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.
Schultz, Williams Extend Lead at Texas Four-Ball
MONTGOMERY – Russell Williams of Prosper and Jason Schultz of Allen extend their lead at the Texas Four-Ball after carding an 8-under-par 64 in the second round at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club’s Weiskopf Course.
Following their brilliant 12-under-par 60 in Round 1, Williams and Schultz begin Saturday afternoon right where they left off as Schultz birdied four of his opening six holes.
He carded another birdie on the par-4 18th to turn in 5-under 31 on his own ball. On the back nine, Schultz and Williams teamed up for three more birdies to post 20-under par through two rounds and lead the field by three strokes.
“My partner played really well today,” Williams said. “He was striping the ball. I picked him up on about three holes, other than that, it was a Jason Schultz show.”
Though Williams and Schultz have played together for many years, they are teeing it up in the Texas Four-Ball as a team for the first time. The duo finds themselves atop the leaderboard with 18 holes to play; however, they plan to keep the same mentality for Sunday’s final round.
“We just look forward to having some fun,” Schultz said. “I got a good partner and that’s all you can ask for. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing.”
Chris Goodspeed of Dallas and Frisco’s Bell Steen sit three shots back of Williams and Schultz. The three-time Texas Four-Ball champions (1996, 1997, 2002) carded nine birdies and an eagle en route to a 10-under-par 62, tying the low-round of the day.
Goodpseed, 54, and Steen, 54, have been friends since the first grade. They played collegiate golf together at Abiliene Christian University and on Sunday, they’ll look to add a fourth Texas Four-Ball title to their amateur golf careers.
“He’s my best friend and I love getting to play golf with him,” Steen said.
Three teams are tied for third at 16-under par for the championship. Scott Loving and Brandon Destefano of Conroe matched their opening 64 with another round at 8-under. Rob Couture of Dallas and Tyler’s Aaron Hickman carded a bogey-free 7-under-par 65 on Friday, while Will Griffin and Coy Breen of San Antonio birdied their final hole to shoot 6-under 66. All three teams will begin the final round four shots behind Williams and Schultz.
Following play on Saturday, the Championship Division was cut to the top 27 teams for Sunday’s final round.
In the Senior Division, two teams are tied atop the leaderboard. David Ortego of Spring and Sugar Land’s Gordan Wagner followed their opening 63 with a 4-under-par 68. They are tied with Mike Peck and Steve Love of Irving who carded a 6-under-par 66 on Saturday. Kenneth Coutant of Dallas and McKinney’s Bill Jackson are solo third after consecutive rounds of 66.
John Pierce of San Antonio and Burleson’s Lewis Stephenson are tied for fourth with Kip Estep of Rockwall and Houston’s Scott Smith. They are at 12-under-par 133 overall and will begin Sunday’s final round two strokes behind the leaders. The Senior Division was cut to the top 10 teams following the second round.
In the Super Senior Division, John Kennedy and Ford Cartwright of Lufkin continued to play solid golf on Saturday. They carded three birdies and an eagle en route to a 4-under-par 68. Kennedy and Cartwright hold a three-shot lead over Tom McGraw of Montgomery and Houston’s Charles Reeve who are 9-under through two rounds.
Richard Hageman of Garden Ridge and Spring’s Dan Alpha are third at 8-under-par 135 overall. Following the second round, the Super Senior Division was cut to the top six teams and ties.
For Bentwater Yacht & Country Club, this is the fifth time it has played host to a TGA major championship. Through the years, the club has hosted the Texas Mid-Amateur, Texas Senior Amateur, Club Team and Texas Father-Son. It’s the first time Bentwater Yacht & CC has been the site for the Texas Four-Ball.
The final round of the Texas Four-Ball begins Sunday at 8 a.m. at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club’s Weiskopf Course. For more information on this championship, click here