshua Irving of Dallas and Fort Worth’s Will Osborne lead the Championship Division at the Texas Four-Ball Championship after firing a 7-under-par 65 on Friday at Crown Colony Country Club. Richard Hageman of Garden Ridge and Alan Hill of Spring Branch sit atop the Senior Division leaderboard following a 5-under 67.
Irving and Osborne, the 2017 North Four-Ball Champions, communicated as well as they performed. On the par-4 10th, for example, they collaborated over a 25-foot birdie putt. Osborne, already in with par, told Irving just before his playing partner’s putt to knock it down. Irving stroked his putter back and through. The ball dropped to move the duo to 5-under par for the day.
The 6,692-yard course designed by Robert von Hagge and Bruce Delvin in 1979 played tough during the opening round of the year’s first TGA Major Championship. The shot-maker’s track did not slow down the recent USGA Four-Ball qualifiers from attaining a two-stroke lead over the Championship Division, however.
“We hit a lot of great shots,” Osborne said. “We had a game plan on a couple holes and just kept in the fairway giving ourselves some opportunities.”
Irving birdied the par-5 first hole right out of the gates. Osborne followed with a birdie of his own on the par-4 second. The team never faltered on the front nine and went out in 4-under 32.
“We got off to a good start which allowed us to get the momentum rolling individually,” Irving said.
Their momentum carried into the back nine despite tough afternoon conditions. The duo carded four birdies over their closing nine holes including birdies on all three back nine par-5s. They finished the round with eight birdies and a lone bogey on the par-4 11th hole.
“We tried to give ourselves as many two looks as we could and that is always the goal out here,” Irving said.
Irving, who won TGA Player of the Year honors in 2015-16, and Osborne previously played two four-ball events as a team coming into the Texas Four-Ball. They won the 2017 North Four-Ball in January at Sky Creek Ranch Golf Club by one shot and recently qualified for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which takes place May 27-31 at famed Pinehurst Resort.
Both said they are looking forward to the weekend, but understood the importance of a solid first round.
“One of our main game plans was to get out there and post a good number today in case weather shortens the tournament,” Osborne said. “Hopefully it is 54 holes and we can go out there and play well over the next two days.”
Hageman and Hill lead the Senior Division by one stroke over John Pierce and Craig Hall. Hageman and Hill started on the 10th hole and were even par through nine holes. The duo made a statement over their final nine holes as they carded a 5-under-par 31.
Hageman birded four holes on his own.
“Four-Ball is a birdie game,” Hageman said. “We limited our mistakes, kept it in the fairway and whether the wind blew or not remained patient.”
The Texas Four-Ball Championship features a 47-team field with two age divisions. The Championship Division (25 years or older) and Senior Division (55 and older) play from different tees and are competing for separate Four-Ball titles over the course of the 54-hole tournament.
The second round begins Saturday at 8 a.m. at Crown Colony Country Club. For more information on the Texas Four-Ball click here.