Monday, December 31, 2007

Down at the Ol' Pea Patch ...Make That the New Patch

The Beaumont newspaper had a nice story recently about The Patch golf course in Groves and the two childhood friends who bought it, fixed it up and reopened it.

The course used to be named Port Groves Golf Club, but locals had always referred to it as "the old pea patch" because of its often questionable conditions. But Brad Bailey and Dwayne Romero always had plans for the 9-holer, the Beaumont Enterprise reports:

"I was a pitcher, and Dwayne was a catcher through the youth leagues and on the Port Neches-Groves baseball team," said Bailey, now 42 and also mayor of Groves. "We used to say that when we won the lottery, we were going to buy the Pea Patch and fix it up."

Well, Bailey and Romero, now a real estate developer in Aspen, Colo., haven't won the lottery, but they have bought the Pea Patch, and boy, have they ever fixed it up.

"In March of '06 when I was in Aspen on a skiing trip, Dwayne and I were sitting around sipping on coffee, and he said, 'What do you think about us making a run at the Pea Patch?'" said Bailey. "Over the years, he and I had purchased some properties together, so we decided to take a stab at this one.

"We sent a letter and a check for $35,000 to the Doornbos family as earnest money, and we eventually wound up putting together an agreement."

While closure on the deal didn't take place until months later, work on the course and the clubhouse actually began soon after it closed.

"It was almost sad to see the course the way it had deteriorated," said Bailey. "There was still a lot of hurricane damage, and it needed an enormous cleanup.

"We took out seven or eight trees; we planted 25-to-50 new trees; we pruned dozens of other trees. We started cutting the grass and weeds back to a manageable level.

"We put in 11 new tee boxes; we re-sodded all of the greens, and all of the greens and tee boxes are now fully irrigated by well water. We enlarged the putting green to 4,400 square feet - before, if more than three or four golfers tried to putt at one time, they were rubbing elbows with each other.

"We dug in three new ponds, and we enlarged another. We put in a covered scoreboard area with tables and chairs. It's what I call the fussin' and cussin' corner for the guys when they're getting their games organized and for when they're settling up after the games. And there's a covered patio out back with tables, chairs and a television."

By "we," Bailey meant himself, hired workers and, most importantly, dozens upon dozens of volunteer workers. By all means, The Patch is the result of a total community effort.


Bailey goes on to describe the work in more detail, and gives a shoutout to golf course personnel in Beaumont and Port Arthur who helped Bailey and Romero out in the project:

"I also want to stress the cooperation we received from George Brown of Aquila Golf, who sold us 25 golf carts and how wonderful Clint Martin (the professional at Bayou Din Golf Club) and Ed Campbell (the pro at Babe Zaharias Memorial Golf Course) have been in giving us pointers," said Bailey. "Also, Bryan Jackson, who is a Class A superintendent (now at Belle Oaks Golf Club), was most helpful as a consultant for our green work."


Read the full story.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

UT Golf Club Clubhouse Destroyed by Fire

(Photo by Karen Phillips/KVUE)


The new, $8 million clubhouse at the University of Texas Golf Club was nearly complete and two months away from its grand opening. But on Wednesday, most of that clubhouse was destroyed when fire broke out, was whipped up by high winds, and consumed the structure.

According to the Austin American-Stateman report, the clubhouse was 70-percent complete and due to be 22,000 square feet in size. Thirty-mph winds pushed the fire, which was first spotted on the roof, quickly through the entire building. No other buildings were affected by the fire, which, because of the winds, took firefighters about 90 minutes to bring under control.

Firefighters said the building is a total loss.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Mabank's Adrienne Gautreaux on Next "Big Break"

adrienne gautreaux - big break kaanapaliTexas will have a representative on the next "Big Break" series on the Golf Channel. Adrienne Gautreaux, who was born in Dallas and raised in Mabank, will take her golf game and her very thick, very wonderful Texas twang to the airwaves beginning in the spring on "Big Break: Kaanapali."

At Mabank High School, Gautreaux was the four-time MVP of the golf team, and also found time to play on the basketball, tennis and track teams, plus serve on student council, on the school newspaper staff, and earn her way into the Beta Club and Honor Society.

Adrienne started her college career at Sam Houston State, where she was the MVP of the women's golf team in 2000. She later transferred to, and graduated from, the University of South Carolina. She posted one collegiate victory and in 2004 was a member of the All-SEC team.

Gautreaux turned pro in 2004 and has spent all or part of the past four seasons on the Futures Tour. Her best so far was 2005, when she played in 18 tournaments and made 11 cuts, including her best finish to date, a tie for fourth. Adrienne was 51st on the money list that year. She was runnerup in the 2006 Texas Women's Open.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

TGA Expanding Statewide League Play in 2008

News from the Texas Golf Association:

Dallas, TX -- The Texas Golf Association is pleased to announce new, exciting changes for Statewide League Play for 2008. League Play was started by the TGA in 2006 with a single conference of 8 teams in the D/FW area. In its second year League Play grew to 28 teams in 5 conferences in Dallas (3), Houston (1), and Austin (1). The TGA expects League Play to continue to grow and hopes to add conferences in new regions throughout the state. Male golfers from TGA Member Clubs (ages 21 and older) from all skill levels are encouraged to enter a team and participate in this unique and exciting team event.

New for 2008, there will be both a spring and fall season. The spring season will be played on Thursday afternoons from March 6th through May 8th, with the finals being played May 22-23 at The Hyatt Lost Pines Resort in Bastrop, TX. The entry deadline for the spring season is February 13th with an entry fee of $500 per team (visit www.txga.org to print an official entry form). The fall season will be played from August 28th through October 30th, with the finals being played November 13-14. If a club chooses to enter a team for both seasons, and does so by the February 13th deadline, the entry fee is reduced to only $900 per team.

League Play is offered to all TGA member clubs for 2008. However, a minimum of 4 teams from a specific geographic region is required to establish a new conference. League play gives male amateur golfers the opportunity to play competitive rounds in a team atmosphere on quality golf courses, while building friendships and camaraderie with fellow club members. Players receive their full handicaps as reported on the GHIN handicap system.

In League Play, a team of (8) eight players square off against another team within their conference in 4 separate Four Ball matches and 8 Singles matches, simultaneously. Matches are scheduled for Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. The winner is the team that accumulates the most points in the overall match. At the end of the season the conference winners will advance to the statewide playoff matches to be conducted on neutral sites. For a complete explanation of the League Rules visit the TGA official website.

The entry deadline for the spring season is fast approaching. For more information please see the League Play homepage, under "Championships" on www.txga.org or contact the TGA office at (214) 468-8942.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Midland Pair Wins Texas Team Challenge

Midland golfers Brian McKinley and Steven Young teamed up to take the trophy at the TaylorMade-adidas Texas Team Challenge, played recently at the Hyatt Hill Country Resort in San Antonio.

The tournament features twosomes of golf professionals from both the Northern Texas PGA and Southern Texas PGA.

McKinley and Young posted rounds of 67-64, good for a 13-under 131 total. But they were forced to a playoff by the Benbrook team of Michael Henderson and Troy Denton before being crowned champions.

Philip Bleakney and Vince Jewell of Dallas finished third.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Houston's Altemus Heads STPGA Award Winners

The Southern Texas PGA has announced its award winners for 2007, with David Altemus - director of golf at Royal Oaks Country Club in Houston - being named Golf Professional of the Year.

What follows is the news release from the STPGA. It's rather lengthy, but everyone gets their due ...

David Altemus, the director of golf at Houston’s Royal Oaks Country Club, has been named the Southern Texas PGA’s 2007 Golf Professional of the Year. Altemus is the 40th winner of the STPGA’s highest honor.

