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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.

NOTES

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.

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Bobby Massa’s Sizzling 62 Leads 113th Texas Amateur

TYLER – With his prestigious length off the tee, Bobby Massa turned Willow Brook Country Club into his own private playground during Thursday’s opening round of the 113th Texas Amateur. The reinstated amateur from Dallas eagled three of the iconic course’s four par-5s and broke the course record with a score of 9-under-par 62. He leads the championship by four shots headed into Friday’s second round.

Massa said he carries his driver about 330-340 yards off the tee on average. He planned to “bomb and gauge” his way around Willow Brook, which is celebrating its centennial anniversary this year. So far, Massa’s plan is working quite well.

“I started hitting the driver pretty good early on, and that gives me an advantage,” said Massa, who played collegiately at the University of Texas at Arlington from 2006-10. “I just kept hitting it in the fairway, and things kept going the way I wanted. I made a lot of putts.”

Massa’s 62 broke 2013 Texas Mid-Amateur champion Clay Hodge’s previous record of 7-under 64 at Willow Brook. After starting his day with four consecutive pars, Massa made his first birdie on his fifth hole. Two holes later, he made his first eagle, about a 10-footer on his seventh hole.

“That really got me going,” he said.

Matt Van Zandt, a longtime TGA competitor, played in Massa’s group Thursday. Van Zandt said Massa had much more to his game than just his big stick.

“Everyone is going to talk about how far he hits it, but his wedge game was amazing today,” said Van Zandt, who shot 3-over 74. “He was in complete control. His driver is incredible, though. I lasered it on a couple holes, and I was 52 and 60 yards behind him in the fairway.”

Five players share second place at 5-under 66, four strokes behind Massa. That group includes Hutto’s Jake Doggett, who finished second last summer at Midland Country Club for the 112th Texas Amateur, and Colleyville’s Zach Atkinson, who won the 95th Texas Amateur at Carlton Woods in 2004. Doggett went bogey-free and made five birdies; Atkinson had five birdies and an eagle to offset a pair of bogeys to arrive at 66.

Tied with Doggett and Atkinson for second place are Kingwood’s Hamilton Hayes, Truett Burns from Fredericksburg, and McKinney’s Hunter Millsap.

Willow Brook played to a stroke average of 72.88 in the first round. Thirty-nine players broke par. Players who posted rounds of 1-over 72 were rewarded with a tie for 55th place.

This is the ninth TGA championship contested at Willow Brook, but just the second Texas Amateur. Houston’s Marty Fleckman won the 1964 Texas Amateur at the old school, shot-makers course. That was the last time the Texas Amateur was played in a match play format.

Willow Brook also has played host to the 1967 and ’96 Women’s Texas Amateurs, the 1993, 2003 and ’13 Texas Senior Amateur, the 2019 Texas Shootout, and the 2020 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play.

Founded in 1922, Willow Brook originally was a nine-hole course. Texas Golf Hall of Fame architect Ralph Plummer stretched the routing to 18 holes following World War II. The pristine course has been updated and modified over the years, including renovations in 1978 by another Texas Golf Hall of Famer, Joe Finger, and again in 2002 by PGA Tour veteran Mark Hayes.

In 2018, with the 100-year anniversary on the horizon, Tripp Davis & Associates completed an extensive renovation that included rerouting several and reshaping greens, tees, and bunkers to revive some of Plummer’s original strategic design elements.

The tight, tree-lined fairways rise and fall with the rolling terrain. The best amateurs in Texas played the par 71 course from 6,630 yards in the first round. With plenty of doglegs bending both ways, Willow Brook demands precision off tee. The TifEagle Bermuda greens, meanwhile, call for patience and caution with their speed and subtle breaks.

NOTES

Dignitaries & Awards

During Wednesday night’s Players’ Reception at Willow Brook, the TGA memorialized a legend and handed out some awards.

“When you think of Willow Brook Country Club, you think of A.J. Triggs,” the TGA’s Director of Competitions John Cochran said it best when he addressed the players and Willow Brook staff Wednesday night.

