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Clay Hodge Leads 112th Texas Amateur

MIDLAND – Clay Hodge from Tyler scorched Midland Country Club on Thursday with a bogey-free, 8-under-par 64 to grab the lead after the first round of the 112th Texas Amateur. Hodge leads Aaron Hickman, another Tyler resident, by two shots headed into Friday’s second round.

“I just hit the ball really well,” said Hodge, who won the 2013 Texas Mid-Amateur at Cordillera Ranch. “Honestly, I had not been coming into this championship, but I did today.”

That might be an understatement. Hodge hit all 18 greens at Midland Country Club in regulation. He made an eagle from the fairway on the par-4 18th – his ninth hole of the day – after he dunked a wedge from 145 yards.

“I was a little in between clubs,” he said. “I took the shorter one and hit it hard. It was right online, and I was yelling at it to get to the hole. It barely made it to the hole and fell in.”

The 36-year-old Hodge tied for third place in the 2015 Texas Mid-Amateur at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas. Hodge also was part of the 2009-10 Texas A&M national championship team.

Hickman, a 43-year-old TGA Director who was the 2011 and ’16 North Texas Player of the Year, got off to a hot start in the relatively cool West Texas morning air. He one-putted his first six holes and birdied three of them to make the turn at 4-under par. Hickman got it to 7-under after consecutive birdies on his 13th and 14th holes, but he gave one back with a three-putt bogey on his 17th hole.

“I got all the par 5s,” Hickman said. “I birdied all the par 5s. That’s a good way to get it going. I kept the ball in front of me and played pretty well.”

Four players share third place at 4-under 68. That group includes JT Pittman, the 2020 North Texas Player of the Year and a sophomore at Midland College, Wyatt Koricanek from New Braunfels, Leander’s Ryan O’Rear, winner of the 2020 Texas Mid-Amateur at Oak Hills Country Club, and San Antonio’s Andres Acevedo.

Defending champion Trey Bosco, a Baylor sophomore from Austin, is tied for seventh place at 3-under 69.

Thirty players finished in red numbers on the stern 7,373-yard, par-72 setup. The stroke average in Round 1 was 75.27. The par 3s were among the toughest holes on the day, especially the 209-yard third. It proved the most difficult hole of the day with a stroke average of 3.41. Twelve players made double bogey on the third hole. Much of the field got a shot back on the 551-yard, par-5 12th. There were 50 birdies on the hole, which yielded a 4.87 stroke average.

Founded in 1927 as a nine-hole course near downtown, Midland Country Club moved to its current location in the mid-1950s when Ralph Plummer designed the 18-hole course. The course has changed throughout the years, including in 2017 when the Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design completed a comprehensive renovation in time for the club’s 90th anniversary. The nearly $9 million project saw the installation of new greens, tees, bunkers and lakes, all of which fortified the strategic nature of Plummer’s original design.

While there’s not much elevation change through the course, it can stretch to nearly 7,500 from the back tees. The fairways are deceptively narrow, with rugged native areas and wispy grasses just off the edges. It’s a fair and challenging championship test, one that rewards quality shots and punishes anything less than that.

This is the fourth time Midland Country Club has played host to the state’s oldest amateur championship. The Texas Amateur came out west to Midland in 1965 (won by Randy Petri), 1971 (Bruce Lietzke) and 1997 (Ed Brooks). The 1963 and 2001 editions of the Women’s Texas Amateurs also were played at Midland Country Club (won by Sandra Palmer and Denis Flores, respectively).

In recent years, the 2020 TGA Women’s Four-Ball (won by Faith Delagarza and Amari Smith) and 2019 West Texas Amateur (won by Jackson Markham) were contested at Midland Country Club.

NOTES

Awards & Dignitaries

During Wednesday night’s player reception at Midland Country Club’s par-3 course – called “The Judy” after Midland golf royalty Judy Rankin – the TGA welcomed some local celebrities and handed out several awards.