The first STPGA Golf Professional of the Year award went to the late Hardy Loudermilk, shortly after the STPGA’s creation in 1968. The winner of the award is chosen on the basis of his or her overall performance as a golf professional, level of service to the STPGA and to the Association, leadership, image and ability to inspire fellow professionals and other criteria.

“Obviously, this is one of the best honors you, as a Southern Texas PGA golf professional, can receive,” said Altemus, 37 years old and one of the youngest winners in the history of the award. “Just being nominated was a surprise, but to win the award is a real honor.”

Altemus, who has also been named the STPGA’s 2007 Eastern Chapter Merchandiser of the Year, has been a member of the PGA of America since 1996. He achieved that status when he was an assistant professional in Pennsylvania. He began his career in the northeast in 1993 and relocated to Texas to take an assistant professional position at the Golf Club at Cinco Ranch in Katy in 1997. Altemus became the head golf professional at Royal Oaks, then under construction, in 1999 and became the club’s director of golf in 2004.

Altemus was promoted to his current position when Paul Levy, the vice-president of club operations for Sunrise Colony Company, left Royal Oaks to relocate to the management company’s Toscana Country Club, where he serves as general manager and chief executive officer. Levy served as the STPGA’s president in 1999 and 2000 and was its Golf Professional of the Year in 2000

“I owe a lot to Paul Levy. He’s the one who brought me to Texas and Cinco Ranch, and he got me involved in the Southern Texas PGA’s leadership,” said Altemus, who was elected to the Section’s Board of Directors three years ago. Altemus is currently serving as president of the STPGA’s Eastern Chapter.

“My involvement in the Southern Texas PGA is, I’m sure, why I received this year’s Golf Professional of the Year award,” Altemus said. “I’ve tried to dedicate myself to helping the STPGA get better and to helping our professionals improve themselves. My passion really is helping make the game of golf better . . . I love what I do and I thank God every day that I do what I do for a living.”

Altemus has previously been recognized as the STPGA Merchandiser of the Year (in 2004) and was four times honored as the Section’s Eastern Chapter Merchandiser of the Year. (prior to 2007). He was the Eastern Chapter Golf Professional of the Year for 2006.

Altemus and his fellow 2007 STPGA award winners will be formally presented with their honors during the STPGA’s 2008 President’s Dinner, to be held Feb. 17 at San Antonio Country Club.

The bi-annual Dick Forester Quarter Century Award is presented to a professional who, in addition to having been a PGA member for 25 years, has “has promoted golf, inspired fellow professionals, provided leadership and service to the Section and the Association.” The winner of the award for 2007 is Bob Putt. The general manager and chief operating officer at Columbia Lakes Resort and a Life Member of the PGA, Putt was the 1993-94 president of the Southern Texas PGA and was twice honored, in 1979 and 1993, as the Section’s Golf Professional of the Year. He was the PGA’s National Merchandiser of the Year (Resort Facilities) in 1980. Putt was the first PGA Professional in Texas to earn “Master Professional”— he achieved that status in 1988.

Marty Fleckman, the director of instruction at Blackhorse Golf Club, is the STPGA’s 2007 Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year. A PGA member since 1976, Fleckman was honored as the STPGA’s Eastern Chapter 2006 Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year, is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame. Fleckman played on three University of Houston national champion golf teams and was the 1965 NCAA individual national champion.

The 2007 STPGA Junior Golf Leader, present to a member who focuses his or her efforts on support of junior golf throughout the region, is Kevin Kirk, the director of instruction at the Cypresswood School of Golf in Spring.

The STPGA presents a pair of annual awards that are dedicated to the internal support of PGA member activities and operations within the Southern Texas PGA Section. The STPGA Horton Smith Award is given to recognize outstanding and continuing contributions to improving educational opportunities for PGA members— Alan Wooley, a member of the PGA of America Board of Directors and a past president of the Southern Texas PGA, is the recipient of that award for 2007. Wooley is the director of golf at The Club at Waterford in Austin.

Steve Termeer, the director of golf at The University of Texas Golf Club in Austin, is the 2007 STPGA Bill Strausbaugh Award winner. The award honors members who devote special effort toward club relations and building the image of the game of golf and the golf professional.

Merchandising plays an increasingly vital role in the careers of successful PGA professionals, and the STPGA honors three golf professionals annually for their efforts in that arena. The 2007 STPGA Merchandisers of the Year are: Susie Womack, director of golf at Hyatt Hill Country Golf Club in San Antonio (Resort Facility); Steve Termeer, director of golf at The University of Texas Golf Club in Austin (Private Facility); and Russell Roten, head golf professional at Blackhorse Golf Club in Cypress (Public Facility).

Aaron Chilek, an assistant professional at Austin Country Club, is the 2007 STPGA Assistant Professional of the Year. Chilek has been in the golf business since 1997 and was elected to PGA of America membership in May 2007. He was recognized as one of the “Top 25 Assistant Golf Professionals in the Nation” in Golf Digest’s “Golf Shop 2006 Yearbook.”

The STPGA President’s Plaque Award is given to a member who has provided significant leadership contributions through mentoring and sharing with other PGA Professionals about “Play Golf America” and growing the game of golf, and who is a member of the PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game. Will Borowski, director of instruction at The Club at Cimarron in Mission, is the 2007 honoree in that category.

In addition to the STPGA member awards described above, the Section also presents a number of awards for significant contributions in areas related to the STPGA’s work and functions.

Houston’s Gill Barnett, who represents five companies (Calvin Klein, Club Glove, Bushnell, US Kids and Heritage Creations) in southern Texas, is the STPGA Golf Sales Representative of the Year for 2007. The award is presented to a golf industry salesperson who is actively engaged in the promotion of golf and the support of STPGA golf professionals.

The 2007 STPGA Amateur of the Year is Stacy Lewis of The Woodlands. The annual honor recognizes amateurs whose conduct exemplifies professional ethics at the amateur level.

The STPGA recognizes two junior golfers each year for their strong character, sportsmanship and regard for the ideals upon which golf is based. The 2007 STPGA Junior Golfer of the Year honorees are Caitlin Bliss of Katy and Brenden Redfern of Austin.

The STPGA Media/Public Relations Award recognizes members of the media for their exemplary support and promotion of the game and the PGA professional. Austin’s Ed Clements, is broadcaster with KLBJ-AM, receives that honor for 2007.

Southern Texas PGA Special Service Awards are presented periodically to “friends of the STPGA whose exceptional efforts and donations to golf have not gone unnoticed.” Mary Carriker, director of The First Tee of San Antonio since 2002, is the recipient of a 2007 STPGA Special Service Award.

Each of the Southern Texas PGA’s three Chapters selects its own slate of award winners annually. For 2007, the recipients of those award winners are as follows.

Eastern Chapter: Golf Professional of the Year and Merchandiser of the Year, Jeff Strong, head golf professional at Eagle Pointe Golf Club in Mont Belvieu; Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year, Chris Rowe, head golf professional at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity; Junior Golf Leader, Jennifer Burdette, teaching professional at Blackhorse Golf Club in Cypress; and Merchandiser of the Year, David Altemus, director of golf at Houston’s Royal Oaks Country Club.

Southern Chapter: Golf Professional of the Year, Bruce Haddad, head golf professional at the Kings Crossing Country Club in Corpus Christi; Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year and Junior Golf Leader, Will Borowski, director of instruction at The Club at Cimarron in Mission; and Merchandiser of the Year, Doug DeSive, head golf professional at Corpus Christi Country Club.

Western Chapter: Golf Professional of the Year, Chip Gist, director of golf at The Golf Club at Circle C in Austin; Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year, Tim Hobby, director of instruction at The Club at Sonterra in San Antonio; Junior Golf Leader, Wes Skaggs, head golf professional at Leander’s Crystal Falls Golf Club; and, Merchandiser of the Year, Garry Rippy, the owner of Golf . . . Austin Style.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Plaudits for El Paso's Butterfield Trail

Butterfield Trail Golf Club in El Paso, owned by the city's Department of Aviation and designed by Tom Fazio, has earned recognition from Golf magazine as one of the "Top 10 New Courses You Can Play" in the magazine's Jan. 2008 issue.