Triggs, a longtime Willow Brook member who was club president in 1989, also was a two-time past TGA President who spent more than 30 years as a director. The winning captain of the 2009 Texas Shootout, Triggs was steward of the game in every aspect. He won 55 amateur tournaments and was part of the 1949 and ’50 University of North Texas national championship teams. He was best known, however, for his volunteerism and passion for growing the game.

Triggs was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 2013. He passed away in 2015.

“No one would be more excited for the Texas Amateur to come to Willow Brook than A.J.,” Cochran said.

Triggs’ Willow Brook president’s jacket, along with a Texas Amateur hat and the medal from the 2009 Shootout, were on display at the Players’ Reception. The makeshift Triggs memorial also was present on the first tee for Thursday’s opening round.

The 2021 Texas Player of the Year Chris Wheeler picked up his hardware Wednesday night. Last year’s South Texas Player of the Year, Padden Nelson from Houston, and North Texas Player of the Year, Gant Bills of Plano, also were honored.

The TGA’s two 2021 regional Volunteers of the Year were acknowledged as well: Richard Bargon (North Texas), and Craig Branson (South Texas).

Don Warren, the mayor of Tyler, was on hand for the festivities, too. A longtime Willow Brook member himself, Warren said the club was eager and enthused to welcome the best amateurs in Texas to their historic club, especially during their centennial celebration.

Record-Breaker, Almost

The TGA this year accepted 982 entries for the 113th Texas Amateur, just three shy of the record 985 established at last summer’s 112th Texas Amateur. Forty-four players received exemptions to the championship. To determine the remaining 100 spots in the 144-player starting field, 18-hole qualifiers were held at 14 sites across the state from April 2-June 6.

Round 2 of 113th Texas Amateur begins Friday at 7:30 a.m. For more information, including complete scoring, click here.

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113th Texas Amateur Set for June 16-19

Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2022, and the best amateur golfers from around the state will be in on the festivities. As one of the highpoints of the yearlong centennial commemoration, Willow Brook will play host to the 113th Texas Amateur. The championship, conducted by the Texas Golf Association since 1906, will take place from June 16-19.

“The TGA is thrilled to return the Texas Amateur to Willow Brook Country Club,” said Chris Untiedt, TGA Senior Tournament Director. “To have the opportunity to continue our long-standing relationship with Willow Brook and to conduct our oldest championship at a club that has been a proud supporter of the amateur game is truly special.”

This will be the second Texas Amateur and ninth overall TGA championship to be contested at the renowned East Texas club.

The last time the Texas Amateur was played at Willow Brook Country Club was in 1964. Marty Fleckman of Port Arthur, one of the best amateurs in the country, won the title that year with a 2-and-1 victory in the final match against Richard Yates. It was also the last Texas Amateur conducted as a match-play championship before switching to a stroke-play format.

In the years that followed, Willow Brook has hosted two Women’s Texas Amateurs (1967, 1996), three Texas Senior Amateurs (1993, 2003 and 2013) and most recently, the 2019 Texas Shootout and 2020 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play.

Additionally, from 1990-99, Willow Brook was the home of the Eisenhower International Golf Classic, a partnership between the University of Texas at Tyler and Sister Cities International. The annual fundraising event would attract some of the biggest stars on the PGA Tour, as well as an eclectic mix of celebrities and dignitaries from around the world.

“Willow Brook has a long history of hosting prominent state championships, and we are very excited to have the opportunity to host the 113th Texas Amateur during our 100th Anniversary,” said Chris Hudson, Willow Brook’s Director of Golf. “Willow Brook has always been a huge supporter of the TGA, and the membership and staff are very much looking forward to providing the players with a truly memorable experience.”

Founded in 1922, Willow Brook Country Club began as a nine-hole course. The club expanded to 18 holes following World War II and was designed by Texas Golf Hall of Fame architect Ralph Plummer. The course went through several modifications over its history, most notably in 1978 by Joe Finger, also a Texas Golf Hall of Famer, and in 2002 by PGA Tour veteran Mark Hayes.

In the mid-2010s, with the milestone 100th anniversary on the horizon, the club hired Tripp Davis & Associates, a respected golf architectural company based in Norman, Okla., to prepare an overall master plan that would take the course into the next century.

