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Mierl, Sanford tied for the lead at the Texas Cup Invitational

Tyler Sanford of Montgomery and Trenton Mierl of Austin share the lead after the First Round at the 2024 Texas Cup Invitational. Both players fired off a 3-under 68 to propel themselves to the top of the leaderboard at Eagle’s Bluff Country Club which is hosting the Texas Cup Invitational for the first time.

“I’m feeling good. My game felt sharp out there today,” shared Sanford. “I didn’t have any big mistakes out there, so it was a smooth round.” Sanford started his round with back-to-back birdies that helped set him up for a great round. After making a bogey on hole No. 7, he went on to score two more birdies on the back nine to stay at the top of the leaderboard. “I can take advantage of the par fives and get my driver out and go for it. I played the par threes well too which was an advantage for me.”

Mierl came into the Texas Cup right off his win at the 2024 Spring Preview Championship at Cedar Crest Golf Course. “It was a slow start out there,” shared the high school senior who started on No. 10 today. “I took it one shot at a time.” Mierl made five birdies on his back nine today including three straights to complete the round. “I got hot at the end especially after I chipped in on nine. I put myself in good positions and took advantage when I could.”

Tied for second are San Antonio’s Cameron Villarreal, Montgomery’s J.J. Worrell, and Round Rock’s Cole MacMillan after a two-under 69 for the First Round. “The course is nice, and the greens are rolling well. The par threes played long today but there were also some par fours that you can get after,” shared Worrell. “I got to stay feeling good and work on my tee shots tomorrow morning on the range. I need to keep the shots straighter and not have as many wayward shots.”

In a tight group tied for fifth are Charlie Dial of Fort Worth, Preston Hiller of San Antonio, Mitchell Maier of Richmond, Shiv Parmar of Selma, and Dylan Villarreal of McAllen after a First Round 1-under 70.

Colder weather welcomed the players in the morning with temperatures in the low 50’s. By the time all players made the turn, temperatures rose into the mid-to-high 60’s with a light breeze that made for a great day for golf.

Hole 13 played the toughest on the course today with an average score of 3.66. The 208-yard Par 3 sits in the pine trees where a crosswind from the south plays a major factor in landing on the green with a bunker on each side.

Official yardage for the First Round was 6,790 yards.

The Texas Cup Invitational, the first of the two boys-only majors on the LJT annual schedule, is the LJT boy’s first 54-hole event of the year.

The Second Round of the Texas Cup Invitational is scheduled for Tuesday, March 12 with tee times beginning at 8:30 AM. To see pairings, click here.

For more information on the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.

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LJT Texas Cup Invitational Heads to Eagle’s Bluff Country Club

ADDISON – The 2024 Texas Cup Invitational will head to Eagle’s Bluff Country Club for the first time in its 17-year tournament history on March 11-13. Eagle’s Bluff Country Club hosted the Legends Junior Tour 2023 Jackie Burke Cup and the 2024 Texas Girls’ Invitational.

 “We are very excited to be heading back to Eagle’s Bluff Country Club for the second time this season after they hosted the Texas Girls’ Invitational for us in February,” shared Tournament Director Adam Schulte. “The Texas Cup Invitational always has a lot of excitement around it. It is the first Major of the season for the boys and with it being earlier in the year they can’t wait to get out there and compete. Eagle’s Bluff has been a great host, and we can’t wait to show them the talented players we have in our Boys Division.”

 The Texas Cup Invitational is the first of two boys-only majors this season. The 54-stroke play tournament features the best young golfers in Texas and surrounding states to join a list of great champions for the Tournament.

 Eagle’s Bluff Country Club sits in East Texas right next to Lake Palestine.  The course features an Augusta National-like environment with a beautiful layout that plays throughout the pine tree woods. Designed by Carlton Gibson in 1999, the course stretches to just over 7,100+ yards from the back tees. In 2014, sixteen members purchased the club and invested back $2 million to make it one of the best courses in East Texas.