Butterfield Trail is No. 2 on the list, trailing only Chambers Bay Golf Course in Washington on the publication's ranking of the 10 best new tracks open to the public.

Golf says of the El Paso course:

Tom Fazio is known for his sylized, flawlessly landscaped, big-budget designs that are as polished as a Beverly Hills trophy wife. At Butterfield Trail, not far from El Paso International Airport, each hole is named for a different Stagecoach stop on the 2,800-mile Missouri-to-San Francisco trail used by the Butterfield Overland Mail Company from 1858 to 1861. The fairways are wide enough to accommodate shots in the roaring west Texas winds, but there are sufficient strategic options to keep you interested. The Trail's final stop is its finest, a classic gambler's par-5 of 566 yards that buttonhooks to the right around a lake. If you want an on-time arrival at the green, your approach had better be letter-perfect.


Back in February we wrote about Butterfield trail here, in a post that included several photos.

Golf Digest has its annual rankings, too, in its Jan. 2008, issue, and Hal Sutton's Boot Ranch in Fredericksburg was named No. 10 on GD's ranking of the Best New Private Courses.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

This and That

Here and there, hither and yon ... in other words, a few notes:


  • The Western Refining All-America Golf Classic in El Paso has been one of the top tournaments in the country for male collegiate golfers for decades. It's even been called "the Masters of College Golf." But now its future looks bleak:


    It's been a late fall tradition that 30 of the nation's top male college golfers have looked forward to for 33 years, but a rule change by the NCAA may make the most recent showcase in November the last.

    The NCAA eliminated the board responsible for deciding what college sporting events would be exempt from a rule that limits the number of playing days for student athletes. The El Paso tournament had previously been an exempt event for golfers.

    For the golfers, the change means that they may have to choose between the El Paso tournament, a sort of all-star event, and regular-season team events that help their teams earn a shot at the national championship.

    "One of my fondest memories as a college player was to be able to play in that tournament," said Buddy Alexander, the men's golf coach at Florida. "It's a travesty."


  • The Valero Texas Open is the biggest fund-raiser on the PGA Tour. What does that mean to the local community? From the San Antonio Business Journal:

    ... more than 50 San Antonio-area children's charities have now received a share of $1.5 million from the record-breaking $8 million generated during this year's Texas Open and the Valero Benefit for Children Golf Classic.

    ...

    Golf San Antonio, the longtime organizer of the Valero Texas Open, raised more than $2 million. That money will also benefit a number of area schools and community groups in and around San Antonio.

    ...

    The list of recipients includes Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Texas, the Children's Shelter of San Antonio, Healy Murphy Center, Slam Dunk for Life and the Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children.

    The $1.5 million represents the San Antonio area's share of the $8 million total.

    The remaining funds will be distributed to children's charities throughout the areas where Valero does business.

    In addition, Valero Texas Open organizer Golf San Antonio will award more than $2 million to 200-plus not-for-profit organizations and area schools through its Pro-Am events Birdies for Charity program and Chip In for Schools.


  • Want to buy a Texas golf course? A company, called Fairway Advisors, that specializes in brokering sales of golf courses has two for sale. One is Los Rios Country Club in Plano (view listing), the other is The Shores Country Club in Rockwall (view listing).

    And if you have several million dollars lying around and wind up purchasing one of these courses, just remember: Bogey plays free!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Kelli Kuehne Earns Back LPGA Tour Card

Congratulations to Kelli Kuehne on her fourth-place finish at the Final Stage of LPGA Tour Q-School on Sunday. Kuehne regained her fully exempt status on the LPGA Tour. She was in great position the first three rounds, then stumbled a bit in the fourth round with a 76. But she rebounded with a superb 67 in the pressure-packed final round, becoming one of the 17 players to earn cards for 2008.

Full Results

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Could the Texas Open Be Moving Sooner Than Expected?

The PGA Tour's Texas Open will definitely be moving within the next 4-5 years. It will move in location, from San Antonio's La Cantera Resort Course to the new TPC San Antonio courses currently under construction. And the tournament will move on the PGA Tour schedule, from its current position in the Fall Series to a more prominent date in the spring.

It's been expected that the course change would happen first, followed by the date change, with both being accomplished by 2012.

But in his column in the San Antonio Express-News recently, Richard Oliver dropped hints that at least one of those moves may come sooner than expected:

... there are increasing indications that the city's PGA Tour event, the Valero Texas Open, is in line to move out of the Fall Series and into the FedEx Cup portion of the spring schedule sooner than originally projected.

The popular theory has had the tournament, slated to relocate to its new TPC San Antonio home by 2010, making the shift on the calendar in 2012. That's when the PGA Tour's current television contracts expire, and new deals usually spur newly shuffled dates.

But several factors have stoked speculation that tour commissioner Tim Finchem is poised to reward the event by making the change sooner. Among them are the Open's remarkable ascension to the top spot in charitable giving and its durable association with Valero. Then there was the memorable final-round duel between Jesper Parnevik and Justin Leonard last month in the Open's inaugural Fall Series slot, arguably the most compelling tournament finish of any this season.

"Frankly," Finchem told Sports Illustrated last month, "I'm not sure what more you can ask from a tournament."


As Oliver pointed out, the Texas Open - despite its lackluster spot on the schedule and generally lackluster fields - has led all Tour events the past couple years in money raised for charity. The past two years the tournament has set new Tour records in that department, this year topping the $7 million mark. That's why the Tour might "reward" the tournament.

The PGA Tour needs sponsors like Valero involved, and needs to keep them happy because they do such a great job with the tournament.

On the other end of the scale, you have a tournament such as the PODS Championship, the Tampa, Fla., tournament played in March. Yesterday it was announced that PODS was withdrawing as title sponsor after the 2008 tournament. A press release from the PGA Tour included the tidbit that the PODS Championship this year raised $1.2 million for charity.

Hmmm, let's see, the Texas Open, with a lousy spot on the schedule and a weaker field, raised $7 million. The PODS Championship, with a much better place on the schedule and a stronger field, raised $1.2 million. And the PODS Championship is losing its title sponsor after 2008.

Can you see the Texas Open moving into the PODS Championship's March schedule slot in 2009? I bet Tim Finchem can see it.

Honoring Pat Summerall, Raising Money for Junior Golf

The Northern Texas PGA held its Ewing Charity Classic recently at Northwood Club in Dallas. The tournament is a fund-raiser for the NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation, and this year it also served to honor Pat Summerall (pictured), the longtime CBS broadcaster and DFW resident.

If you're anywhere around my age, from, say, 10 years younger than me to about 20 years older than me, you grew up listening to Summerall. He was probably best known to the general sporting public for his work on NFL games, where in his later years with CBS he teamed with John Madden. But I thought Summerall's best work was on golf, where his understated style was a perfect fit for The Masters and the rest of the CBS golf schedule. The team of Summerall and Ken Venturi will always be, for me, the measuring stick of other golf broadcast teams (and none of current teams comes close to measuring up ... but maybe I'm just an old codger).

The combination of supporting junior golf while honoring the very popular Summerall attracted a stellar field of pros to the pro-am, including Lanny Wadkins, Anthony Kim, Tommy Armour III, Brandt Jobe, Bruce Lietzke and Heather Young (nee Heather Bowie).

Two pros - a touring pro and a club pro - teams with three amateurs on each team. The three amateurs played one low net, while the two pros per team played a modified alternate stroke format. The amateurs' 18-hole total was combined with the pros' 18-hole total for the team's final score.