Completed in 2018, the extensive renovation and modernization project included the rerouting of several holes, rebuilding and reshaping greens and rebuilding and shifting tee boxes and bunkers to enhance and fortify the strategic design elements. To improve playing conditions, all greens were resurfaced with TifEagle Bermuda and fairways with Latitude 36 Bermuda.

“Willow Brook was very fortunate to have Tripp Davis redesign the course beginning in 2014 with a long-range plan,” Hudson said. “Tripp’s goal was to make the course more challenging, requiring the player to use a strategic approach and execute well-planned shots. I think he accomplished what he set out to do and made it a fantastic course.”

Davis’ acclaimed efforts heightened the old school nature of the 6,782-yard, par-71 layout. The rolling, tree-lined fairways dogleg both left and right, putting a premium on accuracy off the tee. Course management, precision and distance control are also keys to scoring well, owing to the well-guarded, contoured green complexes.

“Willow Brook Country Club’s classic parkland layout has stood the test of time and with the recent refinements will provide a challenging test for the state’s premier amateur golfers and identify a worthy champion,” Untiedt said.

The TGA accepted 982 entries for the 113th Texas Amateur, just three shy of the record 985 established in 2021. A total of 44 players were officially awarded exemptions to the championship. To determine the remaining 100 spots in the 144-player starting field, 18-hole qualifiers were held at 14 sites across the state from April 2-June 6.

The list of decorated amateurs who will assemble at Willow Brook Country Club is headed by University of Houston senior Austyn Reily of Pottsboro, who won the 112th Texas Amateur at Midland Country Club. Reily carded rounds of 70-71-67-70 to finish at 10-under-par 278 and earned a one-stroke victory over runner-up Jake Doggett of Hutto. He will look to defend his title and become the first player to win back-to-back championships in nearly 20 years.

Joining Reily are several top finishers from last year’s championship, including Doggett (2nd), Clayton King of Uvalde (4th), Michael Heidelbaugh of Dallas and Chris Berzina of Fort Worth (T5), and Shaheen Momin of Sugar Land (T7).

Among the other notable players who will be competing in the 113th Texas Amateur are a number of recent TGA statewide and regional champions. They are Aaron Pounds of The Woodlands (2021 Texas Junior Amateur), Jason Schultz of Allen (2021 North Texas Amateur), Padden Nelson of Houston (2021 South Texas Amateur), Garrett Leek of Brock (2021 West Texas Amateur), Gary Durbin of Houston (2019, ’21 Texas Senior Amateur), Frederick Janneck of Fort Worth (2021 Texas Mid-Amateur), Ryan O’Rear of Leander (2020 Texas Mid-Amateur), and host club member Aaron Hickman of Tyler (2020 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play).

The format for the walking-only championship is 72 holes of individual stroke play. All contestants play 18 holes on both June 16-17. After 36 holes the field will be cut to the low 54 scores and ties heading into the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday.

Live scoring updates, daily recaps, as well as tee-times and pairings, will be available on the TGA website once the action gets underway from Willow Brook Country Club.

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TGA’s Rich History at Willow Brook CC

Tyler — Back in the early 1960s, Marty Fleckman was one of the best amateurs in the country. The Port Arthur native certainly dominated in Texas.

 

In the last Texas Amateur conducted as a Match Play Championship, Fleckman won the 1964 title at Willow Brook Country Club with a 2-and-1 victory in the final match against Richard Yates. Fleckman was a Third-Team All-American that year at the University of Houston, and he was an integral part of the Cougars’ victory at the 1964 NCAA Championship.

 

“It’s been more than 50 years, but I remember really liking Willow Brook Country Club,” said Fleckman, who has been the Director of Instruction at BlackHorse Golf Club in Cypress for 22 years. “I was a power player back then, with some finesse around the greens. Willow Brook set up good for me.”

 

That probably can be said for almost every course Fleckman played back then.

 

The following year, Fleckman won the 1965 NCAA Individual Championship with a record-setting, two-day total of 135. Led by legendary coach Dave Williams, UH won the team title in 1965, too. Fleckman was named First-Team All-American that season.

