George Hannon Junior Invitational Set for Aug. 10-11
AUSTIN — The George Hannon Junior Invitational is set to cap off another great Legends Junior Tour summer schedule when the 36-hole event returns to the University of Texas Golf Club August 10-11. Texas Mutual Insurance Company is the proud presenting sponsor for the second straight year as part of a two-year deal with the Hannon Cup Association.
“Having a partnership with Texas Mutual is such a blessing to the Hannon Cup Association,” Hannon Cup Association Managing Director Randi Long said. “When we set out to have a junior tournament, the goal was to host one of the best ones in Texas. Along with Texas Mutual and the Legends Junior Tour, I believe we have accomplished that goal.”
Texas Mutual Insurance Company is one of the state’s leading workers’ compensation providers. Texas Mutual Vice President of Marketing and Customer Engagement Jeremiah Bentley said the company is proud to be associated with this year’s championship.
“We’re happy to have the opportunity again to contribute to the organization’s mission,” Bentley said. “As a leader in the workers’ compensation industry, Texas Mutual is always seeking to partner with other leading organizations. This tournament is a high-quality event that provides value to sponsors and exposure to a first-class audience.”
George Hannon was born in Kemp, Texas, and had a 59-year PGA career, including an 18-year term as the University of Texas Men’s Golf coach. Hannon’s career at UT included NCAA titles in 1971 and 1972, as well as 12 Southwest Conference Championships. Hannon coached legends such as Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Mark Brooks, Phil Blackmar, Brandel Chamblee, Warren Chancellor, Rik Massengale and Paul Thomas. He was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 1991 and was the Golf Coaches Associations’ 2001 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The Legends Junior Tour has conducted the George Hannon Junior Invitational since the Hannon Cup Association created the event in 2009. It brings together the top 96 boys and girls in and around the state. Three divisions compete separately: Boys 15-18, Boys 14 & Under and Girls 12-18.
The field will take on UT Golf Club’s par-71 layout. Since it opened for play in 2003, the demanding Bechtol Russel design has always had a championship pedigree. The Austin-based club is the home of the University of Texas Men’s and Women’s golf teams, including the 2012 NCAA Men’s Golf National Champions. It’s played host to NCAA Regional Championships, the Betsy Rawls Invitational as well as TGA Major Championships, including the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur in July.
Over the years, the club has welcomed some of the highest profile players in the game of golf. These include 3-time major champion Jordan Spieth, PGA Tour winners Dylan Frittelli, Cody Gribble and Jhonattan Vegas, 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Player of the Year Scottie Scheffler, 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Champion Sophia Schubert and the 13th ranked female amateur golfer in the world Kaitlyn Papp.
This is the fifth time in the tournament’s 12-year history for UT Golf Club to host. It’s a challenging test of golf complemented by scenic Texas Hill Country views and always delivers a great championship.
“We’re always excited to head to Austin for the George Hannon Junior Invitational,” LJT Tournament Coordinator Adam Schulte said. “It’s a great event year after year and we can’t thank the Hannon Cup Association enough for making it all possible.”
Frisco’s Henry Frizzell trailed by two strokes to begin the final round at last year’s championship. Following a solid opening nine, Frizzell held a one-stroke lead standing on the par-4 17th. He made a clutch birdie to extend his lead and closed out his round with a par on the par-4 18th to win the Boys 15-18 Division by two strokes.
In the Girls 12-18 Division, Kaylee Vesely of Austin fired a final round 2-under-par 69. The UT Golf Club member birdied the par-5 ninth (her finishing hole) to post 2-under overall for the championship and win by one stroke. Austin’s Trenton Mierl won the Boys 14 & Under Division after carding rounds of 66-79 to win by two shots. This year, he’ll look defend his title and add another LJT victory to his resume.
The George Hannon Junior Invitational is held in the Austin area annually and features one of the top-ranked fields on the LJT Schedule. Past champions of this event include Max Miller, Joe and Julia Beck, Scottie and Callie Scheffler, Brendan Redfern, Cole Hammer, Thomas Critch, Levi Valadez, Alexandra Rossi, Chandler Phillips, Hailee Cooper and Stephen Campbell Jr.
The George Hannon Junior Invitation will award players with additional points towards the LJT Player of the Year Points List. Sam Dossey of Austin leads the Boys 15-18 Division, while Lauren Nguyen of Katy leads the Girls 12-18 Division and Trenton Mierl of Austin leads the Boys 14 & Under Division.
For more information about the George Hannon Junior Invitational, click here.
