Around the Green
The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.
Austyn Reily Wins the 112th Texas Amateur
MIDLAND – Minutes after Austyn Reily calmly tapped in a 3-foot par putt on Sunday to win the 112th Texas Amateur by a single shot, he didn’t credit supreme ball-striking, accuracy off the tee or a deft putting stroke for the historic victory. Reily, a University of Houston junior from Pottsboro, displayed all of those characteristics on his way to posting the winning score of 10-under-par 278. But it was something else, he said, that carried him at Midland Country Club.
“Patience and humbleness,” Reily said. “You can’t get too out in front of yourself, and you can’t get too high on a pedestal. You have to stay level-headed, as low to the ground as possible and control what you can control. And just do your best from there.”
His best was outstanding. Now his name will be etched onto the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy alongside the likes of Ben Crenshaw, Charles Coody, Scott Verplank and Will Zalatoris.
Reily started the final round tied for the lead with Hutto’s Jake Doggett, and despite the best efforts from a bevy of pursuers, in the end it came down to those two.
“I kind of had a feeling going into 15, the par 5, that it was just us two,” Reily said. “Once we got to 17, I knew it was definitely between us. I was one up on Jake going into 16, and then we flip-flopped and basically all square going into 17.”
The final few holes had a distinct match play feel, as Reily and Doggett separated themselves by a couple shots. Up by a shot, Reily airmailed the par-3 16th and made bogey. Doggett, a fifth-year senior at Midwestern State, made par. They were tied at 10-under with two holes to play.
Doggett then overshot the par-4 17th and made bogey, while Reily made a routine two-putt par to go back up by a shot. Doggett had a chance to force extra holes on the par-4 18th, but his birdie effort came up short. Reily shot 2-under 70 in the final round. Doggett posted 1-under 71.
“It’s so surreal,” Reily said of the accomplishment. “It hasn’t even settled in yet. Just to put my name on that trophy with so many great names, too many to count, just to put my name up there with theirs is very special to me and my family.”
In a Father’s Day twist, Reily’s mom Melissa was on the bag for her son at Midland Country Club. The two shared a tearful embrace on the 18th green. Reily said it meant the world to him to have his mom by his side; he called her his best friend.
“It was amazing,” Melissa Reily said. “It was such an honor to caddie for Austyn these past few days. I just love watching him play. I’m just so proud of him.”
Doggett represented himself well throughout the week, too. He finished in solo second at 9-under 279. The two talented amateurs were the only players in the field to post all four rounds under par on an exacting golf course that features hallway-like fairways lined on both sides with gnarly fescue and wispy grasses.
Third place belonged to JT Pittman, a UNLV junior from Monahans who set fire to the back nine at Midland Country Club in his final round. Starting at even-par for the day, the 2020 North Texas Player of the Year rolled in a 35-foot birdie on the par-4 first hole, then ran one in from 15 feet on the par-4 fifth hole.
Then Pittman found something in his iron game and started throwing darts.
“I hit it to about 2 feet on 11,” said Pittman, who won the 2020 West Texas Amateur at Bentwood Country Club. “I birdied 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16.”
Six birdies in row! He tied Midland Country Club’s competitive course record with an 8-under 64. It’s the same score Tyler’s Clay Hodge shot in Thursday’s opening round.
“On the back nine, those birdies, I think my proximity to the hole was about 4 feet,” said Pittman, who posted 8-under 280 for the championship.
Clayton King from Uvalde took fourth place after he shot 69-68 on the weekend to finish at 7-under 281. Michael Heidelbaugh from Dallas and Chris Berzina from Fort Worth tied for fifth place at 6-under 282. The Top 15 finishers earned exemptions into 113th Texas Amateur next June at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler.
Now in its 94th year, the current version of Midland Country Club was designed by Ralph Plummer in the mid-1950s and completely redone by Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design in 2017. The nearly $9 million project included brand new greens, tees, bunkers and lakes. The renovation renewed Plummer’s original tactical nature of the course.
The 112th Texas Amateur was the fourth time Midland Country Club has played host to the state’s oldest amateur championship. It was here in 1965, won by Houston Cougar Randy Petri. In 1971, Bruce Lietzke, another UH alum, added his name to the H.L. Edwards Trophy in Midland. Ed Brooks did the same in 1997. The proud club also welcomed the 1963 and 2001 editions of the Women’s Texas Amateurs, won by Sandra Palmer and Denis Flores, respectively.
The competitors in Sunday’s final round played Midland Country Club from 7,339 yards and recorded a stroke average of 72.40. For the 72-hole championship, the best amateurs in Texas comprised for a stroke average of 74.25. Twenty-two players finished under par for the week.
The TGA owes an immense gratitude to Midland Country Club, including its members and staff, for their dedication and efforts in making the 112th Texas Amateur such a memorable experience. The buy-in and enthusiasm from the club was felt by the competitors, their friends and family who attended, and especially the TGA staff.
Extra special thanks are due to General Manager Evan Johansen, Head Professional Evan Dunkerson, Superintendent Fore Brown and his grounds crew, Executive Chef Ben Lesnick and Communications Director Noelle Oster. Each played critical roles and contributed to the week’s success.
We’re also grateful for our TGA Volunteers, who donate their time and expertise to ensure another first-class championship experience. For more on the 112th Texas Amateur, click here.