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Wyatt Koricanek Grabs 36-Hole Lead at the 112th Texas Amateur

MIDLAND – Wyatt Koricanek was one of the last players to get into the field at the 112th Texas Amateur. Through 36 holes at Midland Country Club, the Yorktown resident finds himself in first place after a stellar 5-under-par 67 in Friday’s Round 2.

The second alternate out of the May 13 qualifying tournament at Vaaler Creek Golf Club in Blanco, Koricanek (pronounced “cora-chaun-ick”) got the call that he had a spot in the Texas Amateur last Sunday night. Four days later, he made the most of the opportunity and fired a 4-under 68 in the opening round.

At 9-under 135 overall, Koricanek leads Chris Berzina from Fort Worth by three shots.

“I was dying to get in,” Koricanek said. “I was really excited to get that call, like ready to go. You hope to play well in every tournament you go to, but I honestly felt like I was going to play well here.”

With 11 birdies and just two bogeys through 36 holes, the Texas State University senior validated his intuition. He could be one shot better, too. On the par-4 seventh, he hit a sand wedge from 114 yards right at the flag. It took one hop, rattled in and out of the hole and stopped a foot away.

“I thought it was in,” he said. “I heard it click, and there it was a foot or two away. I’ve never eagled a par 4, but there’s nothing wrong with a tap-in birdie.”

Berzina, a junior at TCU, holds second place at 6-under 138. On Friday, he shot a second consecutive 3-under 69 on the strategic and narrow Midland Country Club course. He poured in five birdies against a pair of bogeys.

“Today was a lot more of a solid round than yesterday,” said Berzina, who finished T15 in the 2018 Texas Junior Amateur at Horseshoe Bay Resort. “Yesterday, I had a little birdie streak going. Today, I had more pars all around and a couple three-putt bogeys. But I answered most of those bogeys with birdies.”

Tyler’s Clay Hodge, the first-round leader, shares third place with San Antonio’s Andres Acevedo at 5-under 139. Leander’s Ryan O’Rear, Odessa’s Blake Parks and Jake Doggett from Hutto are tied for fifth place at 4-under 140.

Ten players are within six shots of Koricanek’s lead.

Fifty-five players advanced through the 36-hole cut at 3-over 147. As expected, Midland Country Club has tested the best amateurs in the state; currently 21 players are under par for the championship. That’s less than 15% of the field.

In Round 2, the competitors played the par-72 course from 7,321 yards; the stroke average was 74.42, less than a shot better than it was in Round 1.

For the second straight day, a par 3 proved to be the most difficult test. On Friday it was the 232-yard eighth hole, which had a stroke average of 3.51. There were 12 double bogeys or worse on the testy No. 8 hole, which played straight into the wind on Friday. The par-5 fourth hole yielded the most birdies at 42.

In the first two rounds combined, the best amateurs in Texas averaged 74.88 on the Ralph Plummer-designed and D.A Weibring/Steve Wolfard-enhanced Midland Country Club course.

NOTES

Record-Breaker

Clay Hodge’s first round 64 broke Midland Country Club’s competitive course record since the course was completely renovated in 2015.

Hodge rolled in six birdies Thursday and holed-out a wedge from 145 yards for eagle on the par-4 18th hole. He was bogey-free and finished at 8-under.

Midland Country Club’s previous competitive course record was 65, shot by Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz in a 2018 U.S. Amateur qualifier.

Young & the Restless

Every year at the Texas Amateur, the field of competitors runs the gamut from young juniors to veteran senior amateurs. This year was no different.

The youngest player at Midland Country Club this week is Luke Hagan, a 16-year-old from Austin. Ben DeLaRosa from Dallas also is 16. Both have birthdays coming up this summer; Hagan is just six days older than DeLaRosa.

The oldest player in the field is 62-year-old Ken Coutant from Dallas.

The average age of the 144 participants is 28, which is a little on the old side compared to recent years.

Round 3 of the 112th Texas Amateur begins Saturday at 7:30 a.m. For more information, including complete scoring, click here.

