David Ortego & Mike Vacek Win South Senior Amateur
SAN MARCOS – After taking a first round lead by one stroke, David Ortego, Spring, walked up to 18 tee in a tie with Mike Booker, Houston, for the Senior Division of the South Senior Amateur at Kissing Tree Golf Club. Ortego bridied the closing hole to finish two-under par 70 on the day, and seven-under par for the tournament. Booker climbed up the leaderboard after shooting six-under par 65 for the final round following his one-over par 73 during Monday’s first round. In the Super Senior Division, Weimar’s Mike Vacek was able to find his way atop the leaderboard with a final round even-par 72. Monday’s first round leader, Chuck Ellenwood, Fair Oaks Ranch, shot four-over par 76 on Tuesday, and four-over par for the tournament to finish in third behind Kent Samuel, The Woodlands, who finished his second round two-over par 74, and three-over par over the two-day tournament.
1.) David Ortego, Spring 67-70 – 137
2.) Mike Booker, Houston 73-65 – 138
3.) John Pierce, San Antonio 69-70 – 139
4.) Andrew Hydorn, Houston 69-73 – 142
5.) Scott Smith, Houston 71-73 – 144
Super Senior Division
1.) Mike Vacek, Weimar 74-72 – 146
2.) Kent Samuel, The Woodlands 73-74 – 147
3.) Chuck Ellenwood, Fair Oaks Ranch 72-76 – 148
T-4.) David Pocknall, Katy 74-75 – 149
T-4.) David Wagner, Fair Oaks Ranch 74-75 – 149
Top Finishers – David Ortego, who won the South Senior Amateur (Senior Division) back in 2015 Woodforest Golf Club, was able to hold off the strong, late push from two-time champion Mike Booker. San Antonio’s John Pierce played consistent, under-par golf in each round to finish at five-under par and one stroke behind Booker. Andrew Hydorn and Scott Smith, both of Houston, rounded out the top-five at two-under par and even-par for the tournament. The Super Senior Division also had a close finish with Mike Vacek besting Kent Samuel by one stroke. Round one leader, Chuck Ellenwood, ended the day in third, while David Pocknall, Katy, and David Wagner, Fair Oaks Ranch, came in at a tie for fourth, each at five over-par.
Weather: Monday’s first round started cool and with a two-hour delay due to dense fog covering the course, but by early in the afternoon, the sun shined and brought the temperate up to a high of 80 degrees. The second round began calm in the high-60s with mostly overcast skies that took a quick turn to sunny and a high of 84 degrees. Consistent wind of about 15 mph became an added challenge for the field, especially when gusts upwards of 32 mph came howling through as groups were playing their last few holes.
Host Course: Designed by local Texan, Gary Stephenson, Kissing Tree Golf Club is a semi-private 18-hole golf course set on the banks of the Texas Hill Country. The course opened in October of 2018, and each hole provides an extension of the natural landscape – blending grades of edges, slopes and contours of the landscape into its striped fairways and angulated greens.
Next Up: The South Regional Series next event will be at the South Four-Ball at Quail Valley Golf Course in Missouri City on April 22-23.
TGA Regional Senior Ams Set for April 5-9
The Texas Golf Association’s 2021 tournament season rolls on in early April with the back-to-back playing of the Regional Senior Amateurs.
First up is the South Regional Senior Amateur to be held April 5-6 at Kissing Tree Golf Club in San Marcos. The North Regional Senior Amateur will be contested April 8-9 at Wildhorse Golf Club at Robson Ranch in Denton.
Designed by Texas-based architect Gary Stephenson, Kissing Tree Golf Club opened in 2018. Located on the eastern edge of Hill Country, the course is part of the Audubon International program, which preserves and highlights the native environment. Wildhorse Golf Club at Robson Ranch also was designed by Stephenson and opened in 2002.
To accommodate a wide range of players, the Regional Senior Amateurs feature two age divisions: 55 and older (Senior) and 65 and older (Super Senior). Each age division competes from different tees and yardages, with a separate champion recognized. Players who are 65 and older can opt to compete in the Senior Division at the time an entry form is submitted.
The format for both championships is 36 holes of individual stroke play. The top 15 finishers and ties in the Senior Division, regardless of age, will earn exemptions into this year’s Texas Senior Amateur, to be held Sept. 24-26 at Westwood Golf Club in Houston.