 

Guess what happened in 1966! Yep, the Cougars won another NCAA Championship.

 

“Dave Williams won 14 national championships,” Fleckman said. “I was on three of those teams.”

 

Fleckman’s 1966 season at UH was a big one. In addition to his third team national championship, he won the Eastern Amateur, was Medalist at the Western Amateur and earned another First-Team All-American selection.

 

In 1967, he won the Northeast Amateur and was a member of the victorious Walker Cup team that defeated Great Britain & Ireland, 15-9, at Royal St. George’s.

 

Before he turned professional, Fleckman played as an amateur in the 1967 U.S. Open at Baltusrol Golf Club. He led a field that included Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer after 18 holes. Fleckman led again after 54 holes, but ultimately finished T18 and won Low Amateur honors.

 

“I shot a 67 the first day and led the tournament,” Fleckman told the Houston Chronicle in 2010. “I shot 73 in the second round, then came back with a 69 in the third round to lead by one shot. I was having the time of my life.”

 

Once Fleckman turned pro, his first PGA Tour event was the Cajun Classic Open Invitational in Louisiana. Fleckman birdied his final two holes to get into a playoff, then he drained a 30-foot birdie on the first extra hole to win his first-ever professional start.

 

He played on the PGA Tour for 13 years. He was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1986, and into the University of Houston Hall of Honor in 2006. Fleckman, who gives credit to Byron Nelson, Carl Lohren, and Jim Hardy for advancing his game, won the Southern Texas PGA’s Teacher of the Year award in 2007.

 

In addition to Fleckman and his 1964 exploits, when the 113th Texas Amateur returns to Willow Brook this June, another giant in the game will be on the minds of TGA staff members and volunteers.

 

Alexander James “AJ” Triggs was a two-time TGA President and a longtime member at Willow Brook. Triggs, who passed away in 2015, was the Tournament Chairman in 1964, when Fleckman put his name on the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy.

 

Triggs became a Director on the TGA Board in 1970 and served for more than 35 years with 10 of those on the Executive Committee. While he was probably best known for his tireless volunteerism and passion for giving back to the game, Triggs was a prolific amateur golfer, too.

 

He won 55 amateur tournaments and was a key member of the University of North Texas golf team that won four consecutive NCAA Championships from 1949-52. Triggs would join Fleckman in the Texas Golf Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2013 Inductees.

 

Late in his life, Triggs, who never met a stranger and was an incredibly engaging storyteller, wrote an unpublished memoir. It was called View from the Back Nine: Stories from My Life.

 

In it, Triggs wrote, “I’ve taken more from golf than I given back, but I’ve tried to return some of the benefits by working behind the scenes with the TGA. Sometimes, it’s kind of boring, not really much fun. But somebody did this organizational work so I could come along and enjoy playing. Now it’s my turn.”

 

With Willow Brook celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, it’s an opportune time to reflect not only on the club’s rich history, but also on the two individuals with enduring legacies as ambassadors for the game of golf. Though their futures in competitive golf took different paths following the 1964 Texas Amateur at Willow Brook, both Fleckman and Triggs made significant and lasting contributions to the entire Texas golf community that continue to help grow and strengthen the game.

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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.

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Clay Hodge Leads 112th Texas Amateur

MIDLAND – Clay Hodge from Tyler scorched Midland Country Club on Thursday with a bogey-free, 8-under-par 64 to grab the lead after the first round of the 112th Texas Amateur. Hodge leads Aaron Hickman, another Tyler resident, by two shots headed into Friday’s second round.

“I just hit the ball really well,” said Hodge, who won the 2013 Texas Mid-Amateur at Cordillera Ranch. “Honestly, I had not been coming into this championship, but I did today.”

That might be an understatement. Hodge hit all 18 greens at Midland Country Club in regulation. He made an eagle from the fairway on the par-4 18th – his ninth hole of the day – after he dunked a wedge from 145 yards.

“I was a little in between clubs,” he said. “I took the shorter one and hit it hard. It was right online, and I was yelling at it to get to the hole. It barely made it to the hole and fell in.”