Rankin, the 26-time winner and two-time LPGA Player of the Year, spoke to the 112th Texas Amateur participants about what to expect from the golf course and told a few stories about how much Midland Country Club meant to her and the success she achieved. Midland Mayor Patrick Payton also was in attendance.

San Antonio’s Colby Harwell picked up his second Texas Player of the Year award for performances during the 2020 season. Harwell, who also won the award in 2017, was runner-up at the Texas Mid-Amateur and Mid-Amateur Match Play events last year. He also finished T16 in the 111th Texas Amateur at Boot Ranch Golf Club.

Others who received awards included 2020 North Texas Player of the Year JT Pittman from Monahans and 2020 South Texas Player of the Year Kevin Liberto from Cypress.

A host of awards also were distributed to some of the TGA’s most important contributors. Past President Jim Brown from Dallas was honored with the Bob Wells Distinguished Service Award, the highest honor given in Texas amateur golf for volunteerism. Robert Woodward from Dallas received the 2020 North Texas Volunteer of the Year award, and Steve Suhey from Horseshoe Bay won the 2020 South Texas Volunteer of the Year award.

Because of the pandemic, the TGA was unable to hand out the 2019 Volunteer of the Year awards. On Wednesday night, Roger Davis from Spring picked up the 2019 South Texas Volunteer of the Year, and Chuck Flowers from Wylie was handed the 2019 North Texas Volunteer of the Year award.

Last, but by no means least, Carey Schulten of Dallas was recognized for his years of tireless service to the TGA. Schulten was the association’s President from 2018-19 and has been a constant fixture at championships as one of the TGA’s most trusted Rules Officials.

High Demand

Nearly 1,000 male golfers in Texas with Handicap Indexes of 6.4 or better registered to qualify for the 112th Texas Amateur at Midland Country Club. In all, the TGA received 986 entries for this year’s championship. It’s the second-highest entry total in the tournament’s history.

That record was set last at Boot Ranch Golf Club in the Hill Country. A total of 1,010 amateurs registered for the 111th Texas Amateur.

Round 2 of this year’s championship begins Friday at 7:30 a.m. For more information on the 112th Texas Amateur, including complete scoring, click here.

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James Peebles Leads Super Senior Amateur after Round 1

FORT WORTH – James Peebles shot the only under-par score in Monday’s first round of the 2021 Texas Super Senior Amateur on Ridglea Country Club’s North Course. The Fort Worth native’s 1-under-par 70 held up for a two-shot lead headed into the second round of the 54-hole championship.

Peebles, a 67-year-old semi-retired attorney, rolled in four birdies in the first round, including two on his final three holes.

“These greens are pretty severe,” said Peebles, the current president of nearby Shady Oaks Country Club. “If you can get underneath the hole, you can take a run at it. I’m a pretty good putter. When the putts go in, you build some confidence, and you can play pretty well.”

A reliable swing helps, too. Peebles had that part covered thanks to some recent assistance.

“I’ve really struggled with my golf swing over the last six months or so,” Peebles said. “With the help of some guys at Shady Oaks, I’ve gotten squared away, and I’m hitting the ball more solidly.”

Peebles leads Tom Takes from Weatherford and Wayne Wright from Aledo by two shots headed into Tuesday’s second round. Takes and Wright posted rounds of 1-over 72. Takes was steady all day; he recorded one birdie, two bogeys and 15 pars. Wright sunk two birdies to help offset three bogeys.

Six players are tied for fourth place at 2-over 73, including 2019 Texas Super Senior champion Ed Brooks from Fort Worth and three-time Texas Senior Player of the Year Mike Booker from Houston.

Butch Vaut from Royce City leads the Legends division after he shot 4-over 75 in the first round. Vaut bogeyed his second and third holes, but then reeled off birdies on three of his next six holes. Vaut finished his round with five consecutive pars and holds a one-shot Legends division lead over Denny Alexander of Fort Worth.

Lush green from overseeding, Ridglea is in superb shape for the year’s first men’s statewide championship. Designed by Texas Golf Hall of Fame architect John Bredemus in 1928, Ridglea’s North Course features narrow, tree-lined fairways that stretch across southwest Fort Worth’s rolling topography.

