Texas Girls’ Invitational Set for Feb. 13-15
MONTGOMERY – The Texas Girls’ Invitational returns to Bentwater Yacht & Country Club from Feb. 13-15 with the girls-only event set to take on the Weiskopf Course.
Conducted by the Legends Junior Tour, the Texas Girls’ Invitational was modeled after the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship and the Texas Cup Invitational. The tournament has taken on its own identity and has become one of the top events in the state.
The championship was originally 36 holes and ranked by Golfweek and Junior Golf Scoreboard and was held in the fall. In 2019, the event was moved to February and became a 54-hole championship with World Amateur Golf Ranking points up for grabs. The tournament also offers numerous AJGA Performance Stars to the top finishers including 12 for the champion.
Bentwater Yacht & Country Club is hosting the Texas Girls’ Invitational for the seventh time in the championship’s history. The dedicated TGA member club was originally built in 1993 by two renowned golf course architects, Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish. Their efforts created broad, rolling fairways and TiffDwarf greens that wind through the signature forests of hardwood and pines along Lake Conroe. The Texas Girls’ Invitational was played at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club from 2012-2016 and in 2020.
“We are very excited to host the Texas Girls’ Invitational again and welcome some of the best junior girls back to Montgomery,” Bentwater Yacht & Country Club Head Golf Professional Cord Roberson said. “The camaraderie among the juniors is great and hosting this event has had a positive impact on our community as well.”
The 2021 starting field boasts some of the best junior girls in the country.
Lauren Nguyen of Katy is in the field. The two-time LJT Girls 12-18 Player of the Year (2019-20) and 94th Texas Junior Amateur champion will look to improve on her T6 finish from last year. Nguyen recently committed to play collegiate golf for Texas A&M University and will make her first start of the season in Montgomery.
Other notables competing at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club include the 94th Texas Junior Amateur Girls 14 & Under champion Sidney Robertson of Chandler, the 2021 Winter Classic champion Maggie Ni of Cypress, the 2020 James A. Ragan Memorial champion Darrelyn Webster of Austin and the 2020 Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship champion Farah O’Keefe of Austin.
Last year’s Texas Girls’ Invitational was conducted over two days. The field played 36 holes on Sunday and finished the 54-hole championship on Monday. Ashley Yen of Houston carded rounds of 72-69-73 to finish at 2-under par overall and win by three strokes. Yen, the 2020 USGA-AJGA Leadership Award recipient, recently committed to the admissions process at Yale University and plans to play collegiately.
The Texas Girls’ Invitational champion will have her name engraved on the ‘Nez Muhleman Trophy. Inez “Nez” Muhleman of Houston was known for her dedication to junior golf. Muhleman never missed a girls’ national championship until she retired in 2010. In 2011, she received the USGA Joe Dey Award, which is the organization’s highest honor for volunteerism, for her service to the game and for establishing the Junior Girls’ Travel Fund to help young Texans afford travel expenses to the U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Past champions of this girls-only championship include Kaci McCartan, Lakareber Abe, Maddie McCrary, Vanessa Ha, Jaravee Boonchant, Anne Chen, Makenzie Niblett and Hailey Jones. This is the first Major Championship for the girls of the 2021 LJT season.
“This is one of the best events for girls to compete in each year, “LJT Tournament Director Kevin Porter said. “The Texas Girls’ Invitational is always competitive and this year’s field will be tested.”
For more information on the Texas Girls’ Invitational, please click here.
About the LJT: The Legends Junior Tour is part of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, which is a joint venture between the Texas Golf Association, Northern and Southern PGA and Houston Golf Association. The tour operates as part of the Texas Golf Association and its foundation. Since its inception in 2005, the tour has provided funds to promote junior golf initiatives while conducting some of the state’s top junior championships including the Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship, Texas Junior Amateur and the Texas Girls’ Invitational as well as
Jason Schultz and Russell Williams Win Texas Four-Ball
MONTGOMERY – Jason Schultz of Allen and Prosper’s Russell Williams card a final round 6-under-par 66 to go wire-to-wire and win the Texas Four-Ball by three strokes at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club’s Weiskopf Course.