 Last year’s winner of the Texas Cup was Andrew Petruzzelli of Dallas, TX. Petruzzelli carded a six-under 66 on the final day to move from fifth place to first at Tempest Golf Club in Gladewater, TX. Other previous winners of the Texas Cup include Connor Henry, Patrick Kahanek, Brandon Massey, PGA Tour Players Ryan Grider, Braden Bailey, Chandler Phillips, and more. 

 A lot is up for grabs for the winner of the Texas Cup Invitational Winner. The winner will receive exemptions into the Bluebonnet Championship, George Hannon Junior Invitational,  Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational, 98th Texas Junior Amateur, and the 25th Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship.

 The First Round of the Texas Cup Invitational is scheduled for March 11 at 8:30 AM. For more information on the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.

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Kahanek birdies two of closing three holes Sunday to capture 2021 Texas Cup Invitational

WACO – San Antonio’s Patrick Kahanek birdied two of the last three holes Sunday at Ridgewood Country Club to capture the 2021 Texas Cup Invitational, the first major of the Legends Junior Tour’s season.

The Antonian High School senior, who will play golf at UTSA this fall, fired a final round 68-211 54-hole total. He recorded a one-shot win over Hunter Drotts, final round 72, and Awesome Burnett, who shot a closing 64.

Byungho Lee, Garrett Endicott and Julio Alfredo Rios Brache all tied for fourth at 213 with scores of 69, 68 and 68, respectively.

“On the back nine, my caddy was looking at the scores and he said a couple of birdies could really help me, so that’s what I tried do,” Kahanek said.

Indeed it could as he rolled in a 15-footer on the par 3 16th for a birdie which moved him into a share of the lead, after early third round leader Drotts made double bogey on the same hole one group later.

Both Kahanek and Drotts pared the 17th hole, a par four, only to set up the drama on the closing challenge, the par 4 18th at Ridgewood on the shores of Lake Waco.

Kahanek had 83 yards to the green after his drive and hit a 58-degree wedge to within five feet of the hole for the closing birdie.

“The club felt really good in my hand and the yardage was right for me. I just got it up in the air, rode the (jet) stream and it was money.”

After Drotts failed to make a birdie of his own on 18, Kahanek owned the biggest victory of his LJT junior golf career.

“This is what we work for, to birdie 18 and take home the win. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my putting and it’s really paid off today.”

Drotts, who didn’t get into the tournament until the last minute, held a three-shot lead on much of the back nine, but the par 3 16th proved to be his undoing.

“I just plugged my tee shot in the back bunker and from there, where the pin was, there wasn’t much I could do. I pitched it out, but it rolled all the way to the front of the green and the overhanging trees blocked my approach.

“I gave it a good run today and almost got it done. For getting in the tournament at the last minute, I’m pleased with what I was able to accomplish. I’ve got a lot of good things to take away from this”

So does Burnett, who tied his personal tournament low, with a six-under-par 64 final round, three shots off the competitive course record at Ridgewood.

The freshman from Flower Mound got his round off to a great start by holing out from the second fairway from 68 yards for an eagle two. On the fifth hole, he made a 20-foot birdie putt from off the green en route to a front nine 30. He only added one birdie on the back side, but said it was thrilled with his round.

“I played great today. The eagle at number two really got my round going and I was able to keep it going with a bunch of putts on the front nine.

“I love this course at Ridgewood, I’ve won a couple of Starburst (junior) tournaments here and it always feels good to be back.”

While he may not return as a junior golfer, Kahanek said he felt the same about the site of his greatest junior golf win to date.

“I’ve been doing a lot of work and had some good finishes, but this is my first win in a long time. This feels like a real breakthrough for me.”

The LJT will head to Brownwood next for the Bluebonnet Championship in early May. For final scores at the Texas Cup Invitational, click here

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Webb Shoots Low Score at Texas Cup Invitational, leads Second Round by One

WACO – Holden Webb shot the low round of the 2021 Texas Cup Invitational, a second round 66 Saturday, to take a slim one-shot lead over late-arriving Hunter Drotts after 36 holes of the first major of the Legends Junior Tour Season.