A longtime host of TGA championships, Ridglea most recently was the site of the 2020 Women’s Senior Stroke Play Championship won by Lubbock’s Marian Barker. This is the club’s first time hosting the Texas Super Senior Amateur.

The par-71 course keeps the attention of even the best players with uneven lies, tricky doglegs that require shot-shaping and smallish putting surfaces with subtly sloping breaks. Much like the rest of the course, the greens were in perfect shape during the first round. 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 Ridglea from 5,827 yards.

Four of the past five Super Senior Amateur champions are competing for this year’s title, including Fort Worth’s Ed Brooks, who won the event in 2019. The 2020 Super Senior Amateur was canceled because of COVID-19.

Round 2 of the 2021 Texas Super Senior Amateur begins Tuesday at 8:30 a.m. For more information, including complete scores and second-round pairings, click here.

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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

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Comegys, Madden and Logis Win Jimmy Demaret Junior Classic

LAKEWAY – Brian Comegys of Austin posted rounds of 75-74 to clinch the Jimmy Demaret Junior Classic at Lakeway Country Club’s Live Oak Course by one stroke. Jenna Madden of McKinney carded a final round 2-over-par 74 to win the Girls 12-18 Division by three strokes, while Nicholas Logis of Austin ran away with the Boys 14 & Under Division and won by seven shots.

Full Leaderboard

Division Champions: Comegys played steady golf throughout his round on Sunday. He’d counter a dropped shot with a few birdies, and held a one stroke lead with three holes to play. However, after back-to-back bogeys on the par-5 16th and par-3 17th, Comegys was tied for the lead heading into the par-4 18th. The 17-year-old carded his fifth birdie of the day and ninth for the tournament to post 5-over-par 149 and win the Boys 15-18 Division. The victory was Comegys’s first in the Boys 15-18 Division with the Legends Junior Tour.

Madden began the day two shots behind the 18-hole leader, Raleygh Simpson of Kerrville. The 15-year-old started her final round with a double bogey on the par-4 10th, and carded two more bogeys on her opening loop. However, despite the struggles, Madden was still well within contention for her first LJT title. On the front side, she found her game. Madden carded three birdies including a closing three on the par-4 ninth to shoot 2-under 34 and win by three strokes.

Nicholas Logis of Austin played the best golf of all three divisions. He followed his opening round 3-under-par 69 with a solid 2-over-par 74 to post the only 36-hole total in red figures. Logis adds his win to a top-5 finish earlier this season at the Winter Classic. 

In Contention: In the Boys 15-18 Division, Garland’s Sam Jenkins finished one stroke behind of Comegys after shooting consecutive rounds of 3-over-par 75. Brayden Bare of Waco, Awesome Burnett of Flower Mound and Tanner Wardlaw of Dripping Springs tied for third at 8-over-par 152. Ethan Parker of Austin finished sixth at 9-over-par 153, while Trenton Mierl of Austin and Gage Doyle of Colleyville tied for seventh at 10-over-par 154.

In the Girls 12-18 Division, Raleygh Simpson of Kerrville finished solo second after rounds of 76-79 to post 11-over par. Marissa Loya of San Antonio finished third at 13-over par, while Chaemin Kim of Austin, Amelia Guo of Seabrook and Mimi Burton of Austin tied for fourth at 15-over par.

In the Boys 14 & Under Division, the 94th Texas Junior Amateur Boys 14 & Under champion, Brooks Simmons of Dallas, finished second and seven shots behind Logis at 6-over par. Andre Follmer of The Hills carded rounds of 79-73 to finish third, while Rhett O’Rear of Plano and Austin Hofferkamp of The Woodlands tied for fourth at 10-over-par 154.

Course: Lakeway Country Club’s Live Oak course hosted the Jimmy Demaret Junior Classic for the second straight year. The course was designed by Leon Howard and bends through the residential Lakeway neighborhood in Austin. The course features rolling hills with tree-lined fairways and small greens.

