Chris Wheeler Holds Lead at 111th Texas Amateur
FREDERICKSBURG – Chris Wheeler started the second round of the 111th Texas Amateur with a one-shot lead. Despite a slow start Friday afternoon, the 37-year-old mid-amateur from Addison didn’t waiver. He carded an even-par 71 to hold onto his one-shot advantage headed into the weekend at Boot Ranch Golf Club.
Wheeler bogeyed three of his first six holes and was 2-over when he approached the par-3 seventh hole. It played 179 yards with a little helping wind. Wheeler found the putting surface and drained the putt for birdie. He birdied four of his next six holes to reach 10-under par for the championship.
“I just did my best on what was in front of me,” Wheeler said. “The rest should take care of itself as long as you’re in right position.”
Despite a bogey on the par-4 14th and a double-bogey on the par-3 17th, Wheeler’s even-par day secures a one-shot lead with 36 holes to play in the state’s oldest and most prestigious amateur championship. The defending Texas Mid-Amateur champ and 2019 Texas Amateur runner-up will look to lean on his experience this weekend.
“Today was a little different than yesterday with the wind,” said Wheeler, who played professionally and reinstated as an amateur in 2011. “I kind learned the hard way that it definitely dictates how this course is going to play. I’m going to keep an eye on the wind tomorrow morning and try and stay rested.”
Andres Acevedo, who fired an opening 5-under 66, played in the morning wave on Friday. With three birdies, an eagle and four bogeys, the senior at Seton Hall University fought his way to a round of 1-under 70. He sits at 6-under 136 for the championship.
“Today, I had some hiccups, but my putter stayed solid,” Acevedo said. “I made the right decisions.”
Acevedo’s father, Ernest, is on the 21-year-old’s bag this week. The father-son duo has managed its way around Hal Sutton’s daunting championship golf course for the first time since Andres was a junior. Their composed demeanor as a team has proven to be a part Acevedo’s early success.
“He just keeps me calm and we both have super calm personalities,” Acevedo said. “He knows the game and it’s awesome to have him by my side.”
Tying for the low round of the day, Mark Reppe’s 5-under 66 moved him seven spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for second. The senior at Baylor University carded eight birdies. He’s just one shot behind Wheeler.
“I found a few more putts to go in, and I hit a few more fairways,” Reppe said. “I gave myself more opportunities and ended up with lower scores.”
Reppe, who is playing in his second Texas Amateur, said Boot Ranch is a demanding, yet fair golf course. He plans to stick with his strategy this weekend and let the scores fall where they may.
“I think it’s just important to stick to your game plan and not waiver from it,” he said. “There’s lots of holes where you have to make lots of decisions. I think if you stick to your game plan you can give yourself opportunities and make birdies.”
Two shots behind Wheeler at 5-under 138 is Caleb Hicks. The junior at UT Arlington carded four birdies and five bogeys to shoot 1-over 72 in the second round. Tyler Uhlig, who is playing in his final Texas Amateur before turning professional, remained at 4-under for the championship with an even-par 71 on Friday. He is solo fifth and will begin the weekend three off the lead.
Two Vanderbilt Commodores share six place at 3-under 139 overall. Cole Sherwood and Reid Davenport of Austin are four back and well within contention with 36 holes to play.
There were two aces on Friday. Mason Nome, who is T12 at 1-under 141, cashed in from 193 yards on the difficult par-3 12th. Andrew Gibson, who carded an even-par 71 and made the cut by two strokes, recorded his second career hole-in-one on the 181-yard par-3 fifth.
Through two rounds, there are 11 players under par for the championship. Eight of them are within five shots of Wheeler, setting the stage for a competitive finish over the weekend. The field played Boot Ranch from 7,059 yards in Round 2 and 57 players made the 36-hole cut at 6-over 148.
The third round of the 111th Texas Amateur begins Saturday at 8 a.m. at Boot Ranch. For more information on this championship, click here.
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