Top Texas Amateurs Ready for 97th WTGA State Am at San Antonio Country Club
SAN ANTONIO – The best amateurs in Texas will vie for a piece of history on one of the state’s oldest and most iconic courses when the 97th WTGA State Amateur takes place from July 17-20 at San Antonio Country Club.
For nearly 100 years, this highly competitive event has identified the best amateur in Texas. Eighteen holes of stroke play qualifying sets up a 32-player Championship Bracket, through which five rounds of one-on-one match play determines the champion.
(Don’t miss our Championship Preview Video!)
As one would expect from the state’s oldest women’s amateur championship, the event attracts the best and brightest collegiate players from all corners of Texas, as well as passionate mid-amateurs and seniors who have the experience and determination to contend for the title.
TCU senior Annika Clark, for example, knows what it takes to win the most prestigious amateur title in Texas. The scrappy competitor from Highlands won the 95th playing of the event in 2015 at Ridgewood Country Club. Clark scored a 3-and-2 victory over the University of Houston’s Maddie Raynor from Southlake.
“This is my favorite tournament of the year,” said Clark, who advanced to the semifinals last year. “It’s such a great opportunity to play against not only the best golfers in the state, but some of the best in the country. Texas breeds great women golfers, which is what makes this tournament so exciting and enjoyable to play.”
Raynor, now a senior at Houston, is also in the field at San Antonio Country Club. Likewise are collegians Lauren Comegys of Austin and Macy Holliday of Dallas, two recent winners of TGA Women’s Championships.
Comegys, a junior at James Madison University, won the 2017 Four-Ball Championship with Ann Parmerter at The Hills Country Club. Comegys also advanced to the Round of 32 at the 96th WTGA State Amateur. Holliday, a sophomore at Mississippi, survived a three-person, two-hole playoff to capture the 2018 Women’s Stroke Play Championship at Magnolia Creek in June.
This year’s championship will be a family affair for Kelley Nittoli, a former LPGA, European and Asian Tour player who left the professional game in 1996. The reinstated amateur from San Antonio is currently an assistant coach for the women’s team at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She advanced to the Round of 32 at Briggs Ranch during the 2012 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur and looks to contend at San Antonio Country Club. Nittoli’s daughter Julia has a similar mission. A junior at Belmont University, Julia Nittoli is in the field for the WTGA State Amateur, too. Her father – and Kelley’s husband – also will be on hand for the championship. He’s the Director of Golf at San Antonio Country Club.
One of the five founding TGA member clubs in 1906, San Antonio Country Club is one of the oldest clubs in Texas. The first nine holes were designed by Scottish professional Alex Findlay and opened for play in 1907. The club added a second nine in 1913, also designed by Findlay.
When legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast was working on nearby Oak Hills Country Club in the 1920s, San Antonio Country Club members called upon “Tillie” to look at their course and do some fine-tuning. Other updates over the years were overseen by Joe Finger and Jay Morrish.
This will be the seventh Texas Women’s State Amateur to be held at San Antonio Country Club and the first since 1964. While it has been a while since the club last hosted the event, the list of past champions at San Antonio Country Club reads like a “Who’s Who” of golf history in the Lone Star State. Most notably, Edna C. Lapham won at SACC in 1919 and 1923 and was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1993. Betty Jameson, who entered the TGHOF in 1979, won the State Amateur title at SACC in 1936.
The 6,828-yard, par-72 layout is known statewide as a true shot-maker’s delight. With majestic tree-lined fairways, well-protected green complexes and natural water features, the old course is sure to provide a great stage for all the talented competitors.
Recent winners of this championship include a crop of current professionals who are pursuing careers on the LPGA Tour. Former Oklahoma State standout Maddie McCrary won last summer’s edition at Traditions Club. The fiery competitor from Wylie defeated the University of Houston’s Allie Anderson 2 and 1 to capture the victory. McCrary is now a rookie on the LPGA Tour.
Other current professionals who have won the WTGA State Am include Houston’s Portland Rosen (2014) and Colleyville native Emily Collins (2012). Three more recently inducted Texas Golf Hall of Fame members have their names on the trophy, as well. Toni Wiesner was a five-time winner before she passed away in 2009. It took her 12 tries to win it for the first time in 1985. She then reeled off victories in 1988, ’89, ’93 and 2003. Wiesner was an admired example of how an intensely fierce player can compete with class and sportsmanship. The TGA has two junior golf programs in her honor, including the Wiesner Winners’ Program that highlights exceptional participants in the LPGA/USGA Girls Golf sites across Texas.
Wiesner went into the TGHOF in 2010, the same year longtime Dallas resident Carolyn Creekmore was inducted. Creekmore won the WTGA State Am in 1995 and the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur in 2004. Mina Hardin, formerly of Fort Worth, was elected into the TGHOF in 2012. Like Wiesner, Hardin is a five-time WTGA State Am champion (1996, ’97, ’99, ’00 and ’06) and won the U.S. Women’s Senior Amateur in 2010.
In addition to the prestige of earning the victory, there also is a bevy of Texas Women’s Player of the Year points at stake. The winner takes home 100 points; last year McCrary won the championship and Player of the Year award as well. The runner-up receives 75 points; semifinalists earn 50 points. For more on the Texas Women’s Player of the Year points race, click here.
To learn more about the 97th WTGA State Amateur, click here.