The 36-year-old Hodge tied for third place in the 2015 Texas Mid-Amateur at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas. Hodge also was part of the 2009-10 Texas A&M national championship team.

Hickman, a 43-year-old TGA Director who was the 2011 and ’16 North Texas Player of the Year, got off to a hot start in the relatively cool West Texas morning air. He one-putted his first six holes and birdied three of them to make the turn at 4-under par. Hickman got it to 7-under after consecutive birdies on his 13th and 14th holes, but he gave one back with a three-putt bogey on his 17th hole.

“I got all the par 5s,” Hickman said. “I birdied all the par 5s. That’s a good way to get it going. I kept the ball in front of me and played pretty well.”

Four players share third place at 4-under 68. That group includes JT Pittman, the 2020 North Texas Player of the Year and a sophomore at Midland College, Wyatt Koricanek from New Braunfels, Leander’s Ryan O’Rear, winner of the 2020 Texas Mid-Amateur at Oak Hills Country Club, and San Antonio’s Andres Acevedo.

Defending champion Trey Bosco, a Baylor sophomore from Austin, is tied for seventh place at 3-under 69.

Thirty players finished in red numbers on the stern 7,373-yard, par-72 setup. The stroke average in Round 1 was 75.27. The par 3s were among the toughest holes on the day, especially the 209-yard third. It proved the most difficult hole of the day with a stroke average of 3.41. Twelve players made double bogey on the third hole. Much of the field got a shot back on the 551-yard, par-5 12th. There were 50 birdies on the hole, which yielded a 4.87 stroke average.

Founded in 1927 as a nine-hole course near downtown, Midland Country Club moved to its current location in the mid-1950s when Ralph Plummer designed the 18-hole course. The course has changed throughout the years, including in 2017 when the Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design completed a comprehensive renovation in time for the club’s 90th anniversary. The nearly $9 million project saw the installation of new greens, tees, bunkers and lakes, all of which fortified the strategic nature of Plummer’s original design.

While there’s not much elevation change through the course, it can stretch to nearly 7,500 from the back tees. The fairways are deceptively narrow, with rugged native areas and wispy grasses just off the edges. It’s a fair and challenging championship test, one that rewards quality shots and punishes anything less than that.

This is the fourth time Midland Country Club has played host to the state’s oldest amateur championship. The Texas Amateur came out west to Midland in 1965 (won by Randy Petri), 1971 (Bruce Lietzke) and 1997 (Ed Brooks). The 1963 and 2001 editions of the Women’s Texas Amateurs also were played at Midland Country Club (won by Sandra Palmer and Denis Flores, respectively).

In recent years, the 2020 TGA Women’s Four-Ball (won by Faith Delagarza and Amari Smith) and 2019 West Texas Amateur (won by Jackson Markham) were contested at Midland Country Club.

NOTES

Awards & Dignitaries

During Wednesday night’s player reception at Midland Country Club’s par-3 course – called “The Judy” after Midland golf royalty Judy Rankin – the TGA welcomed some local celebrities and handed out several awards.

Rankin, the 26-time winner and two-time LPGA Player of the Year, spoke to the 112th Texas Amateur participants about what to expect from the golf course and told a few stories about how much Midland Country Club meant to her and the success she achieved. Midland Mayor Patrick Payton also was in attendance.

San Antonio’s Colby Harwell picked up his second Texas Player of the Year award for performances during the 2020 season. Harwell, who also won the award in 2017, was runner-up at the Texas Mid-Amateur and Mid-Amateur Match Play events last year. He also finished T16 in the 111th Texas Amateur at Boot Ranch Golf Club.

Others who received awards included 2020 North Texas Player of the Year JT Pittman from Monahans and 2020 South Texas Player of the Year Kevin Liberto from Cypress.

A host of awards also were distributed to some of the TGA’s most important contributors. Past President Jim Brown from Dallas was honored with the Bob Wells Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given in Texas amateur golf for volunteerism. Robert Woodward from Dallas received the 2020 North Texas Volunteer of the Year award, and Steve Suhey from Horseshoe Bay won the 2020 South Texas Volunteer of the Year award.