Tournament Format: The Jimmy Demaret Junior Classic is a 36-hole stroke play event for players with an active membership with the Texas Junior Golf Alliance. Players ages 12-18 are split into three different divisions: Boys 15-18, Girls 12-18 and Boys 14 & Undaer.  The event is ranked by Junior Golf Scoreboard, Golfweek and has AJGA Performance Stars that will be handed out to the top finishers.

What’s Next: The Legends Junior Tour returns to Montgomery for the Texas Girls’ Invitational at Bentwater Yacht & Country Club’s Weiskopf Course from Feb. 13-15. The Spring Preview is the next stop for the boys as it heads to The Golf Club at Texas A&M from Feb. 27-28.

For more information on the Jimmy Demaret Junior Classic, 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 the Texas Cup Invitational.

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Winter Classic Set for Jan. 16-17

DALLAS – For the eighth straight year, the Winter Classic will be the first event of the Legends Junior Tour season. Since its inception in 2010, the field has proved to be one of the top-ranked LJT events on its schedule.

“The LJT is excited to get back to work with the Winter Classic,” LJT Tournament Director Kevin Porter said. “We will continue to prioritize the health of our players, spectators, volunteers and staff throughout this season. We look forward to starting off this year with another safe and competitive championship at Dallas Athletic Club.”

DAC’s Blue Course will play host for the 12th consecutive year. It was originally designed by Ralph Plummer in 1954. Thirty years later, Jack Nicklaus, who won the 1963 PGA Championship held at DAC, remodeled the course to its current layout. The esteemed 18-hole championship venue has hosted many elite amateur events including the 110th Texas Amateur in 2019, as well as the 2012 Texas Mid-Amateur. The par-72 layout stretches to 6,922 yards.

The 84-player field is divided into three different divisions: Boys 15-18, Girls 12-18 and Boys 14 & Under. Players eligible for the tournament have an active membership with the Texas Junior Golf Alliance and have earned their way into the field by way of the LJT Priority Entry Status.

This year’s Winter Classic boasts another strong cast of competitors across all three divisions. Trenton Mierl of Austin and Connor Adams of Dallas highlight the Boys 15-18 Division. Mierl played last season in the Boys 14 & Under Division and finished second in the Player of the Year Standings. He won three times, including last year’s Winter Classic, and recorded top-10 finishes in all nine events he played. Adams, who is playing his final LJT season, closed out 2020 with three straight top-5 finishes, including a win at the James A. Ragan Memorial. Mierl and Adams will tee it up against a host of great players, including Trevor Mierl of Austin, Preston Stout of Richardson and Andrew Petruzzelli of Dallas.

In the Girls 12-18 Division, two players who won last season are in the field. Natalie Cao of Sugar Land won the Flodder Financial Shootout, while Farah O’Keefe of Austin won the Lanny Wadkins Junior Championship. Maelynn Kim of Katy, Mimi Burton of Austin, Jiyu Han of Cedar Park, Jenna Madden of McKinney and Sophie Biediger of Dallas are also players to watch and all finished in the top-12 of the 2020 Player of the Year Standings. This year, four out-of-state junior girls gained entry into the field through their national rankings and will compete in an LJT event for the first time.

In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Rhett O’Rear of Plano will look to start his 2021 campaign right where he left off last fall. The 2025 high school graduate earned last year’s Boys 14 & Under Player of the Year honors and won twice. He registered nine top-10s and never finished worse than T11.

“The Winter Classic usually has a strong field as players are looking to get back into competition following a brief break over the holidays,” Porter said. “This year’s field is no different and will be a great way to start the 2021 season.”

Last year, Ethan Fang of Plano carded back-to-back rounds of 3-under-par 69 to run away with the Boys 15-18 title and win by seven strokes. Kaylee Vesley of Austin, who currently plays for the University of Oklahoma, won the Girls 12-18 Division with rounds of 71-78, while Trenton Mierl of Austin clinched the Boys 14 & Under Division by one stroke. Other past champions include Brad Dalke, Cole Hammer, Brandon Smith, Annika Clark, Hailey Jones, Grace Choi and Sadie Englemann.

