Mason Roberts and Ethan Fang Lead Texas Cup Invitational
MCKINNEY – Ethan Fang of Plano and Mason Roberts of Lubbock fire 2-over-par 73s on a difficult day at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club’s Dye Course. Despite the gusts of wind reaching 25 mph in the afternoon, Fang and Roberts remained patient and share a one shot lead following Round 1.
Fang stood on the seventh tee box following a double bogey on the par-4 sixth. He was 3-over-par with 12 holes to play. The wind was blowing straight back into his face on the long par-5. The freshman at Plano West High School found the fairway, laid up to comfortable distance and hit a wedge to 15 feet. Fang made his birdie putt and carried the momentum throughout the rest of his round.
He followed a par on the par-3 eighth with back-to-back birdies on holes nine and 10. Fang would drop two shots on his closing eight holes, but he shares the clubhouse lead at 2-over.
“I just tried making par on every hole and to eliminate the big numbers,” said Fang, who won the Winter Classic is January.
Tied with Fang at the top, Mason Roberts battled through adversity on Monday. The senior at Lubbock-Cooper High School was 4-over-par through his first four holes. He settled in on the par-4 14th and played his next eight holes 2-under. However, the wind picked up and he made three straight bogeys. Roberts was 5-over with three holes to play.
“I’ve been working on overcoming adversity a lot these past couple weeks,” Roberts said.
The Lubbock native didn’t waiver. He finished with three consecutive birdies to card a 1-under back-nine and 2-over-par 73.
“I think living in Lubbock has taught me a lot,” Roberts said. “Knowing you can’t force it in this weather and that you just got to stay patient and let the game come to you.”
Stonebridge Ranch CC’s Dye Course is playing host to the Texas Cup Invitational for the second consecutive year. The demanding Pete Dye design showed its teeth on Monday and resulted in an 9-over-par scoring average.
“It was pretty difficult,” said Jacob Borow of Lake Jackson, who carded an opening round 74. “I know making as many pars and making as few mistakes as I can that the birdies will just come.”
Borow also showed poise in Round 1. The 2020 University of Houston commit carded a 3-over 39 on his front nine and double bogeyed the par-4 10th. He played his next eight holes at 2-under-par to finished 3-over on the day and one shot behind Fang and Roberts.
Michael Heidelbaugh of Dallas is also just one shot off the 18-hole lead. The 2020 Texas A&M University commit came into the week as the highest-ranked junior in the field. After getting off to a great start with two birdies through his opening five holes, Heidelbaugh finished his front side with three straight bogeys. He battled the elements throughout his second nine and finds himself in contention once again.
Five players carded rounds of 4-over-par 75. Matthew Foster of Dallas, Byungho Lee of Houston, Jackson Naeger of Keller, Shivam Patel of Frisco and Andrew Spaulding of Spring sit two shots back and tied fifth.
The Texas Cup Invitational plays Stonebridge Ranch CC’s Dye Course as a par 71. The normal par-5 13th hole is played as a long par-4 for the championship. The first round was played at 6,841 yards.
Round 2 will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10. To view the Full Leaderboard, click here. For more information on the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.
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