Webb, a Shreveport, Louisiana native, whose dad Craig briefly played on the PGA Tour, had six birdies at Ridgewood Country Club, including a 30-foot birdie putt on 17, with only two bogeys. It gave him a two-day total of 140 and a chance to get a prestigious win in his first individual tournament of the year.

Webb finished second with a two-day total of 139. Drotts shot a second round 68-140. Ryan Shellberg from Prosper was alone in third place with a second round even-par 70-141 total. Spring’s Andrew Spaulding was solo fourth at 70-142.

The second round leader used some local course knowledge after he played Ridgewood 4 years ago in the Starburst Junior Tournament and said it began to come back to him after a practice round this week. He is also a product of the prestigious David Toms 265 Golf Academy, which has already produced professional golfers Sam Burns and Phillip Barberee.

“That motivates me out here because I’ve seen what they have done on the Tour and I came from the same place.”

In his tournament low round, Webb got off to a fast start with a birdie on number one and seven, then got on a role with birdies on 9-10-11 before his birdie bomb on 17th.

“I was just trying to keep the ball in front of me and makes some putts when I got the chance. I hit a lot of club today on a lot of holes because the wind came from everywhere. I did a lot of work in the off season and it’s good to seeing it’s paying off.”

Drotts’ only motivation was a late Thursday afternoon phone call informing the League City resident he was in the tournament and needed to get to Waco and Ridgewood ASAP.

“I had applied and didn’t get in. So I sent them (LJT) an email saying I was still available and they told him I was the fifth alternate. One guy dropped out and I guess the other three couldn’t make it, so I got the call,” Drotts said.

He dropped everything he was doing at home, to get ready to make the 4-plus hour trip, going through College Station to pick up his buddy Cole Stock who is serving as his caddy this week.

They arrived in Waco late Thursday night, too late for a practice round, and without a place to stay because they were below the minimum age to rent a hotel room on their own. They were able to find another friend in town to crash in his room and then made it to the course early Friday morning.

Without ever seeing the course, he fired an opening 73, then turned in his two-under 68 on a windy Saturday on the shores of Lake Waco, to get within a shot of the lead.

The senior Cameron University commit had birdies on holes 2-7-9-10 and 15, the last coming with a 20-foot putt which caught the edge of the cup and tumbled in. He missed a two-foot par putt on 18, but said he was overall pleased with his round.

“I made so many putts, I’m not going to complain about the one I didn’t make. My caddy and I were talking coming up there, this could be our chance. It didn’t work out for them (other alternates) to get into the tournament, but it worked out for me and I’m going to take advantage of it.”

The final round of the Texas Cup Invitational will begin Sunday morning at 8:15 AM. For final round pairings, click here.

For more information on the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.

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Gonzalez Leads at Texas Cup Invitational After Round 1

WACO – High winds and tough conditions sent scores soaring in the first round of the 2021 Texas Cup Invitational at Ridgewood Country Club Friday, with just a single player, Texas commit Alejandro Gonzalez, shooting under par in the elite junior event.

With gusting winds on the classic Ralph Plummer designed par 70 course, on the shores of Lake Waco, the average score for the first day of the 54-hole event was 75.93. There were 24 scores at 78 or higher compared to only 11 of 72 or lower.

“I thought I played pretty good today, putted good, hit it well, but that wind was tough today. It could come from anywhere,” said Gonzalez.

His opening round 68, put him two shots clear of the best junior golfers in the state in the major championship for the Legends Junior Tour.

Tied for second was Austin’s Prayaag Oruganti and Andrew Spaulding from Spring at even par 70. A total of 6 players were tied for fourth at 71, including Dallas’ Parker Heath. He held the back nine lead at 3-under-par after a birdie on the par 4 14th hole, only to finish bogey, double bogey, bogey, par.

Even Gonzalez, from Queretaro, Mexico, who played in an early group, fell victim to the tough Central Texas conditions. He had a triple bogey seven on the par 4 sixth hole, but rebounded with birdies on 1, 4, 8 and 15, plus a chip in eagle on the par 4, 14th.