The Winter Classic is the first of 10 open LJT events. The open events are available to any member of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance, which is made up of the TGA, NTPGA, STPGA and HGA. Players earn entry into the open events through their play on the LJT and in Texas Junior Golf Alliance events.

Tee times begin Saturday, Jan. 16, at 8 a.m. The final round takes place on Sunday, Jan. 17. For more information on the Winter Classic or the LJT, click here.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Steve Suhey

Steve Suhey’s father introduced him to the game of golf when he was 6 years old in 1956. They spent Sunday evenings looping the nearby course in central Pennsylvania. Today, Suhey continues to create lasting memories on golf courses more than 1,500 miles away from where he grew up and learned to play.

“I love the challenge of golf throughout your lifetime,” Suhey said. “It’s a game you can play your whole life, and as you grow older you face new challenges. I’ve really enjoyed that.”

In 1982, Suhey and his wife, Louise, moved to Texas. The avid amateur golfer played in competitive events across the state, including championships conducted by the Texas Golf Association. He’d always loved and appreciated the Rules of Golf, but it wasn’t until met Marty Javors that he began to get involved as a Rules official.

“In the late 1980s, I met Marty, who had been a TGA and USGA Rules official for many years,” Suhey said. “He encouraged me to get involved with the Rules, but because of my businesses and travel schedule, I could never do it. I promised Marty that when I retired I would turn my attention to the Rules and get involved as a Rules official.”

In 2016, Suhey delivered on his promise. Following his retirement as an insurance broker, he attended his first USGA/PGA Rules of Golf Workshop, took his first Rules of Golf exam and volunteered with the TGA.

“When he finally pulled the trigger he didn’t hold back at all,” Javors said. “He’s a very smart guy and learned the Rules very quickly. He loves the game and he’s been a huge help to the golf community in Texas.”

Over the years, Suhey has become one of the most dedicated TGA volunteers. In 2020, he officiated over 40 days at local and statewide men’s, women’s and junior championships.

“As a volunteer, my goal is to help the competitors play by the Rules,” Suhey said. “In order to do that, you have to ask a lot of questions to find out the exact situation and make sure the player knows what his options are.”

Suhey values the interactions he has with players, working with TGA staff and building relationships with other volunteers. His “team-first” mentality has not gone unrecognized by the TGA.

“Steve’s presence makes our championships better and our job as a staff easier,” TGA Tournament Director Ian Davis said. “It doesn’t matter what his assignment is for the day, he is the first one on site and he is the last to leave. Steve is a staunch individual and you can always count on him. He’s always available to stick around for a playoff or help with packing up the equipment when we finish.”

Golf is an ever-evolving game. It teaches lessons on and off the golf course, and Suhey has been a part of unique lessons for so many amateur golfers across the state. Sixty-four years since he touched his first club, Suhey continues to grow from the lessons of golf.

“Because of what golf has given me over the years, this is my way of giving back,” Suhey said. “I learn something at every tournament I officiate and every meeting I attend. And like the game of golf itself, you keep learning and learning and learning and it never stops throughout your life.”

The TGA extends its sincere appreciation to Steve for his efforts in making our championships a success. The work and dedication from all our volunteers allows the TGA to grow and continue to support the game we all love.

To learn more about the TGA Volunteer Program, click here.

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Alamo Shootout Set for Dec. 12-13

SPRING BRANCH – The Alamo Shootout will be played at River Crossing Club from Dec. 12-13.

The first Alamo Shootout was played in 2010, and after a brief hiatus between 2012-16, the only Legends Junior Tour championship played in the San Antonio area returned to the schedule in 2017.

“The Legends Junior Tour really benefits from having great junior golfers from all over the state and the golf courses in San Antonio are some of the best,” LJT Tournament Director Kevin Porter said. “River Crossing Club will be a great test for our players, and the Alamo Shootout has secured a strong field each year since it was put back on the schedule.”