Here are the Top 3 teams (pro score listed first):

  • David Reel (a), Andy Fleck (a), Mark Hollingsworth (a), Lanny Wadkins/Gordon Johnson - 67-59--126
  • Jeff Heller (a), Jason Freeman (a), Stuart Reeves (a), Brad Ott/Cameron Doan - 69-61--130
  • Ronnie Pruitt (a), Daren Lesley (a), Greg Potter (a), Anthony Kim/Bob Elliott - 71-62--133


Full Results (.pdf file)

The tournament raised nearly $200,000 for the NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

San Antonio's La Cantera Sold

The Westin La Cantera Resort, one of the top resort properties in Texas and home to the PGA Tour Texas Open, has been sold, the San Antonio Express-News reported. Gaylord Entertainment Company, which owns the Grand Ole Opry plus the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, among other properties, purchased La Cantera from a subsidiary of insurance giant USAA for around $250 million.

And Gaylord plans to add onto the property, including doubling the number of hotel rooms available - a further investment of around $250 million.

A Gaylord spokesperson said no changes are planned to the golf operation, and no additional courses are planned. Troon Golf has always managed La Cantera's two tracks (the Resort Course and the Palmer Course), and done a great job at it. No reason to think that will change.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post-Thanksgiving Notebook

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend, and managed to work in some golf in order to work off some of that Thanksgiving gluttony. Catching up on a few items:

  • The golf course at The Club at ConCan has gotten some great reviews, and if you've been meaning to make you way out there here's a great opportunity: the Golfer's Guide Gifts for Kids Annual Christmas Golf Tournament on Saturday, Dec. 8. The tourney benefits the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the course and resort have a special 3-day package (Dec. 7-9) available to golfers who are playing.

    That package costs $299, which includes golf on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, lodging and select dining (non-golfing guests of the golfer cost $175).

    Call 830-232-6625 or 888-926-6226 for more info or to get registered.

  • A reader lets us know that it appears as if Quail Run in La Vernia is closed again. The course shut down for a few weeks early this year, but re-opened in February. Our reader reports that he "went by last weekend and then again today ... all the new carts they bought about two months ago are nowhere to be found. Everything is locked up tight." And adds, "Sadly, the course never recovered from the first closing early in the year ... greens were in sad shape, mostly bare of any grass."

    Perhaps it's finally the end to the long, sad saga of Quail Run, a course whose setting and layout always gave it great potential, but that was always plagued by money problems and terrible condition issues.

  • The 2008 PGA Tour schedule is out. Here are the dates for the Texas tour stops next year:

    • April 3-6: Shell Houston Open
    • April 24-27: EDS Byron Nelson Championship
    • May 22-25: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial
    • Oct. 9-12: Valero Texas Open


  • Earlier this month the Texas Golf Foundation held a "Champions for Champions" dinner to honor all the Texans who won USGA championships during the year. The USGA's South Region Director of Regional Affairs, Alli Jarrett, wrote about the dinner on the USGA blog.

    One of the things she said that bears repeating is this:

    It is amazing that currently seven USGA trophies are being held in the state of Texas:

    • U.S. Amateur Public Links – Colt Knost
    • U.S. Junior Amateur – Cory Whitsett
    • U.S. Amateur – Colt Knost
    • Walker Cup – Colt Knost and Trip Kuehne
    • USGA Senior Women’s – Anna Schultz
    • USGA Men’s State Team – Trip Kuehne, Jonathan Mathias and Terrence Miskell
    • U.S. Mid-Amateur – Trip Kuehne



    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Country Music Star Plans Benefit Tourney

    Multi-platinum country music star Clay Walker (pictured) has a charity called Band Against MS that is "committed to providing educational information for those living with Multiple Sclerosis, funding programs researching a cure for Multiple Sclerosis, and funding programs helping those living with the disease." Walker has multiple sclerosis.

    Walker recently announced the establishment of a golf tournament to help raise funds and awareness for the fight against MS. The tournament will be called the Clay Walker Charity Classic and will take place March 16-17, 2008, at The Woodlands Country Club.

    The tournament is a pro-am, and among the pros will be 28 PGA Tour and Champions Tour players; and among the ams will be music and entertainment celebrities. The conclusion of the tournament will be followed by an awards dinner, charity auction and a private concert featuring Walker and friends.

    For more info, including how you can play the tournament, visit the Band Against MS Web site. Peter Jacobsen Sports will manage the tournament, and you can also visit www.peterjacobsensports.com for info.

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    Austin Named Best Golf City in America

    According to Golf.com (hat tip to Waggle Room), the best golf city in America is Austin. And Dallas ain't too shabby, either, coming in at No. 4:

    10. Rochester, N.Y.
    9. Portland, Ore.
    8. Atlanta
    7. San Jose, Calif.
    6. Seattle
    5. Orlando, Fla.
    4. Dallas
    3. Las Vegas
    2. Columbus, Ohio
    1. Austin

    A couple things to know about this ranking: Golf Magazine only considered the 50 largest cities in the country; and their criteria appears to have relied heavily on a ratio of the average green fee in each city to the city's cost of living; on the number of big-time architects who've designed courses in the city; and on such things as weather and per capita number of courses.

    After the magazine ran the numbers, Austin came out No. 1 and Dallas (DFW, actually) No. 4. San Antonio checked in at No. 13, Houston at No. 27.

    Here's the blurb that appears on the Web site for Dallas:

    No. 4. Dallas, Texas
    Population: 5,950,033
    Median home price: $145,500
    Number of public courses: 107
    Median green fee: $38

    THE GOLF: Dallas is a giant for rich golf history and value play. You could explore the Ben Hogan trophy room at Fort Worth's Colonial Country Club, then check out Lord Byron's memorabilia after your round at the Four Seasons/TPC Las Colinas. Your lore tour can continue for $16, what residents pay at Tenison Park, Lee Trevino's stomping (and hustling) grounds back in the '60s.

    THE REST: There's barbecue, the 'Boys, plenty of golfable winter days — and some great runways in addition to the fairways. Says our favorite Big D resident David Feherty: "Dallas has all the sophistication of a big city and none of the attitude. And if you lose a lot of money betting college football and have to flee, it has the best airport in the country."


    And here's what they say about Austin:

    No. 1. Austin, Texas
    Population: 1,485,922
    Median home price: $176,200
    Number of public courses: 32
    Median green fee: $40

    THE GOLF: Austin, the cultural and economic pride of Texas, is a great city. No surprise there. But the Lone Star State capital is also a great golf city. The best, in fact. It has the nation's best combination of weather, name designs, and affordable, accessible golf. It's home to quality munis like Riverside, where Harvey Penick held court for 34 years; acclaimed resorts like Barton Creek, with two Tom Fazio courses at 68th and 69th on Golf Magazine's Top 100 You Can Play; and dynamite daily fee courses, including Circle C and Cimarron Hills. There are also exclusive courses, like Austin Golf Club, where Ben Crenshaw plays. While summers sizzle, the fall weather is perfect, and you can play virtually year-round.

    THE REST: With its fabled 6th Street, and nearly 100 live venues in the area, Austin is known as the "Live Music Capital of the World." And it's arguably America's 'cue capital, with dozens of mouth-watering rib joints. You can add to those a new title: "The Best Golf City in America."


    The full package is available here.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    Another NTPGA Victory for Larsson

    Dean Larsson is a winner again of a major Northern Texas PGA tournament. Having already won the NTPGA Assistants Championship and the NTPGA Sectional Championship, Larsson capped off his season by winning the Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship Thursday in Dallas.

    Here is the report from the NTPGA:


    DALLAS, Texas– The final match of the Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship featured the #13 seed Jamie Elliott, the director of instruction at Bridlewood Golf Club in Flower Mound, playing the #3 seed Dean Larsson, an assistant golf professional at Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas.