“It was tough out there today. On the 6th hole I hooked it left and then just started chipping it out,” he said. “But I was able to come back.”

Indeed he did with birdie putts all less than 15th feet and the eagle chip in he said was as lucky as it was good.

“I was 50 yards out to the side off the fairway and was trying to hit a high shot which would bounce on the green. Instead, I hit it low and running. I didn’t see it, but they said it hit the pin and went in. It was a lucky bounce.”

But the star junior who has worked for the last five years with Jordan Spieth teacher Cameron McCormick said it was another good day on a course he had never seen before two days ago.

“There are some blind tee shots out here you have to be ready for, but it’s a nice course, great condition and really good greens. Working with Cameron has helped my game so much in a lot of areas.”

Baylor University commit Sam Dossey led a group of players tied for 12th at 73, three-over-par, while Waco’s Brayden Bare had the lowest local score of 78.

The Second Round of the Texas Cup Invitational is scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 13 with tee times going off the No. 1 and 10 tees. To see pairings for the final round, click here.

For more information on the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.

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Texas Cup Invitational Heads to Waco

 ADDISON – The Texas Cup Invitational heads to Ridgewood Country Club for the first time in the tournament’s 14-year history on March 12-14.

This boys-only invitational is scheduled for 54-holes of stroke play and continues to draw one of the best fields on the LJT schedule.

“We’re excited to be taking this championship to Ridgewood Country Club,” said Tournament Director Adam Schulte. “This field is always one of the best each year and the course will provide a true test for our champion.”

This will be the first Major Championship for the Boys Division in 2021, offering double points towards the Player of the Year standings as well as AJGA Performance Stars including fully exempt status for the winner. The tournament is also ranked by the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Junior Golf Scoreboard and Golfweek.

Ridgewood Country Club opened in 1947 and sits right up against Lake Waco. The course was originally designed by Texan Ralph Plummer and in the early 1960s the city of Waco finalized plans to expand the lake and increase the lake’s elevation. Plummer returned to Ridgewood to renovate the course and it re-opened in June of 1963. The par-70 layout will be played a little more than 6,600 yards for the championship and features bentgrass greens as well as bermudagrass fairways, tees and rough.

The event is ranked by the World Amateur Golf Ranking, Golfweek and Junior Golf Scoreboard and offers numerous AJGA Stars to the top finishers.

This year’s 84-player field is led by seven past LJT Champions in the Boys 15-18 Division, including all three from 2021. Frisco’s Davis Ovard won the Winter Classic in January, while Austin’s Brian Comegys won the Jimmy Demaret Junior Classic and Temple’s Daniel Moon won the Spring Preview in February. The last three Boys 14 & Under Players of the Year are competing along with the last two Boys 14 & Under Texas Junior Amateur Champions.

The event is open to players with an active membership within the Texas Junior Golf Alliance and the field is built off exemptions from the previous year. There are 10 players competing from out of state including five from Louisiana. The No. 2 ranked player, according to Junior Golf Scoreboard, from New Mexico and the No. 4 ranked player from Mississippi are in the field.

Brandon Massey of Fort Worth won last year’s Texas Cup Invitational at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club’s Dye Course. He posted rounds of 78-69-69 to get to 216 overall and four strokes ahead of the field. Massey is the tournament’s only two-time winner after capturing the title in 2017.

The Texas Cup Invitational has previously been hosted at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club (2019-20), Ridglea Country Club (2017-18), Mira Vista Country Club (2013-16) and The Honors Club of Dallas (2008-12), which was recently renovated into Maridoe Golf Club. The tournament has produced some stellar past champions including Stratton Nolen (2010), Andrew Winters (2011), Chandler Phillips (2012), Braden Bailey (2013), Ryan Grider (2016), Thomas Bockholt III (2018) and Brian Boles (2019).

The 2021 Texas Cup Invitational starts March 12 at 8:00 AM at Ridgewood Country Club.