Last year, Jeffrey Zatorski of Houston fired a final round 2-under 70 at Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club’s Live Oak Course. The 2021 University of Texas commit posted 5-under for the championship to capture the Boys Division by one stroke. In the Girls Division, Carrollton’s Symran Shah clinched the victory over Tillie Claggett of The Woodlands on the first sudden-death playoff hole and claim her first LJT win.

The 2020 field includes some of the top LJT players and will be divided into a Boys and Girls Division. Scheduled for 36-holes of individual stroke play, the 84-player field will look to earn exemptions into 2021 LJT championships.

“This is the second year the LJT has moved the Alamo Shootout into December,” Porter said. “Despite the all challenges we faced this year, junior golfers across the state have continued to look for ways to compete. The Legends Junior Tour is proud to give these juniors safe opportunities to play tournament golf.”

River Crossing Club will play host to the Alamo Shootout for the first time.  The 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Larry Hawkins and opened for play in 2001. The oak tree-lined fairways and rolling terrain of the Hill Country create a scenic test of golf for players of all skill levels.

For more information on the Alamo Shootout, click here.

 

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Watts, Nguyen and Shwartz Win at Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational

Mont Belvieu – Kevin Watts wins the Boys 15-18 Division of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational at Eagle Pointe Golf Club. Lauren Nguyen wins the Girls 12-18 Division, while Jason Shwartz wins the Boys 14 & Under Division.

Leaderboard:

Boys 15-18

  1. Kevin Watts 140
  2. Shoichiro Kato 141
  3. Matthew Spaulding 141
  4. Tyler Gardner 143
  5. Will Jordan 145

Girls 12-18

  1. Lauren Nguyen 142
  2. Jiyu Han 150
  3. Julia Vollmer 150
  4. Maelynn Kim 152
  5. Sydney Williams 152

Boys 14 & Under

  1. Jason Shwartz 142
  2. Blake Burt 145
  3. Brooks Harper 145
  4. Charlie Wylie 151
  5. Finn Burkholder 151

Full Leaderboard

Champions: Colleyville’s Watts wins the Boys 15-18 Division by one stroke after posting rounds of 68-72 to get to 2-under overall. This is Watts’ first victory with the Legends Junior Tour as he improved on his runner-up finish at this event in 2019. Katy’s Nguyen won the Girls 12-18 Division after shooting consecutive rounds of even-par 71 at Eagle Pointe Golf Club. She added three more birdies in the final round bringing her total up to six for 36 holes. This is her second victory on the Legends Junior Tour in 2020. Bellaire’s Shwartz picks up his first victory with the LJT after shooting 3-under 68 in the final round. He accumulated seven birdies on Sunday to bring his total up to nine and finished three shots ahead of the field.

Top Finishers: Austin’s Shoichiro Kato and Spring’s Matthew Spaulding finished runner-up in the Boys 15-18 Division. Houston’s Tyler Gardner finished fourth, followed by The Woodlands’ Will Jordan in fifth and Beach City’s Grant Doggett in sixth. Jake Maggert and Preston Rouse tied for seventh in the division. Cedar Park’s Jiyu Han and San Antonio’s Julia Vollmer tied for second in the Girls 12-18 Division, while Katy’s Maelynn Kim and Frisco’s Sydney Williams tied for fourth.  Austin’s Blake Burke and Dallas’ Brooks Harper tied for second in the Boys 14 & Under Division, while Houston’s Charlie Wylie and The Woodlands’ Finn Burkholder finished tied for fourth.

About the Texas Junior Golf Alliance: The Texas Junior Golf Alliance was formed in 2012 and offers junior golfers a clear path to the best tournaments in Texas. The alliance is made up of the Legends Junior Tour, the Southern Texas PGA, the Northern Texas PGA and the Houston Golf Association. The alliance allows players a chance to compete at all levels and to grow their games as they progress.