    The final match of the championship came down to the final hole as the match was all square heading to hole #18. Both players played outstanding golf throughout the match as neither player was able to gain more than a 1 up advantage during play. Elliott had the advantage on the 18th hole as his tee shot found the fairway and second shot landed on the green. However, after missing the fairway and green on 18, Larsson was able to hole out his chip shot from 25 feet to force Elliott to make a 15 foot birdie putt to extend the match and his hopes of claiming his third consecutive Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship. Elliott was unable to make his birdie putt and Larsson captured his third NTPGA major championship of the year in dramatic fashion. Larsson’s birdie on hole #18 finished off an impressive back nine in which he made three birdies and an eagle en route to a bogey free 5-under par score of 30. This victory completes an extraordinary year for Larsson as he also claimed the NTPGA Assistants’ and Section Championship.

    The Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship is being contested November 12-14 at Northwood Club in Dallas a 6,868 yard par 71 layout. The top 32 players on the final 2007 Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge were invited to compete in the season-ending major championship. Larsson took home $4,000.00 of the $34,400.00 purse for his victory.


    Finals
    Dean Larsson, Bent Tree Country Club, def. Jamie Elliott, Bridlewood Golf Club, 1-up

    Semifinals
    Elliott def. Larry Bryan, Big Spring Country Club, 6 and 5
    Larsson def. Craig Pullen, Stonebriar Country Club, 5 and 4

    Full Bracket

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    Nationwide Tour Championship Heading to DFW

    TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney is now part of a three-course rotation of host sites for the Nationwide Tour Championship, the season-ending tournament on the Nationwide Tour schedule.

    The addition of TPC Craig Ranch as the host site in 2008 was made by the PGA Tour on Wednesday. The Salesmanship Club of Dallas, which has long been associated with the Byron Nelson Classic, will be the host organization and designated charity.

    TPC Craig Ranch joins The Houstonian in Richmond, plus Barona Creek Golf Club near San Diego, Calif., in the three-course rota. These tracks will share hosting duties for the Nationwide Tour Championship in the forseeable future.

    The 2008 Nationwide Tour Champion at TPC Craig Ranch is scheduled for Nov. 6-9 and will offer the first $1 million purse in Nationwide Tour history.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    San Antonio's Brackenridge Ready for Facelift

    While the Brackenridge Tract in Austin has been getting a lot of attention lately, the Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio has quietly been moving closer to a long-awaited and much-needed renovation.

    John Colligan, the course architect in charge of the renovation, unveiled his plans on Tuesday at the golf course. A total of $4.5 million has been allocated to course work, the San Antonio Express-News reported, and the course will be closed for approximately eight months, beginning in January, while the work takes place.

    The front nine will remain as-in in terms of layout, but more bunkers will be added in the style favored by original architect A.W. Tillinghast (long, flat bunkers with steep faces).

    The back nine at Brack, however, will look much different. Reporter Richard Oliver wrote:

    The back nine, however, will be dramatically recast to match the original design, with No. 10 moved over to just off the No. 9 green and each hole re-routed in some way until No. 18. The latter will be a par-3 with a tee box close to where the 17th fairway is now, ending with a green tucked hard against the clubhouse.

    The most dramatic addition, however, will be the re-introduction of water into the original path of the San Antonio River, flowing under stone bridges that for decades have stood above only ditches and grass.

    At the par-3 10th, for instance, golfers will hit over two bends in the resurrected river to reach a green 190 yards away. The entire course will stretch 6,159 yards from the back tees, not much different than the current length.

    Nearly $2 million more will be dedicated to ancillary - but still exciting - projects, such as the creation of "a new Texas Golf Museum, Texas Golf Walk of Fame and areas to honor the late Tillinghast and other influential headliners from the area's golf past." The studio of sculptor Gutzon Borghlum - creator of Mount Rushmore - sits on the Brackenridge grounds and will get a makeover. Hiking and biking trails will be added around the course's perimeter.

    Full article

    Austin Insider Fears Lions Already Doomed

    Last week, the University of Texas Board of Regents held hearings on what to do with the "Brackenridge Tract," a parcel of land in Austin that includes the Lions Municipal Golf Course.

    Golf writer Jim Apfelbaum (latest book: Golf Unplugged), longtime host of That's Golf! on AM-1300 in Austin, was at that meeting. Afterward, Jim interviewed Mary Arnold, whom he describes as "a longtime activist on behalf of Austin's parks and municipal golf courses - and one of those who spearheaded previous efforts to save Muny." ("Muny," by the way, is Austinites' shorthand for Lions Municipal, which gives you an indication of how beloved the course is.)

    "It's reassuring to know (Mary is) engaged," Apfelbaum said, "but the tone of her
    remarks is certainly disconcerting." He reported that Mary and other Austin golf insiders fear the UT Regents have already made a decision - one that will lead to the doom of Muny.

    You can listen to Jim's interview with Mary, plus a follow-up conversation, on this page. Scroll to the bottom, under the "Interviews" headline, and click on the speaker icons to play.

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Frisco Golfer Wins SPI Texas Senior Open

    The report from the Southern Texas PGA:

    Rick Karbowski of Frisco, Texas, began the final round of the 2007 South Padre Island Texas Senior Open four strokes back of Houston’s Chuck Moran. On a day when the winds were holding at 20 miles per hour and gusting to 35, Karbowski was the only golfer to break par, posting a score of 2-under-par 70 for a 7-under-par total of 209 and a 3-stroke margin over Moran, who took runner-up honors at 64-71-77—212.

    "The course was unbelievably challenging with the wind, but it was fun and I really enjoyed it," said Karbowski, a veteran of the Champions Tour. "And, of course, I was ecstatic to win. This is the first three round tournament I’ve won in Texas."

    Karbowski relocated to Texas from Massachusetts last winter. He is the oldest winner of the New England Open, twice, when he was 48 and 49.

    Karbowski had pulled within 2 shots of Moran by the time the last group reached the turn and within a single stroke when he birdied the 10th hole. Moran, the winner of the 2005 South Padre Island Texas Senior Open and the runner-up last year, suffered bogeys on the 12th and 13th holes, and Karbowski had a one-shot lead.

    When Karbowski birdied the 16th hole and Moran took a bogey, Karbowski was three shots up with just two holes to play and he held on to that margin to win the $14,000 first-place check. Moran took home $10,000 for his three days of work, plus the memory of setting the course record (at South Padre Island Golf Club in Laguna Vista, Texas) of 64 in the first round.

    "It was really nip-and-tuck through most of the round," said Karbowski. "It could have gone either way, but obviously, I felt a little more comfortable when I birdied #16 and Chuck took a bogey."

    Defending champion Danny Edwards of Scottsdale, Ariz., finished in third place with a score of 70-74-72—215, followed by James Blair of Ogden, Utah, in fourth place at 70-72-74—216. Edwards earned $8,000 and Blair $6,000.

    John Adams of Paris, Texas, and Jeff Thomsen of Boise, Id., tied for fifth place at 2-over-par 218 and took home $4,250 each.

    Richard LaPierre of San Antonio took low amateur honors for the second consecutive year, posting a total of 74-76-77—227 for a merchandise certificate valued at $750.

    "I played better last year, but conditions were tougher this year," said LaPierre, who needed seven fewer strokes and a sudden-death playoff victory to take the amateur trophy last year.

    Gary Taylor of Edinburg, Texas, added a highlight to his final round with a hole-in-one on the 12th hole.

    "I didn’t get to see it go in," said Taylor of the 133-yard shot. "The pin was in front and the hole was hidden by brush, but the guys by the green said the ball took one bounce and rolled in."