Because of the pandemic, the TGA was unable to hand out the 2019 Volunteer of the Year awards. On Wednesday night, Roger Davis from Spring picked up the 2019 South Texas Volunteer of the Year, and Chuck Flowers from Wylie was handed the 2019 North Texas Volunteer of the Year award.

Last, but by no means least, Carey Schulten of Dallas was recognized for his years of tireless service to the TGA. Schulten was the association’s President from 2018-19 and has been a constant fixture at championships as one of the TGA’s most trusted Rules Officials.

High Demand

Nearly 1,000 male golfers in Texas with Handicap Indexes of 6.4 or better registered to qualify for the 112th Texas Amateur at Midland Country Club. In all, the TGA received 986 entries for this year’s championship. It’s the second-highest entry total in the tournament’s history.

That record was set last at Boot Ranch Golf Club in the Hill Country. A total of 1,010 amateurs registered for the 111th Texas Amateur.

Round 2 of this year’s championship begins Friday at 7:30 a.m. For more information on the 112th Texas Amateur, including complete scoring, click here.

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112th Texas Amateur Set for June 17-20

The state’s foremost amateur golfers are headed west and will gather at Midland Country Club from June 17-20 for the 112th Texas Amateur Championship.

“We are extremely excited to have the opportunity to return to Midland Country Club,” said Chris Untiedt, TGA Tournament Director. “The club has a long history of supporting amateur golf and we are confident the course will rigorously test every facet of a player’s game and identify a worthy champion.”

This will be the fourth Texas Amateur and sixth TGA major championship to be contested at Midland Country Club.

The three previous Texas Amateurs were played in 1965 (won by Randy Petri), 1971 (won by Bruce Lietzke) and 1997 (won by Ed Brooks). Midland Country Club also hosted the 1963 and 2001 Women’s Texas Amateurs (won by Sandra Palmer and Denis Flores, respectively).

More recently, Midland Country Club hosted the 2020 TGA Women’s Four-Ball (won by Faith Delagarza and Amari Smith) and 2019 West Texas Amateur (won by Jackson Markham). The club also was the site of the Web.com Tour’s WNB Golf Classic from 2002-14.

“It is a huge honor to welcome the Texas Amateur back to Midland Country Club,” said Head Golf Professional Eric Dunkerson. “Midland Country Club is proud to have such a rich history of championship golf and we are excited to continue this legacy and showcase our club by once again hosting the state’s premier amateur championship.”

Midland Country Club was founded in 1927 and moved to its current location in the mid-1950s with an 18-hole course designed by Ralph Plummer. Over the years numerous upgrades have been made to course, and in 2017, Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design completed a comprehensive renovation in time for the club’s 90th anniversary. The $8.9 million dollar, 11-month-long project included building new greens, tees, bunkers and lakes, which has fortified the strategic elements of Plummer’s original design.

“The newly renovated course will provide a great stage for this year’s Texas Amateur,” Dunkerson said. “It’s a par-72 that can stretch to over 7,400 yards from the back tees. The course will be in excellent condition for the championship and when you factor in the West Texas winds it will present a true test of skill for the state’s best amateurs.”

The TGA accepted a record 985 entries for the 112th Texas Amateur at Midland Country Club, eclipsing the previous high of 883 for the 2019 championship at Dallas Athletic Club. A total of 33 players were fully exempt from qualifying based on past performance. To determine the remaining 111 spots in the 144-player starting field, 18-hole qualifiers were held at 14 sites across the state from April 6 – June 9.

The list of decorated amateurs who will assemble at Midland Country Club is headed by Baylor University sophomore Trey Bosco of Austin, who won last year’s championship at Boot Ranch Golf Club in Fredericksburg. Bosco carded rounds of 72-71-67-69 to finish at 5-under 279 and earned a one-stroke victory over runner-up Caleb Hicks of Arlington. He will look to defend his title and become the first player to win back-to-back championships in nearly 20 years.