Weather: Temperatures started in the 60s but stayed in the low 70s throughout the afternoon in Mont Belvieu. The wind picked up on Sunday, staying around 10 miles per hour consistently and gusting upwards of 20 m.p.h.

Golf Course: Eagle Pointe Golf Club opened for play in 1999 and was designed by Rick Forester. The rolling hills and elevation changes make Eagle Pointe very different from most Houston area course. The fairways are surrounded by towering pine trees and the Cherry Point Gully weaves its way through the course, while the Old River is the boundary on several holes. The course stretches out to almost 7,000 yards in the Boys 15-18 Division, 6,500 yards in the Boys 14 & Under Division and 5,900 yards in the Girls 12-18 Division.

What’s next: The Legends Junior Tour season finishes up with the Jackie Burke Cup matches at The Clubs at Houston Oaks on Nov. 14-15. The Jackie Burke Cup features the top players from the LJT Player of the Year Standings competing against each other in 12-player teams based on their locations. The North Team looks to win its seventh straight this year and leads the overall series 8-7 over the South Team.

For more information on the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational, click here.

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Watts, Nguyen and Burkholder Lead Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational

Mont Belvieu – Kevin Watts shoots 3-under 68 at Eagle Pointe Golf Club and leads the Boys 15-18 Division of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational. Lauren Nguyen leads the Girls 12-18 Division at even-par, while Finn Burkholder leads the Boys 14 & Under Division at 1-under.

Leaderboard:

Boys 15-18

  1. Kevin Watts 68
  2. Bryant Hiskey 69
  3. Preston Rouse 69
  4. Shoichiro Kato 70
  5. Two tied 71

Girls 12-18

  1. Lauren Nguyen 71
  2. Maelynn Kim 76
  3. Emily Mu 77
  4. Avery Thompson 77
  5. Chaemin Kim 77

Boys 14 & Under

  1. Finn Burkholder 70
  2. Brooks Harper 71
  3. Blake Burt 72
  4. Jason Schwartz 74
  5. Two Tied 75

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Leaders: Watts is looking to win his first LJT event after finishing second at the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational in 2019. The Dallas native made three birdies and zero bogeys on Saturday to take a one-stroke lead in the Boys 15-18 Division. Nguyen, who is the reigning LJT Girls Player of the Year leads the Girls 12-18 Division after making three birdies and three bogeys in the first round. She finished sixth in last year’s Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational. The Woodlands’ Burkholder started his first round with a double-bogey 7 on No. 1, but settled down making four birdies in his final 17 holes including a bogey-free final nine holes.

In Contention: Trailing Watts in the Boys 15-18 Division are Houston’s Preston Rouse and Bryant Hiskey, who both sit at 2-under 69. Austin’s Shoichiro Kato sits alone in fourth at 1-under, while Van Miller of Katy and Matthew Spaulding of Spring are tied for fifth at even-par. In the Girls 12-18 Division, Katy’s Maelynn Kim trails Nguyen by five strokes after shooting 5-over 76 on Saturday. Five players are tied for third in the division at 6-over. In the Boys 14 & Under Division, Dallas’ Brooks Harper is in second at even-par, followed by Austin’s Blake Burt at 1-over and Bellaire’s Jason Schwartz at 3-over.

Event Format: The Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational is a 36-hole stroke play event with players competing in three divisions: Boys 15-18, Girls 12-18 and Boys 14 & Under. The field was selected using exemptions from Texas Junior Golf Alliance Events throughout the year and through the LJT Player of the Year Standings which players earn points in by competing in Alliance events.

About the Texas Junior Golf Alliance: The Texas Junior Golf Alliance was formed in 2012 and offers junior golfers a clear path to the best tournaments in Texas. The alliance is made up of the Legends Junior Tour, the South Texas PGA, the North Texas PGA and the Houston Golf Association. The alliance allows players a chance to compete at all levels and to grow their games as they progress.

Weather: Temperatures stayed in the mid-60s throughout the day and crept up to 70 degrees on Saturday. Players faced little to no wind in the first round and enjoyed sunshine throughout the afternoon.