    Taylor used a 7-iron to make the shot for his third career ace. "The hole was playing into the wind," he said, "and everyone was kidding that I’d made a hole-in-one on that short par 5."

    The year marked the 10th year that South Padre Island Golf Club has hosted the South Padre Island Texas Senior Open.

    Top Finishers
    Rick Karbowski, Frisco, 71-68-70-209
    Chuck Moran, Houston, 64-71-77--212
    Danny Edwards, Scottsdale, AZ, 69-74-72--215
    James Blair, Ogden, UT, 70-72-74--216
    John Adams, Paris, 73-70-75--218
    Jeff Thomsen, Boise, ID, 73-71-74--218
    Full Results

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    Crenshaw Supports Preservation of Austin's Lions Muny

    As we reported last month, Lions Municipal Golf Course in Austin sits on a parcel of land known as the Brackenridge Tract, a parcel of land owned by the University of Texas and a parcel of land that might be redeveloped or sold off. And that puts the future of Lions - known simply as "Muny" to Austinites - in danger.

    Hat tip to Austin American-Statesman blogger Kevin Robbins for pointing out that University of Texas regents held hearings Friday on the future of the Brackenridge Tract.

    Numerous people spoke at the hearings in favor of keeping the tract in the university system, as is; and some were there specifically to support the continuing presence of Lions Municipal.

    Although he didn't speak, University of Texas legend Ben Crenshaw was one of those in attendance.

    The Statesman reported:

    Professional tour player Ben Crenshaw didn't address the regents but signaled his support for Muny, as the course is called, by his presence at the meeting.

    "My brother Charlie and I were raised in West Austin," Crenshaw said in an interview. "We're a proponent of keeping the golf course intact. I think that's the main thing."


    I hope I'm wrong about this, but I suspect Lions will eventually bite the dust. That land is just too prized - and profitable - to remain a golf course.

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Coming Up: Golf Galaxy Tour Texas Open

    The Golf Galaxy Tour is a nationwide tour for amateurs - from scratch golfers to higher handicappers, any golfers interested in friendly competition. The San Antonio chapter is known as the Mission City Golf Tour, and MCGT this year is playing host to the Golf Galaxy Tour Texas Open Championship.

    The GGT Texas Open Championship takes place at Golf Club of Texas in San Antonio Nov. 17-18. "There will be 2 days of golf, camaraderie, food, fun," said San Antonio tour director Tony Vaught (who also is the editor of BunkerShot.com's South Central region).

    Added Vaught: "The Golf Galaxy Tour Texas Open Championship is open to all golfers, just like our tour is structured, who normally shoot 95 or better. We are a real golf tour for the average golfer."

    You might think of this event as a good test run for what's coming in 2008, when Vaught at the Mission City Golf Tour host the Golf Galaxy Tour's national championship tournament in San Antonio.

    Even if you're not a member of the Golf Galaxy Tour, you can play in the Texas Open Championship. Assistant tour director Dave Roberts explained, "For golfers that score in the 90s, 80s or 70s and who are looking for fun, friendly competition, this is a perfect fit. Our tour offers 2-person team formats which are a great way to build camaraderie with friends and other local golfers. There are no mandatory membership fees or dues, you don't need a handicap, tournaments are played on weekends, and it's very affordable. On top of that, you can win great prizes."

    For more info see www.MissionCityGolfTour.com, or drop a line to info@MissionCityGolfTour.com.

    Note: The Golf Galaxy Tour is also looking for a tour director to help run 4-6 tournaments in Austin in 2008. "Requirements include residence in the Austin or surrounding area, good people skills and a passion for the game. Will require on average only a few hours per week and responsibilities include helping at events (but you will still be able to play) and having fun!" If interested, send an email to info@TXGolfTour.com.

    Wednesday, November 07, 2007

    Miskell, Kuehne Share TGA Player of the Year Award

    It's only appropriate that Terrence Miskell and Trip Kuehne are the co-winners of the 2007 Texas Golf Association Player of the Year Award. The two are good friends who frequently partner one another in top team competitions. In fact, this year they partnered one another to victory in the TGA State Four-Ball, and later were teammates on the winning Texas team at the USGA State Team Championships.

    Here's a look at each of the players honored by the TGA (biographical info courtesy of the TGA):

    Players of the Year
    Terrence Miskell, 40, New Braunfels - Won four TGA statewide championships in 2007 (two team, two individual). He and fellow Dos Rios Golf Club members, Ken Lawrence and David Pfeuffer, won the Club Team in March then, two months later, partnered up with Kuehne to take the Four-Ball trophy. Later in the year added the State Public Links and State Mid-Amateur individual titles. Also finished tied for fourth at the Texas Amateur. It is Miskell's third Statewide Player of the Year award in the last four years.

    Trip Kuehne, 35, Irving - In addition to his State Four-Ball triumph with Miskell, Kuehne qualified for the 2007 U.S. Open (his fourth appearance) and U.S. Amateur. Was a member of the USA Walker Cup team that defeated GB&I at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. In September, won his first individual USGA title by capturing the U.S. Mid-Amateur crown at Bandon Dunes in Bend, Oregon.

    Senior Player of the Year
    Tom McGraw, 56, Montgomery - Tied for third in this year's Texas Senior Amateur. Qualified for the 2007 U.S. Senior Open, U.S. Senior Amateur, and U.S. Mid-Amateur. Missed the 36-hole cut in the U.S. Senior Open but made match play in both U.S. Senior and Mid-Amateurs, losing in the second and first rounds respectively.

    North Region Player of the Year
    Rob Couture, 32, Dallas - Finished second in the North Amateur and tied for eighth at the West Texas Amateur. Won the North Mid-Amateur at Texas Star in Euless with rounds of 68-68-73.

    South Region Player of the Year
    Jonathan Mathias, 34, San Antonio - Third consecutive South Regional Player of the Year award for Mathias. Even though he didn't walk away with any regional titles in 2007, was never out of the top five, finishing fifth in the South Four-Ball with partner Randy Lance, third in the South Amateur, and tied for fourth in the South Mid-Amateur.

    Tuesday, November 06, 2007

    NTPGA Rebounds at Jordan Cup

    Last week the Northern Texas PGA lost to its southern rivals from the Southern Texas PGA in the annual Joe Black Cup Matches.

    But this week, the guys from the NTPGA made up for it at the James P. Jordan Cup Matches, an annual competition between the NTPGA and the South Central PGA, the section representing Oklahoma, Arkansas and southern Kansas. And hey, it's much more important to beat those Okies, isn't it?

    The NTPGA didn't just beat the SCPGA, it thrashed its northern and eastern counterpart. In fact, the Jordan Cup matches are still ongoing, but the NTPGA won every match played on Day 1, piling up 12 points to 0 for the SCPGA, and claiming an insurmountable lead.

    That's a whuppin'.

    Here are the individual match results:

    Foursomes
    Jeremy Langdale / K.T. Livingston def. Mike Hansen / Dustin Semsch, 4 & 3
    Jeff Barton / Scott Beezley def. Josh Cook / Brian Ward, 7 & 5
    Sean Sciba / Brandon Immel def. Aaron Kristopeit / Grant Masson, 3 & 2
    Chris Brown / Judd Whiteman def. Charles Jaynes / Mark Tackett, 5 & 4
    Paul Norris / Vince Jewell def. Jonathon Hart / Aaron Speaker, 7 & 5 Chad English / Dean Larsson def. Chad Lamb / Brent Mistler, 5 & 4

    Four-Balls
    Dean Larsson / Brandon Immel def. Mike Hansen / Dustin Semsch, 1-up
    Paul Norris / Jeremy Langdale def. Josh Cook / Brian Ward, 3 & 2
    Vince Jewell / Sean Sciba def. Aaron Kristopeit / Grant Masson, 2 & 1
    Chris Brown / Chad English def. Charles Jaynes / Mark Tackett, 1-up
    Jeff Barton / Judd Whiteman def. Jonathon Hart / Aaron Speaker, 3 & 2
    K.T. Livingston / Scott Beezley def. Chad Lamb / Brent Mistler, 4 & 3

    Did every player on the South Central side have the flu or something?