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Texas Golf HOF Reschedules Class of 2020 Induction Event

The Texas Golf Hall of Fame recently announced that the previously postponed formal 2020 induction dinner has been rescheduled for Monday, August 9 and will be held at the River Crest Country Club in Fort Worth. The event was originally slated for October 2020 but was postponed as a cautionary measure due to COVID-19.

Last July the Hall announced its 2020 Class of Inductees that are to be honored during this formal induction ceremony that is open to the public.

2020 Texas Hall of Fame Inductees:

  • Professional Player: Angela Stanford
  • Amateur Player: Hank Kuehne
  • Lifetime Achievement: Verne Lundquist
  • Golf Professional / Teacher: Mike Wright
  • Golf Professional / Teacher: Dow Finsterwald, Jr.
  • Texas Registry of Historic Golf Courses: Oak Hills Country Club

In addition to the upcoming induction dinner, each of the Inductees has been commemorated on a granite marker on the prestigious Texas Golf Walk of Fame at historic Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio.

“We are very excited to finally give this class of inductees the celebration that they deserve!” said Texas Golf Hall of Fame Board Chairman, Reid Meyers. “These are extraordinary times, and we are fortunate to be able to slowly return to the normalcy of life. We hope you join us in celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of this class to the State of Texas and the great game of Golf.”

This will be the Texas Golf Hall of Fame’s eleventh class to be inducted since the Hall’s reconstitution in 2009. Public nominations made online were voted on by living Hall members, the Texas Golf Hall of Fame Board of Directors, and designated Texas golf media members.

For more about the Class of 2020 Induction Event, including tickets and sponsorship information, click here.

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Wayne Wright Wins 2021 Texas Super Senior Am

FORT WORTH – Wayne Wright of Aledo shot a final round 2-over-par 73 to win the 2021 Texas Super Senior Amateur on Wednesday at Ridglea Country Club’s North Course.

Wright stayed consistent all week and held onto his second-round lead. His final round 73 put him at 3-over 216 for the week, good for a six-shot victory.

“Just winning is great,” Wright said. “I mean, I love to win.”

This marks the second time Wright has won Texas Super Senior Amateur. He previously won it in 2017 at Pine Dunes Resort in Frankston. Wright also previously won the 2019 North Senior Am at Ridglea CC’s Championship Course.

“You know, it just seems like when the competition starts, things kind of fall into place,” he said. “I really played well this week.”

Wright carded three birdies en route to victory.

“I am really pleased with the way I played,” Wright said. “I started putting a little bit better today.”

A combination of weather and Ridglea CC’s North Course proved to be challenging to the field this week as only four rounds came in under-par.

John Grace and Mike Booker both finished with under-par final rounds to share second place at 9-over 222. Ed Brooks carded a final round 73 to finish in fourth. Rounding out the top five were Chuck Gardner and Steve Moran tied at 11-over week.

Mike Rice of Houston won the Legends division by carding the low round of the week for his respective division, a 3-over 74. His 16-over 229 total edged out runner-up Denny Alexander’s 17-over 230.

Ford Cartwright and Jamey Freisleben were crowned Super Senior Am net winners after tying at a 221-total net. Butch Vaut captured the Legends division net win after finishing with a 218-total net.

The Ridglea CC North Course demanded precision from every player throughout the tournament with its rolling fairways and smaller greens that were breaking subtly. Overseeding created a beautiful lush green course as Ridglea CC was in great shape for all three rounds. The Super Senior division, for amateur men ages 65 and older, played from a total yardage of 6,229. The Legends division (75 and older) played from 5,827 yards.

Four of the past five Super Senior Amateur champions were in the field, including Odessa’s Mickey Jones, who won the event in 2018. The 2020 Super Senior Amateur was canceled because of COVID-19.

The 112th Texas Amateur is next up on the championship schedule for the TGA. The top amateurs in the state will be tested at beautiful Midland Country Club in Midland on June 17-20. For more on the 2021 Super Senior Amateur, click here.