Zach Heffernan and Lauren Nguyen Win 94th Texas Junior Amateur
HORSESHOE BAY – Zach Heffernan of Fair Oaks Ranch cards a final round 1-under-par 70 at Horseshoe Bay Resort’s Ram Rock Golf Course to defend his title and win back-to-back Texas Junior Amateurs. Katy’s Lauren Nguyen fired a closing 6-under-par 66 to come from behind and win the Girls Division by one stroke at Apple Rock.
Heffernan, who won last year at The Clubs of Kingwood’s Forrest Course, entered the week seeking to become the first back-to-back Texas Junior Amateur champion since Hunter Haas in 1994-95. The 2021 Baylor University commit carded rounds of 66-70 in his first two rounds to put himself in contention on Wednesday. He began the final round tied third and two strokes behind the 36-hole leader Hanseung Chang of Cedar Park.
Heffernan started firing early with birdies on the par-4 first and par-4 third to cut Chang’s lead to one. Following bogeys on the par-3 fourth and par-5 seventh, he turned at even par and trailed by three with nine holes to play. Despite the deficit, Heffernan never wavered. The defending champion continued to hit solid shots and pace himself on the difficult back nine at Ram Rock.
“The front nine started off well and then kind of got sketchy toward seven, eight and nine,” Heffernan said. “But on the back nine, I had a bunch of good looks and birdied the par-5 14th.”
Heffernan’s birdie brought him within one shot of the lead. Chang, who will play for the University of Houston this fall, was struggling on his closing loop. He double-bogeyed the par-4 11th and bogeyed the par-4 13th. After carding pars on holes 14-16, Chang held onto a one-shot lead with two to play. He missed the green on the par-3 17th and made another bogey. Heffernan made par, and they walked to the 18th tee tied for the championship.
The defending champion fired his tee shot up the right-center of the fairway and left himself a wedge into the green. Chang, trying to match Heffernan, blocked his tee ball a little right. It bounded through the rough and out of bounds. Chang closed with a double-bogey, while Heffernan flipped his wedge shot onto the putting surface and two-putted for the victory.
“It feels good to go back-to-back,” Heffernan said. “It’s amazing.”
Heffernan joins the short list of players to accomplish consecutive Texas Junior Amateur wins. Only two other players in the tournament’s 94-year history have won back-to-back, Hunter Haas in 1994-95 and Buck Luce in 1937-38. Heffernan heads to the 111th Texas Amateur at Boot Ranch next week. He’ll look to add another elite amateur title to his junior golf resume.
Gaven Lane of Argyle, Matthew Spaulding of Spring and Zachary Kingsland of Austin shared runner-up honors at 3-under par overall. Chang and Andrew Baucum of Heath tied for fifth at 1-under par.
In the Girls Division, history was made as well. Nguyen, a junior at Seven Lakes High School, started the day two shots behind Avery Zweig of McKinney. The 2019 Player of the Year bogeyed her second hole, but rallied with three birdies over her next seven holes to turn in 2-under-par 34.
Nguyen didn’t slow down on the back nine. She birdied the par-5 10th to climb into a share of the lead with Zweig and Tiffany Cao of Midlothian. The next eight holes became a battle between the three talented junior girls. Zweig, Cao and Nguyen all carded bogey-free closing nines, but Nguyen’s clutch birdie on the par-4 18th clinched the victory.
“I knew that this wasn’t the easiest course,” Nguyen said. “So, I knew if I just kept playing like I know how to play then everything will fall together for me.”
Nguyen, who won the Girls 14 & Under Division in 2017, becomes only the second player to win Texas Junior Amateur titles in both girl divisions. Since her win three years ago, Nguyen has had her eyes set on the Girls Division trophy.
“When I won the 14 & Under, I looked at the girl who won the 15 and over,” Nguyen said. “I told myself that’s always what I wanted to do. You know, I could never see myself doing that, but today it happened.”
Cao posted 2-under overall and solo second. Zweig finished third at 1-under. Mimi Burton of Austin was fourth at even par, while Emma McMyler of San Antonio rounded out the top-five at 5-over par.
Players, spectators and volunteers were required to follow specific health and safety guidelines throughout the day. The LJT provided hand sanitizer at water coolers, starting tees and scoring areas. Players were not allowed to touch the flagsticks and bunker rakes were removed from the golf course. The driving range and practice putting green were monitored and limited to a specific number of players. Players and spectators were asked to practice social distancing throughout the golf course and practice facilities.
The Legends Junior Tour extends its sincere appreciation to the staff and members of Horseshoe Bay Resort as well as our volunteers for their integral part in making the 94th Texas Junior Amateur a memorable and successful event.