    Sunday, November 04, 2007

    Are You Sure You Want to Win This Trip?

    So I was browsing the coupon insert in this morning's paper (yes, the Bogester sometimes clips coupons, so sue me!) when I ran across a page featuring Wick Fowler's Famous brand of chili products. And there was a sweepstakes notice that caught my eye.

    The folks at Wick Fowler's are giving away a trip for four to the 2008 Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff. Hey, I love chili and I love West Texas. Where do I register?

    I can register, it turns out, right here. If I win, me and my three traveling companions will stay at the Lajitas Resort.

    And that's what caught my eye. I wonder if the Wick Fowler's people know just how much trouble the Lajitas Resort - with its lush green Randy Russell-Roy Bechtol designed golf course - is in. The sweepstakes winner and his guests might be only the people staying at the resort during their visit. If the resort is even open at that time.

    Just a couple days ago, the San Antonio Express-News had an article about the bankrupt resort going up for auction as a means of paying off creditors.

    The top auction bid was $13.5 million, short of the hoped-for $20 million and just barely enough to pay off the resort's single largest creditor. The resort is now appraised at $16 million by Brewster County, according to the newspaper, even though soon-to-be-ex-owner Stephen Smith of Austin has sunk more than $100 million into it.

    The resort, by all accounts, is a great place. It's just that nobody goes there. Too far out in the middle of nowhere.

    For now the resort remains open, and presumably any new owner wouldn't be buying it just to close it down. They would (again, presumably) keep it open and try to figure out how to make a profit.

    I hope so. Because Wick Fowler owes me some chili and a free trip.

    Friday, November 02, 2007

    Q-School Results from McKinney

    Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney was the site of a PGA Tour Q-School first-stage qualifier that wrapped up today. The Top 26 plus ties advance to the second stage. Here are those golfers who moved on:

    Johan Kok, Peachtree City, GA, 271
    Matt Every, Scottsdale, AZ, 272
    Mario Tiziani, Shorewood, MN, 273
    Jesse Smith, Dover, NH, 276
    Kyle Willmann, Austin, TX, 276
    Chris Thompson, Lawrence, KS, 276
    Julien Trudeau, Tempe, AZ, 278
    Chad Fribley, Tualatin, OR, 279
    Bryan DeCorso, Windermere, FL, 279
    Henrik Bjornstad, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, 280
    Brad Klapprott, Mulberry, FL, 280
    Jeff Martin, Warwick, RI, 281
    Mike Hendry, Rodney District, New Zealand, 281
    Brett Stegmaier, Vero Beach, FL, 281
    Jacob Rogers, Tucson, AZ, 282
    David Diaz, Hixson, TN, 282
    Brad Sutterfield, St George, UT, 282
    Richard Scott, Kingsville, ON, 282
    Antonio Serna, Leon, Guanajuato, MX, 283
    Jon Mansfield, Clearwater, FL, 283
    Marc Leishman, Warrnambool, Victoria, Australia, 284
    Edward Loar, Dallas, TX, 284
    Adrian Wadey, Scottsdale, AZ, 284
    Michael Wellington, St. Louis, MO, 284
    Brian Cooper, Phoenix, AZ, 284
    Brent Winston, Sheridan, AR, 285
    Dustin Mills, Arvada, CO, 285
    J.J. Killeen, Ft. Worth, TX, 285
    Todd Tanner, Sandy, UT, 285

    Get the full results.

    Nicklaus Hits Horseshoe Bay

    There's a new golf course heading to Horseshoe Bay, and it's being designed by Jack Nicklaus. And this is a signature course, so Nicklaus is being very hands-on with the Summit Rock over Skywater track.

    An article from Cybergolf shows just how hands-on Nicklaus is being:

    Nicklaus rode the site in a Range Rover driven by Progeny (the site's construction contactor) principal David Oberle and was followed by a pack of 10 four-wheel-drive mules sporting Horseshoe Bay officials, local politicians and press. The Golden Bear spent almost four and 1/2 hours touring the site, whose holes are roughed-in but mostly rock, grass and - a lot of - dust.

    ...

    From comments overheard between Nicklaus, Oberle and Chet Williams, senior design associate for Nicklaus Design, the master is considering options such as switching the nines of the golf course, eliminating back-to-back doglegs that turn in the same direction, and relocating several greens. "We have four or five holes where we have a little work to do, and we are going to change them a little to minimize the amount of rock work that has to happen," Nicklaus said. "We did change three or four holes around, but not extensively. This is essentially the same routing I did when I was here six years ago."

    Nicklaus called the Skywater site "a nice piece of property," and noted that his team was working to determine the most efficient way to build the golf course. "That is part of my job - to figure out how to build a really good golf course here without breaking the bank book of the owners," Nicklaus said. "Right now we have probably a dozen holes that fit in nicely. There will be a series of memorable holes on this track, that's for sure."


    The article was interesting because it also quoted Nicklaus talking about the challenges of building in the Hill Country, where so much rock makes things very difficult for construction crews and designers. Nicklaus' term for "rocky" is "bony."


    "I think the Hill Country is the Hill Country - it is all bony," Nicklaus said. "You try to figure out how we are going to build a course without moving any more rock than you have to. That was what we were doing today - making sure that the routing was suitable and to give the construction team some strategy. We are going to work our way from there."

    ...

    Nicklaus, who has designed more than 300 courses around the world, has three signature tracks in play within an hour's drive of the Lake Marble Falls Bridge: The Hills of Lakeway's signature course, Cimarron Hills in Georgetown and Cordillera Ranch in Boerne. He also co-designed the Flintrock Falls course at The Hills of Lakeway with his son Jack Nicklaus II.

    Nicklaus said that of those four, The Hills' signature course was closest in the challenges he faces at Skywater. "Cimarron Hills was a very easy golf course to do because we moved very little dirt there, maybe only 50,000 yards," Nicklaus said. "We didn't move very much at Cordillera either, but we did move a lot at Lakeway, but that was a long time ago.

    "We have made a few changes at Lakeway over the years, but that is a course that has always stood the test of time," Nicklaus added. "Lakeway was also a bony piece of property - much like we have here at Skywater."

    Wednesday, October 31, 2007

    STPGA Team Defeats North for Joe Black Cup Victory

    The team of professionals representing the Southern Texas PGA defeated a team from the Northern Texas PGA at Boot Ranch in Frederickburg, evening the all-time won-loss record in the competition, started in 1981, at 13-13-1. Here's the report:


    Holding a 7 to 5 lead over the Northern Texas PGA going into the final day of the 2007 Texas Joe Black Cup Matches at Fredericksburg’s Boot Ranch, the Southern Texas PGA, led by Captain Buddy Cook, needed just five points from the tournament’s 12 singles matches to hold on to the Joe Black Cup. It took only seven matches for the STPGA to reach that total.

    After reeling off victories in the first four matches of the day, the STPGA got its fifth point when Jeff Hunter stormed to a 7&6 win over the NTPGA’s Michael Hurley in the eighth match of the day, guaranteeing the STPGA would retain possession of the Cup.

    “We got off to a fast start and felt pretty secure after the first four singles matches,” said Cook, “and everything turned out great for us.”

    Led by Captain Robert Hoyt, the NTPGA rallied briefly to win the day’s fifth and sixth matches, but when the STPGA’s Matt Trevino closed out Robert McMillan 3&2 in the seventh match on the slate, the STPGA had broken the 12 point barrier to earn an outright win in the tournament.