The Regional Senior Amateurs were first played in 2003. The championships are open to male amateur golfers age 55 and older (65 and older for Super Senior), belong to a TGA Member Club, have a World Handicap System Index of 8.4 or less (10.0 or less for Super Senior), and reside in the region relative to their respective championship. The TGA uses the 31st parallel in Salado as the delineation between the North and South regions.
The 2020 championships were canceled due to health concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. Dave Davis of Saginaw won the 2019 North Regional Senior Amateur with a 36-hole total of 1-under 143 at Eldorado Country Club in McKinney. Local resident Gary Kirwan finished at 4-over 148 to win the Super Senior Division. At the 2019 South Regional Senior Amateur held at River Crossing Club in Spring Branch, Scott Smith of Houston captured the overall title with a final round 4-under 68 to finish at 141 (-3). Michael Arnold of Windcrest claimed the Super Senior title with a two-day total of 146 (+2).
Live scoring updates, daily recaps, as well as tee-times and pairings, will be available once the action gets underway from Kissing Tree and Wildhorse.
Smith and Arnold Finish on Top at South Senior Am
Smith and Arnold Finish on Top at South Senior Am
Briefly: Scott Smith won the Senior Division of the 2019 South Senior Amateur presented by Impact Precision Golf after a 4-under-par 68 in the final round at River Crossing Club in Spring Branch. Mike Arnold took the Super Senior Division title with a final round 74.
1 Smith, Scott Houston 73-68-141
2 Booker, Mike Houston 73-70-143
3 Bruchmiller, Boyd Marble Falls 71-73-144
4 Kilby, Ron McAllen 71-74-145
T5 Baugh, Bobby San Antonio 76-70-146
T5 Youngs, Pat San Antonio 75-71-146
Super Senior Division
1 Arnold, Mike Windcrest 72-74-146
2 Samuel, Kent The Woodlands 71-76-147
3 Marshall, Rusty Houston 74-76-149
Golf Course: River Crossing Club is located just north of San Antonio in Spring Branch. The club features 18 holes of championship golf nestled in the rustic Hill Country of Texas. The par-72 course reaches a max yardage of 6,838 yards. The final round of the Senior Division was contested at 6,603 yards; the Super Seniors played River Crossing Club at 6,271 yards.
Weather: Tuesday’s final round starting times were delayed one hour due to frost on the golf course. Temperatures were as low as 32 degrees in the morning and got up 68 degrees in the afternoon with the sun shining. Winds were observed in the late afternoon at 13 mph with gust up to 18 mph.
Winners’ Info: Smith, who lives in Houston, overcame a two-shot deficit to win the Senior Division title by two shots after a tournament low final round. Smith had a bogey-free final round that included four birdies on the day en route to a 4-under 68. He finished the 36-hole championship at 3-under 141.
Like Smith, Arnold overcame a two-shot deficit to win the Super Senior Division. Playing in the final Super Senior grouping of the day, Arnold carded a 2-over par 74 in the final round. After an opening round even par 72, he finished at 2-over 146 for the tournament. Arnold’s highlight of the round, and possibly the highlight of the tournament, came on the par-4 18th when he holed out for an eagle 2.
In Contention: Mike Booker of Houston finished the tournament in second place with a 1-under 143 tournament total. Boyd Bruchmiller of Marble Falls finished in third, just one shot behind Booker at even par 144. In fourth place was McAllen’s Ron Kilby, who finished four shots back of Smith at 1-over 145. Bobby Baugh and Pat Youngs, both from San Antonio, rounded off the Senior Division top five in a tie for fifth place. The pair finished the tournament at 2-over 146.
Kent Samuel of The Woodlands finished in second place in the Super Senior Division, one shot back of Arnold at 3-over 147. Rusty Marshall of Houston took third place in the Super Senior Division at 5-over par 149.
What’s Next: The South Regional Series presented by Impact Precision Golf will continue at Sterling Country Club in Houston on August 9-11 for the South Amateur. You can view the entire Texas Golf Association calendar by clicking here.
More Info: The TGA extends its sincere appreciation South Regional Series sponsor Impact Precision Golf and to River Crossing Club, the welcoming membership and hard-working staff, as well as our volunteers, for all their dedication and efforts in making the 2019 South Senior Amateur a memorable event. For more information you can visit the tournament homepage by clicking here.