Around the Green
The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.
Massa Maintains 113th Texas Amateur Lead through 36 Holes
TYLER – They say one of the hardest things to do in golf is follow a great round with another one the very next day. Bobby Massa faced that pressure Friday in the second round of the 113th Texas Amateur at Willow Brook Country Club. Massa wouldn’t call his 2-under-par 69 a “great” round, but it certainly was good enough.
Paired with his spectacular 9-under 62 in Thursday’s first round, Massa through 36 holes sits at 11-under 131 for the 72-hole major championship. The 34-year-old reinstated mid-amateur from Dallas leads by three shots over a trio of talented college players.
“I got off to a rough start,” Massa said of his play Friday. “I hit a bad drive on No. 1 and made a bogey, then I three-putted the fourth green for another bogey. I couldn’t get it going early.”
Massa steadied himself with an eight-foot birdie on No. 7. Then he chipped in for eagle from about 60 feet on the par-4 eighth hole.
“That turned things around, and I kind of coasted home from there,” he said. “I didn’t have my best stuff today, but I still got it to the house.”
Massa was a standout collegiate player at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2006-10. He turned professional and was named the 2012 All Pro Tour’s Player of the Year with five Top-25 finishes in six starts. He broke through for his first professional win at the 2014 Golfcrest Classic in Pearland, but the good vibes didn’t last long.
“I got the swing yips. I couldn’t break 80,” Massa said. “I stopped playing in 2015. I wasn’t hitting it very good; I was over-practicing and super-stressed. The harder I practiced, the worse I was getting.”
He didn’t quit the game completely – he played casually about once a month – but he went more than three years without playing competitively. Massa turned his attention to fitness in the meantime. He’s a speed trainer now; he works with golfers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area gain greater swing speeds. Massa leads by example in the regard. His driver swing speed is around 128-130 mph.
In 2020, Massa regained his amateur status from the USGA and has only recently started playing in tournaments again.
“I never stopped thinking about the game,” he said. “I just love golf.”
One of his first events was the 2022 North Four-Ball at Tempest Golf Club with his buddy Chris Wheeler, who was the 2021 Texas Player of the Year. Massa and Wheeler combined to shoot 12-under over 36 holes and got into a three-team playoff. Massa drained a birdie putt on the third extra hole to get the victory with Wheeler, who this week is T52 at 2-over 144 at Willow Brook.
Now he’s 36 holes away from his second amateur win this summer. To get his name etched on the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy, however, he’ll have to fend off a herd of spirited competitors. Most notably, Holden Wisener, an SMU junior from Dallas, and two Arkansas Tech teammates: Francois Jacobs from League City, and Hayes Hamilton from Kingwood.
Wisener, Jacobs, and Hamilton are tied for second place at 8-under 134. They trail Massa by three shots. Wisener and Jacobs both shot 5-under 66s in the second round, which were the low scores of the day. Hamilton shot 68 on Friday.
Matthew Griggs, a Louisiana-Monroe University junior from McKinney, and Jason Schultz, another reinstated mid-amateur, are tied for fifth place at 7-under 135, four shots back from Massa.
Thirty-three players are in red numbers through two rounds, and 58 competitors advanced through Friday’s 36-hole cut at 2-over 144. The classic, old school Willow Brook course played to a stroke average of 72.81 in the second round.
Friday’s weather started off a lot like Thursday, which is to say it was hot. By 11:30 a.m., it was 91 degrees with a heat index of 98. By 3 p.m., it was 96 degrees and a heat index of 104.
Things changed around 4 p.m., when some pop-up showers and lightning moved in. The TGA Staff had to suspend play at 4:14 p.m. for a dangerous situation with lightning in the area. After a quick rain shower that included a little small hail, play resumed at 5:59 p.m. The suspension of play lasted 1 hour, 45 minutes. The golf course received a half-inch of rain during the delay.
What’s In a Name?
The winner of the Texas Amateur receives custody of the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy, named in honor of Harry Lee Edwards, also known as the “Father of Golf in Texas.”
Edwards earned the nickname because he helped to establish the TGA in February of 1906, served as its first president, and won the inaugural Texas Amateur Championship. Edwards also was a founding member of Dallas Country Club and Brook Hollow Golf Club.
PGA Tour Success
Nine former Texas Amateur champions have combined for a remarkable 57 wins on the PGA Tour. Ben Crenshaw, the 1972 Texas Amateur champ, leads the way with 19 PGA Tour victories. Bruce Lietzke (who won the Texas Am in 1971) has 13 PGA Tour wins.
Mark Brooks (1979, 1981) won seven times on the PGA Tour. Three-time Texas Am winner Scott Verplank (1982, 1984-85) had five wins. Bob Estes (1988) won four times on the PGA Tour. Charles Coody (1959) won three times. Earl Stewart, Jr. (1947) also won three times on the PGA Tour.
Don Massengale (1958) won twice on the PGA Tour, and Marty Fleckman, winner of the 1964 Texas Amateur at Willow Brook, won once on the PGA Tour.
Round 3 of 113th Texas Amateur begins Saturday at 8 a.m. For more information, including complete scoring, click here.