Schultz, 47, and Williams, 46, began the week with a 12-under-par 60 on Friday and they never looked back after leading the field through Round 1. Despite a slow start on Sunday that let their lead drop to one shot at the turn, Schultz and Williams teamed up to card five birdies on their closing nine holes to post 26-under par overall for the championship.
“It was very nerve-racking,” Williams said. “I’d never been in that position. But I’ll tell you what, I had the best partner in the field. He was solid all week and I’m just glad that the two or three times a round he needed a little pick up I was able to do that and contribute.”
Schultz and Williams did balance each other well all three rounds. They tallied 27 holes under par (26 birdies and one eagle) and only birdied the same hole three times. In fact, they had five holes where one player birdied while the other made bogey. It was a true team victory.
“It means a lot,” Schultz said. “It was a fun environment from start to finish. We kind of just built from day one and kept going from there.”
Scott Loving and Brandon Destefano of Conroe tied Aaron Hickman of Tyler and Dallas’s Rob Couture for second at 23-under-par 193. Will Griffin and Coy Breen of San Antonio tied for fourth with Dru Fenimore of Dallas and Mission’s Miguel Del Angel at 22-under-par 194.
In the Senior Division, Mike Peck and Steve Love of Irving clinched the victory in extraordinary fashion. They arrived at the ninth tee (their closing hole) tied for the lead with Lewis Stephenson of Burleson and San Antonio’s John Pierce, who were in the clubhouse at 19-under par.
Needing a birdie to secure a one-shot victory, Love hit his approach shot to 12-feet above the hole. Peck lagged his birdie attempt to with three feet and set the stage for his partner. Knowing exactly what was at stake, Love gave his putt one final look. He made his stroke and his ball found the bottom of the cup.
“It’s exciting for me because I don’t get to do this as much as Mike,” Love said. “Mike held us together the whole back nine. It was amazing the putts he was making for par. We kind of teamed it up and got through it, so it was really exciting.”
Peck and Love, who have been good friends for years, tallied 23 birdies as a team for the three rounds and add this victory to their decorated amateur golf resumes.
“Anytime you win one of the TGA’s major tournaments it’s truly an honor,” Peck said.
“It’s fantastic to do it with a great friend. It was a team victory and couldn’t have been any better.”
David Ortego of Spring and Sugar Land’s Gordon Wagner tied Stephenson and Pierce for second with a closing birdie of their own to post 19-under-par 197 . Kenneth Coutant of Dallas and McKinney’s Bill Jackson finished fourth at 18-under-par 198, while Lee Sandlin of Dallas and Westworth Village’s Hollis Sullivan tied for fifth with Larry Corson of Dallas and Southlake’s Mike Lohner at 17-under 197.
In the Super Senior Division, John Kennedy and Ford Cartwright of Lufkin claimed their first title as a four-ball team following a closing 4-under-par 68. They posted 16-under-par for the championship to hold off Charles Reeve of Houston and Montgomery’s Tom McGraw by three strokes.
“It’s great because it’s been a while,” Kennedy said. “This guy (Ford) is the best partner in the world. He’s always positive and it really helps me and I think we really pair up well together.”
Richard Hageman of Garden Ridge and Spring’s Dan Alpha finished solo third at 13-under-par 203. Sam Boyd of Horseshoe Bay and League City’s Gary Noto posted 8-under-par 208 to finish fourth, while Fred Brown and Kent Samuel of The Woodlands rounded out the top five at 6-under-par 210.
The TGA extends its most sincere appreciation to Bentwater Yacht & CC, its staff and membership for their hospitality this week. Extra special thanks go out to Director of Golf Mark Steinbauer, Head Golf Professional David Brock, Catering & Events Coordinator Chelsea Bledsoe, Director of Agronomy Donny Latham and the entire Bentwater Yacht & CC grounds crew for their preparation and tireless work during the championship. All the players and TGA staff know how crucial their role was in making the Texas Four-Ball a memorable week.
For more information on the 2020 Texas Four-Ball, click here.
Williams and Schultz Grab First Round Lead at Texas Four-Ball
MONTGOMERY – Russell Williams of Prosper and Jason Schultz of Allen hold the first round lead of the Texas Four-Ball after turning in a brilliant 12-under-par 60 at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club’s Weiskopf Course.