Golf Course: Eagle Pointe Golf Club opened for play in 1999 and was designed by Rick Forester. The rolling hills and elevation changes make Eagle Pointe very different from most Houston area course. The fairways are surrounded by towering pine trees and the Cherry Point Gully weaves its way through the course, while the Old River is the boundary on several holes. The course stretches out to almost 7,000 yards in the Boys 15-18 Division, 6,500 yards in the Boys 14 & Under Division and 5,900 yards in the Girls 12-18 Division.

What’s next: The Final Round of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational is scheduled for an 8:00 am start on Sunday, Nov. 1 with tee times going until 12:00 pm off the No. 1 tee. At the conclusion of play on Sunday, the top finishers will be awarded.

What’s at Stake: The event is ranked by Golfweek as well as Junior Golf Scoreboard and players are competing for points towards the LJT Player of the Year Award and a spot on their respective Jackie Burke Cup teams. The Legends Junior Tour Players of the Year will be determined following this weekend.

For more information on the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational, click here.

News



Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational Set for Oct. 31 – Nov. 1

MONT BELVIEU – The Legends Junior Tour will host the second Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational at Eagle Pointe Golf Club in Mont Belvieu from Oct. 31 – Nov. 1.

In 2012, the four most prominent junior golf tours in the state joined forces to create the Texas Junior Golf Alliance. The goal was to give junior golfers greater access to top-tier statewide competition while lessening the burden of travel expenses. The partnership between the TGA’s Legends Junior Tour, Northern Texas PGA, Southern Texas PGA and the Houston Golf Association has been a success.

To add another elite junior golf tournament to the Alliance’s schedule, the LJT hosted the first Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational last year. Now in its second year, the event will welcome one of the strongest fields of the season.

“We were very encouraged about the addition of the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational to our LJT schedule last year,” LJT Tournament Coordinator Adam Schulte said. “This event has welcomed a strong field both years, and we’re excited to crown a new set of champions this weekend.”

Home of the most competitive junior golf in the state, the LJT wanted to increase its Alliance partners’ opportunities for their tournament winners to earn spots in LJT’s elite championships. That’s how the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational field was determined. Winners of select events from the NTPGA, STPGA and HGA’s junior tours received invitations to the tournament as well as players ranked high on the current LJT Player of the Year Points Lists.

Last year, Henry Frizzell of Frisco claimed his second LJT title after consecutive rounds of 3-under-par 68. He totaled 10 birdies and an eagle through 36 holes and recently started his collegiate golf career at Arkansas Tech University.

In the Girls 12-18 Division, Elina Sinz of Katy also picked up her second LJT victory of the 2019 season. She carded back-to-back rounds of even-par 71 to hold off Tillie Claggett by three strokes. Sinz just began her freshman year as a member of the Auburn University Women’s Golf Team.

Daniel Zou of The Woodlands won the Boys 14 & Under Division after posting 8-under-par 134 for the championship. He carded nine birdies and only one bogey en route to a six-shot victory. This year, Zou will look to win a Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational title in the Boys 15-18 Division.

Collectively each year the four organizations provide playing opportunities to more than 6,000 junior boys and girls in 500-plus tournaments. The NTPGA’s All-American Tour and STPGA’s Prestige Tour serve as qualifiers into Legends Junior Tour Invitationals.

“We are always looking for new ways to get juniors into elite competitions,” STPGA Executive Director Thomas Hutton said. “The Alliance has allowed all of us to work together, grow junior golf participation and create opportunities all over Texas.”

The final championship of the season to count toward LJT Player of the Year Standings will feature a field of 84 players. Three divisions compete separately: Boys 15-18, Girls 12-18 and Boys 14 & Under. Matthew Comegys of Plano 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.

The first round begins at 8 a.m. on Oct. 31. Final Round pairings will be redrawn according to first round scores and begin at 8 a.m. the next day.

For more information on the Texas Junior Golf Alliance Invitational, click here.