A large contingent of elite players from the junior, collegiate and mid-amateur ranks will be looking to dethrone Bosco, including 2019 Texas Mid-Amateur champion Chris Wheeler of Addison, two-time Texas Junior Amateur champion Zach Heffernan of Fair Oaks Ranch, 2020 Texas Player of the Year Colby Harwell of San Antonio, reigning Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play champion Aaron Hickman of Tyler, 2020 LJT Player of the Year Matthew Comegys of Plano and 2020 West Texas Amateur champion J.T. Pittman of Monahans, to name a few.

Format for the championship is 72 holes individual stroke play. All contestants will play 18 holes June 17-18. After 36 holes the field will be cut to the low 54 players and ties heading into the final two rounds on the weekend.

Live scoring updates, daily recaps, as well as tee-times and pairings, will be available once the action gets underway from Midland Country Club. For more on the 112th Texas Amateur, click here.

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Trey Bosco Wins 111th Texas Amateur

FREDERICKSBURG – Trey Bosco won the 111th Texas Amateur late Sunday afternoon after carding a final round 2-under-par 69 at Boot Ranch Golf Club. The 18-year-old from Austin captures the victory with a 72-hole total of 5-under 279.

Sunday at Boot Ranch played much like the third round. Fast and firm greens complemented by swirling gusts made the Hal Sutton-designed championship golf course challenging yet again. Playing in the final group, Bosco showed little nerves from the outset. He split the fairway with his opening drive on No. 1, found the putting surface and drained an 18-foot birdie putt. He quickly pulled within one shot of the 54-hole leader Caleb Hicks.

Bosco, Hicks and Andres Acevedo, the third player of the final group, battled throughout the front nine. By the time they made the turn, all three players were over par for the round. The leaderboard was stacked and 10 players were within two shots of the lead.

Bosco, who begins his collegiate golf career at Baylor this fall, showed poise on his closing nine. He birdied the par-5 11th, but followed it with a bogey on the par-3 12th. After pars on holes 13 and 14, he knew he needed to make a charge.

“Coming down to 15, 16, 17, I was like, OK, might need to turn on the jets a little bit,” Bosco said. “I made a bomb on 15, and then from there I just had this tunnel vision to where all the putts just seemed to drop.”

He birdied the long par-5 16th and par-3 17th for three consecutive and led the field by two shots with one hole to play. Bosco finished with a routine par to clinch the biggest amateur title in his young golf career.

“It’s still kind of sinking in, but it means the world,” Bosco said. “I’ve had kind of a rough summer with the whole quarantine and all that stuff, so to get this before I go off to college is a dream come true for sure.”

Bosco is the second straight Bear to hoist the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy. Ryan Grider, a redshirt junior at Baylor, won last year at Dallas Athletic Club’s Blue Course. Bosco’s name will also be etched alongside the likes of Ben Crenshaw, Charles Coody, Mark Brooks, Scott Verplank and a host of other Texas golf legends who have won the Texas Amateur.

“Being a Texas Am Champion, you get to go down in the record books,” Bosco said. “It brings me a lot of confidence. It means that I can play with all these guys and I can compete with all the top college players.”

Finishing runner-up was Hicks, who led the field through 54 holes. The UT Arlington junior struggled on the front side en route to a 4-over 39. However, he didn’t let up his fight. Hicks carded a bogey-free 3-under 33 on the back nine including a birdie on the 72nd hole to finish just one-shot off Bosco’s 5-under.

Four players shared third place at 2-under 282. Tommy Morrison, a 2023 University of Texas commit, fired the low round of the day. The 15-year-old carded five birdies and an eagle on Sunday to climb 23 spots up the leaderboard.

“I knew this morning something low had to happen,” Morrison said. “Me and my caddie just went out there and figured we had nothing to lose.”

Morrison’s closing 5-under 66 was enough to hold the clubhouse lead until the final group finished. Also at 2-under par for the championship, were Jimmy Lee, a sophomore at Texas A&M, Jacob Sosa, a 2022 Texas commit, and Andres Acevedo, a senior at Seton Hall.

Reid Davenport of Austin finished seventh at 1-under-par 283. Austyn Reily of Pottsboro and Stephen Campbell Jr. of Richmond tied for eight at even-par 284. Defending Texas Mid-Amateur champion and last year’s runner-up Chris Wheeler of Addison rounded out the top-10 at 1-over 285.