For more information about the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.

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Brandon Massey Wins Texas Cup Invitational

Brandon Massey Wins Texas Cup Invitational

MCKINNEY – Brandon Massey of Fort Worth fired a second consecutive 2-under-par 69 to win his second Texas Cup Invitational by four strokes. The 2020 Texas Christian University commit battled all week at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club’s Dye Course to become the first two-time champion of the boys-only invitational.

“I haven’t won in a while,” Massey said. “I haven’t played in an individual tournament in a while so it’s huge for me.”

Massey, who won at Ridglea Country Club in 2017, displayed poise throughout the 54-hole championship. On Wednesday, the senior at Arlington Heights High School continued to demonstrate his composure.

After finding the left fescue on the par-5 third hole, Massey tried to punch his ball low under some overhanging branches. He didn’t get the ball high enough to clear the thick grass and only advanced it five yards. Massey punched his third shot down the fairway, played his approach shot to the green and two-putted for a bogey.

He made another bogey on the par-4 sixth and was four shots off the lead. However, as he had done all week, he didn’t waiver nor count himself out of the tournament. Massey strung together three consecutive birdies to card an opening nine 1-under-par 35.

He carried the momentum into the back nine and with a birdie on the par-3 12th was tied for the lead with Jacob Borow of Lake Jackson. Borow, who held a share of the 36-hole lead, struggled down the stretch and opened the door for the groups ahead of him.

Massey birdied the par-5 16th to take a one-shot lead with two holes to play. His tee shot on the par-3 17th was long, left and found the thick fescue over the green.

“I really wanted to make a par there and get out of there with a three,” Massey said. “I saw my lie and didn’t have much. I couldn’t go right at the flag so I took it a little left and hit it perfect.”

Massey pulled off an incredible pitch and found the putting surface 15 feet from the hole. He drained the par-putt to stay one-shot ahead of the field. After a routine par on the par-4 18th, Massey signed for his second 2-under 69 for the week and the low-round of the day. He finished at 3-over-par 216 for the championship.

The final two groups continued to struggle down the stretch. Borow and Ethan Fang of Plano carded 5-over-par 76s, while Byungho Lee of Houston posted a 3-over-par 74. In the end, Massey’s victory was a four-stroke margin.

“I struggled the first day, but you know we got it back on track,” Massey said.

On Monday, 25 mph gusts and rain showers in the morning made the playing conditions very difficult. He carded an opening round 7-over-par 78 and was tied for 26th.

Massey began the second round five shots off the lead, but he made a statement on moving day.  He carded five birdies en route the lowest round of the day and climbed 21 spots up the leaderboard into a tie for fifth. Massey’s goal on Wednesday was to climb five spots and he did for his second Texas Cup Invitational title.

“I hope to carry this momentum throughout the season and into the summer,” Massey said.

He plans to compete in the 21st Veritex Bank Byron Nelson Junior Championship in June as well as a few USGA qualifiers before attending TCU in August.

Borow, Fang and Lee finished in a tie for second at 7-over-par 220. Andrew Spaulding of Spring, Jackson Drake of Lubbock and Nicholas Hance of Irving finished tied fifth at 10-over-par 223. Trevor Mierl of Austin and Jackson Naeger of Keller finished tied eighth at 11-over-par 224, while Alejandro Gonzalez of Queretaro, Mexico, Frisco’s Shivam Patel and Songge Jiang and Garrett Endicott of San Antonio rounded out the top-10 at 12-over-par 225.

The Texas Cup Invitational plays Stonebridge Ranch CC’s Dye Course as a par 71. The normal par-5 13th hole is played as a long par-4 for the championship. The second round was played at 6,841 yards.

The Texas Golf Association extends its sincere appreciation to the staff and members of Stonebridge Ranch Country Club as well as our volunteers for their integral part in making the 2020 Texas Cup Invitational a memorable and success event. To view the Final Leaderboard, click here. For more information on the Texas Cup Invitational, click here.