Thursday, July 13, 2006

Defending Champ Makes His Move at TSO

texas state openDefending champion Kelly Grunewald (Grand Prairie) - trying to win his second straight and third overall Texas State Open title - fired a third-round 63 on Thursday to move into a tie for the lead. First- and second-round leader Martin Flores of Mansfield had a 66 Thursday and matched Grunewald's 54-hole total of 14-under 196 at The Cascades in Tyler.

Full-field scores from the NTPGA

Here is the third-round recap from the NTPGA:

TYLER, Texas – Defending champion, Kelly Grunewald from Grand Prairie, Texas, is no stranger to the position he holds after the third round of the Texas State Open at The Cascades. Grunewald’s 31-32-63 (7-under par) round included nine birdies and a share of the lead heading into the final round. A two-putt birdie on the par 4, 15th hole, was the easiest of the day for Grunewald, as his drive found the putting surface. “Hitting driver on hole #15 today was a ‘no-brainer’ for me with the tees moved forward,” stated Grunewald.

Grunewald, the 2002 and 2005 Texas State Open champion, with a victory tomorrow, would become only the third player in history to claim the Texas State Open title three times. He would join a short list, which includes PGA TOUR greats, Ben Crenshaw and Jeff Maggert, the only two players to achieve this accomplishment. When asked about his feelings of being added to this list, Grunewald said, “Just to be mentioned in the same sentence as those two players would be unbelievable. I played with Jeff Maggert a few times on the PGA TOUR, and Ben Crenshaw has always been an idol of mine.”

Tied with Grunewald is second round leader, Martin Flores from Mansfield, Texas. Flores birdied both par threes on the front nine to go out in 34, and added a string of birdies on holes #13, #14 and #15 to finish the day 34-32-66 (4-under par). Both Grunewald and Flores sit atop the field with a 54-hole total of 196 (14-under par).

Martin Piller, an amateur from Duncanville, Texas and member of the Texas A&M University men’s golf team has put himself in position to become only the second amateur ever to win the Texas State Open. Homero Blancos won the first Texas State Open in 1960 as an amateur. Piller’s third round 32-33-65 (5-under par) puts him at a 54-hole total of 198 (12-under par).

The 72-hole stroke play event consists of 156 contestants comprised of 24 amateurs and 134 professionals. 60 players made the cut at 142 (2-over par). Of the 60 players to make the cut, six are amateurs. All four rounds will be contested at The Cascades a 6,868 yard, par 70 layout located in Tyler, Texas. The total purse is $125,275, with $22,500 awarded to the champion.

Round four will commence at 8 a.m. on Friday.

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