Moll Leads 109th Texas Amateur at Halfway Point
TRINITY – William Moll came into the 109th Texas Amateur with relatively modest expectations. The Memorial High School senior from Houston said he hoped to get in four good rounds and maybe score a top-20 finish. After 36 holes, he’s in position to do a heck of a lot better than that.
With his second consecutive 3-under-par 69 on Friday at Whispering Pines Golf Club, Moll finds himself in the lead of the oldest and most prestigious championship in Texas. His 6-under 138 total gives him a one-shot advantage over a pair of Texas A&M teammates, junior Chandler Phillips from Huntsville and sophomore Reese Ramsey from Austin.
(For complete scores, click here.)
Moll racked up seven birdies in his second round – including three in a row on Holes 12-14 – thanks to a hot putter and deft short game. He had nine one-putts on the day and added a chip-in for birdie for good measure.
“I didn’t hit it too good, but I had 25 putts,” said Moll, who won the 2017 Jones Cup Junior Invitational last December. “I was chipping and putting really good. I had a bunch of good up-and-downs and one-putts for birdie and par.”
Moll, who has verbally committed to Vanderbilt, suffered a bogey on the par-5 17th hole when he nearly lost his ball and pushed a 3-wood into the tall fescue grass right of the green. He bounced back right away, however, by draining a 35-footer for birdie on the treacherous par-4 18th hole.
“It feels great,” Moll said about his position atop the leaderboard. “Tomorrow, though, I probably won’t think about it and treat it like a regular round of golf.”
He’ll be paired together with Phillips and Reece, who are tied for second place at 5-under 139. Phillips, who holds the Aggies’ record for career victories with six college wins, shot 3-under 69 in the second round. He called it a “boring round of golf.” Apparently his version of boring is a bogey-free, three-birdie trip around the No. 1-ranked course in the state.
“Everything was mediocre, but I don’t care. I like boring golf,” said Phillips, who counts the 2018 NCAA Regional Championship at Traditions Club as his biggest collegiate victory to date. “It was a pretty solid day; I just couldn’t read the greens today to save my life.”
Phillips kept his round together with an all-world par on the sixth hole, which was his 15th of the day. He pulled his 2-iron left off the tee, which led to a brief ball search in the trees and high grass. When it looked like all he had available was a punch-out back to the fairway, Phillips instead rifled a 7-iron from 191 yards onto the green. He two-putted from 35 feet to walk away with par.
“I had a flyer lie out of there,” he said with a smile. “I’m an idiot. I am an idiot, but I look like a hero on that hole. I’ll take it.”
Reese, for his part, shot out of the gates like a rocket for the second straight day. He was 4-under through six holes in Thursday’s first round when he posted 69. On Friday, he upped the ante and started birdie-birdie-eagle. He finished with a 2-under 70 to grab a share of second place.
“I started off and hit an iron shot on my first hole to 2 feet,” said Ramsey, who started his round on the 10th hole. “Then on my second hole, I hit it to about 3 feet. Then I hit a 5-iron on Hole 12, the par-5, to about a foot. So I had about 5 feet of putts on my first three holes. All kick-ins. A good way to start, I guess.”
Trip Carter from Dallas and San Antonio’s Levi Valadez, who was a runner-up in last summer’s 108th Texas Amateur, are tied for fourth place at 3-under 141. Carter rolled in three birdies in the second round and fired a 2-under 70. Valadez also made three birdies Friday. He posted a 1-under 71.
Tied for sixth place at 2-under 142 are Kyle Hogan from Cypress, Wes Artec from Kingwood and Pierceson Coody from Plano. Mitchell Meissner from San Antonio holds ninth place alone at 1-under 143. Four players are tied for 10th place, including Mitchell’s brother McClure Meissner.
Overnight leaders Pryce Beshoory from Pearland and Angelo Leyvani from San Antonio both fell back a bit on Friday. Beshoory, a junior at the University of Houston, shot 77. He’s tied for 14th place. Leyvani, a senior at Stephen F. Austin, posted a 79. He’s tied for 22nd place.
Fifty-five players made the 36-hole cut at 8-over 152 or better.
The third round of the 109th Texas Amateur starts Saturday at 8 a.m. For more information, click here.