The TGA extends sincere appreciation to Boot Ranch, its attentive staff and engaged membership, as well as our volunteers for all their help and support ahead of and during the 111th Texas Amateur.

In May of this year, the TGA was forced to reschedule the Texas Amateur from its original mid-June dates after the COVID-19 crisis preempted the ability to conduct statewide events. The TGA and Boot Ranch worked together to ensure a safe and competitive championship was held in 2020.

Extra special thanks to General Manager Emil Hale, Head Golf Professional Alex Rhyne, Golf Course Superintendent Patrick Joy and his amazing grounds crew, Director of Club Operations Monica Kendrick and Executive Chef Casey McQueen. The 111th Texas Amateur would not have been possible without their efforts.

For more information on the 111th Texas Amateur, click here.

 

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Caleb Hicks Leads 111th Texas Amateur by Two Shots

FREDERICKSBURG – Caleb Hicks from Arlington is 18 holes away from capturing the biggest amateur title in his young career. The 20-year-old UT Arlington junior battled difficult conditions on Saturday and carded and even-par 71 in the third round of the 111th Texas Amateur. Hicks leads by two shots headed into Sunday’s final round at Boot Ranch Golf Club.

Moving day at this year’s Texas Amateur was defined by swirling winds, firm and fast greens and a player’s ability to manage their fatigue. The Hal Sutton-designed championship golf course stretches across rugged Texas Hill Country landscape highlighted by dramatic elevation changes. Including Wednesday’s practice round, Hicks, as well as the 56 other players who made the 36-hole cut, walked their fourth round of golf this week. The 54-hole leader said Round 3 was about staying patient.

“It was a tough one today,” Hicks said. “Greens were getting crispy and firm and hard and fast. You had to golf your ball to shoot a low number today.”

Hicks carded three birdies and three bogeys to remain at 5-under overall. He was the only player in the final two groups to post a round at even par or better. After taking a break from golf during the quarantine, Hicks has approached this week with a relaxed attitude. He’ll begin the final round with a two-shot lead in the state’s oldest and most prestigious amateur championship.

“I’m just going to go hang out with the guys and try not to think about it,” Hicks said. “I’ll show up to my tee time and hit that tee ball.”

Trey Bosco of Austin made the biggest move on Saturday. The 2020 Baylor University commit began the day T17 and eight shots off the lead. He carded birdies on the par-3 second, par-5 third and par-4 ninth en route to a 3-under 32 on his opening nine. He closed with a birdie on the par-4 18th to card a 4-under 67, the second lowest round of the day. Bosco will join Hicks and Andres Acevedo in Sunday’s final group.

Acevedo, who is playing in his first Texas Amateur, played alongside Mark Reppe of Dallas and the 36-hole leader Chris Wheeler of Addison. Throughout their third round, all three players struggled. The wind steadily picked up throughout the afternoon making Boot Ranch more and more difficult. Acevedo finished 3-over par on his round and is tied second.

“I wasn’t putting it as solid and ball striking was a little off,” Acevedo said. “I held it together for most of it.”

Acevedo’s 74 was the low-round in his group. Reppe carded a 4-over 75, while Wheeler signed for a 6-over 77. Despite giving back a few strokes, Acevedo says he was pleased overall with his fight.

“I was pretty happy with the way I grinded,” Acevedo said. “I haven’t been in contention in a while so it’s nice. I just got to prepare for conditions just like this. All I can do is focus on my mental game and see where that takes me.”

Five players share fifth place at 2-under 211. They include 2020 University of Texas commit Scott Roden, 2020 University of Oklahoma commit Stephen Campbell Jr., 2022 University of Texas commit Jacob Sosa, University of Houston sophomore Austyn Reily and Baylor University senior Mark Reppe. They begin Sunday’s final round three shots behind Hicks.

The 111th Texas Amateur’s final round looks to be a battle. Fourteen players are within five shots of the lead. Nothing is certain in major championship golf; however, the final round of this year’s Texas Amateur is set up for a dramatic finish. It all gets started Sunday at 8:00 a.m. For live scoring, videos and more information, click here.

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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.