Williams, 46, and Schultz, 47, have known each other since competing as collegiate golfers in the ‘90s. Over the years, they have played countless rounds together as well as various four-ball events. Though this year is the first time the duo has teamed up in the Texas Four-Ball, Williams and Schultz had no problem navigating the Weiskopf Course on Friday.
Williams carded five birdies and an eagle on his own ball, while Schultz tallied seven birdies of his own. They both bogeyed the par-3 eighth en route to their opening 12-under 60 to lead the field by two.
“We both stayed patient, and when one person was down the other person just kind of picked it up and we just kind of kept the momentum going,” Williams said. “We had a little slip up on eight, but we bounced right back and made a couple birdies and got it going on the back.”
Two teams sit two shots back of Williams and Schultz. John Hunter and Shane Heise of The Woodlands and Will Grifiin and Coy Breen of San Antonio fired opening rounds of 10-under-par 62.
Hunter and Heise set the tone early in Round 1. As the third group off the tenth tee Friday morning, they carded four birdies and an eagle to jump to 6-under through nine. The duo didn’t slow down on their closing loop. Hunter carded birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 fifth and par-3 eight to complement Heise’s birdie on the par-4 sixth.
“Round 1 was a good bit of ham and egg for both of us,” Hunter said. “We kind of got some momentum, made some putts, had some balls go in that probably surprised us a little bit and got about as much out of it as we could. We can’t look back and say we did anything wrong. It was a good day.”
Griffin and Breen, who have been friends since 2002, started slow on Friday. They turned in 2-under 34 and were eight shots off the clubhouse lead.
“I saw some teams were going low and knew we needed to get it going,” Griffin said.
Coy carded a bogey-free 4-under 32, while Griffin carded six birdies en route to a closing nine 6-under 30. Their 10 birdies combined for an 8-under-par 28 as a team. The 2020 Greater San Antonio Four-Ball Championship runner-ups climbed the leaderboard and will begin Saturday just two shots off the lead.
“We knew we didn’t play well on our first nine,” Griffin said. “Coy made a really good putt on 17 (their eighth hole) that kept us bogey free which was huge. Then we made the turn and played awesome on the front nine like we know we can.”
Michael Samp and Chris Headon as well as Aaron Hickman and Rob Couture carded rounds of 9-under-par 63 and are tied fourth. Three teams are tied for sixth at 8-under par. They include Josh Ketter and Bryan Mitchell, Scott Loving and Brandon Destefano as well as Grant Bills and Scott Maurer.
In the Senior Division, two teams are tied atop the leaderboard. David Ortego and Gordan Wagner as well as Mike Lohner and Larry Corson fired 9-under-par 63s. They’ll head into Saturday’s second round with a one-stroke advantage over Dave Davis and Jim Quinn. Mike Peck and Steve Love are tied for fourth with Scott Smith and Kip Estep after rounds of 7-under-par 65.
In the Super Senior Division, John Kennedy and Ford Cartwright of Lufkin carded eight birdies en route to an 8-under-par 64. Dan Alpha and Richard Hageman are solo second at 5-under par, while Tom McGraw and Charles Reeve share third at 4-under par with Bud Bartels and Richard Baker.
With its spectacular setting on the western shores of Lake Conroe and three award-winning courses, Bentwater Yacht & Country Club is one of the state’s premier golf communities. The Weiskopf Course, the first built at Bentwater, made its stunning debut in 1989 and was designed by PGA Tour legend Tom Weiskopf and Jay Morrish.
The architectural duo took full advantage of the site’s natural beauty – stately hardwoods and towering pine trees, rolling topography, elevation changes and numerous water features – to create a course that is all together enjoyable, challenging and visually sensational. With options to play shots over inlets or carry corners of tree-lined doglegs, the Weiskopf Course provides plenty of exciting risk-reward moments.
The second round of the Texas Four-Ball begins Friday at 7:45 a.m. Once play concludes the field will be cut to the low 24 teams and ties in the Championship Division, low 10 teams and ties in the Senior Division and low six teams and ties in the Super Senior Division. For more information, click here.