    By the time all 12 singles matches were complete, the STPGA had a 15-1/2 to 8-1/2 margin of victory. The victory pulled the STPGA even with the NTPGA in the series, which now stands dead even at 13-13-1.

    “Neither team has ever won the tournament four years in a row, so next year, our team will have the chance to make history,” said Cook. The Northern Texas PGA will host the tournament at a site to be determined.

    The Southern Texas PGA won the Cup in 2005 with a 12-1/2 to 11-1/2 victory over the Northern Texas PGA and retained it after the competition resulted in a 12-12 tie in 2006.

    The Texas Joe Black Cup Matches began in 1981 and were named in honor of Joe Black, a native of Snyder, Texas, who was then serving as president of the PGA of America. Black is currently living near Austin.

    The annual competition features teams of professionals from the Southern Texas and Northern Texas Sections of the PGA of America playing in a Ryder Cup-style format. Both of the teams are comprised of nine professionals who earn spots on the teams through yearlong points competitions, a senior representative, a Captain’s pick and the respective presidents of the two Sections.


    And here are the match results:

    Day One
    Four Ball Matches

    • Brad Lardon/Henrik Simonsen, STPGA, def. Ronny Glanton/Michael Henderson, NTPGA; 5&4
    • Carl Cooper/Mike Kullberg, STPGA, def. Larry Bryan/Greg Sikes, NTPGA, 1 up
    • Wes Skaggs/Ken Kelley, STPGA, vs. Billy Harris/Robert McMillan, NTPGA; halved
    • Ken McDonald/Jeff Hunter, STPGA, def. Lindy Miller/Michael Hurley, NTPGA; 1 up
    • Chad Wlliams/Britt Patton, NTPGA, def. Bruce Smith/Jim Dickson, STPGA; 1 up
    • Cameron Doan/Paul Earnets, NTPGA, def. Matt Trevino/David Pilsner, STPGA; 1 up


    Foursome Matches

    • Brad Lardon/Bruce Smith, STPGA, def. Larry Bryan/Greg Sikes, NTPGA; 4&3
    • Ken McDonald/Wes Skaggs, STPGA, def. Billy Harris/Robert McMillan, NTPGA; 7&5
    • Lindy Miller/Michael Hurley, NTPGA, def. Henrik Simonsen/David Pilsner, STPGA; 6&5
    • Chad Williams/Britt Patton, NTPGA, def. Mike Kullberg/Ken Kelley, STPGA; 1 up
    • Carl Cooper/Jim Dickson, STPGA vs. Cameron Doan/Paul Earnest, NTPGA; halved
    • Matt Trevino/Jeff Hunter, STPGA, def. Ronny Glanton/Michael Hunderson, NTPGA; 1 up


    Day Two
    Singles Matches

    • Bruce Smith, STPGA, def. Michael Hendesron, NTPGA; 5&4
    • Ken McDonald, STPGA, def. Paul Earnest, NTPGA; 6&5
    • Wes Skaggs, STPGA, def. Chad Williams, NTPGA; 4&3
    • Brad Lardon, STPGA, def. Cameron Doan, NTPGA; 1 up
    • Ronny Glanton, STPGA, def. David Pilsner, STPGA; 2&1
    • Lindy Miller, NTPGA, def. Jim Dickson, STPGA; 1 up
    • Matt Trevino, STPGA, def. Robert McMillan, NTPGA; 3&2
    • Jeff Hunter, STPGA, def. Michael Hurley, NTPGA; 7&6
    • Ken Kelley, STPGA , def. Britt Patton, NTPGA; 1 up
    • Greg Sikes, NTPGA, def. Mike Kullberg, SPTGA; 4&3
    • Carl Cooper, STPGA, def. Larry Bryan, NTPGA; 3&1
    • Henrik Simonsen, STPGA, halved Billy Harris, NTPGA

    Friday, October 26, 2007

    PGA Tour Qualifying - First Stage

    Two first-stage qualifiers in the PGA Tour Qualifying School process wrapped up play today in Texas. Here are the golfers at each location who advanced to the second stage:

    Lantana Golf Club, Lantana
    Sunghoon Kang, Lewisville, TX, 280
    Madalitso Muthiya, Albuquerque, NM, 281
    Stuart Deane, Arlington, TX, 282
    Michael Connell, Dallas, TX, 283
    Cody Freeman, Grove, OK, 285
    Andrew Dresser, Carrollton, TX, 285
    Mike Wendling, Oklahoma City, OK, 285
    Adam Speirs, Winnipeg, Manitoba, 285
    Shaun Melville, Lubbock, TX, 285
    Brad Lamb, Parkdale, Victoria, Australia, 286
    Chris James, Frisco, TX, 287
    Anders Hultman, Irving, TX, 288
    Jaxon Brigman, Frisco, TX, 288
    Daniel Mitchell, Oklahoma City, OK, 290
    Dustin Risdon, Strathmore, Alberta, 290
    Martin Flores, Mansfield, TX, 290
    Mark Murphy, Kerry, England, 291
    Darren Angel, Northridge, CA, 291
    Jin Park, Phoenix, AZ, 291
    Brandon Knight, Scottsdale, AZ, 291
    Ryan Dillon, Desert Hills, AZ, 291
    Cameron Percy, Dingley Village, South Africa, 291
    Brian Miller, El Cajon, CA, 292
    Brad Gibson, Denton, TX, 293
    Jonathan Novak, Mt. Prospect, IL, 293
    Chris Parra, Dallas, TX, 293
    Will Dodson, Dallas, TX, 293
    Justin Fraley, Rowlett, TX, 293

    Cypresswood Golf Club, Tradition Course, Spring
    Dave Schultz, Fargo, ND, 276
    Brian Duncan, Mt. Pleasant, SC, 277
    Ryan Posey, Dallas, TX, 278
    Brett Callas, Houston, TX, 279
    Matt Brost, Mansfield, TX, 280
    Michael Sims, St. Simons Island, GA, 282
    Greg Sonnier, Lake Charles, LA, 282
    Andrew Bonhomme, Queensland, Australia, 283
    Adam Meyer, Fort Worth, TX, 283
    Corbin King, Round Rock, TX, 284
    Danny King, Milton, Ontario, 284
    Chad Ginn, Alexandria, LA, 284
    Todd Rossetti, Dallas, TX, 284
    Gibby Martens, San Antonio, TX, 284
    Richard Swift, Victoria, TX, 285
    Jay Hobby, Auburn, AL, 285
    James Love, Denver, CO, 286
    Jesse Schulte, Hutchinson, KS, 286
    Jerad Harklau, Dallas, TX, 286
    Ben Willman, Salisbury, England, 286
    Jay Reynolds, Austin, TX, 286
    John Humphries, Baton Rouge, LA, 286
    Andy Connell, Denver, CO, 287
    Aaron Townsend, Telopea, NSW, Australia, 287
    Jason Hill, Rockwall, TX, 288
    Anthony Rodriguez, Spring Branch, TX, 288
    Brad Weesner, Hideaway, TX, 288
    Jeff Burns, San Antonio, TX, 288
    Nico Bollini, Yorba Linda, CA, 288

    The full results of these two qualifiers, plus other first-stage qualifiers currently under way, are available here.

    There's another first-stage qualifier in Texas, Oct. 30-Nov. 2 at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney. Then in mid-November two second-stage qualifiers come to the state, on at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, the other at Deerwood Club in Kingwood.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    Anthony Rodriguez Booted from "Big Break: Mesquite"

    Watching San Antonio native and resident Anthony Rodriguez on The Golf Channel's "Big Break: Mesquite" was like watching a train wreck. You know you shouldn't stare, but you just have to look.

    The whole time I was thinking, "Why does the jerk of the show have to be a Texan?" Anthony certainly didn't represent his state - much less himself - very well, with his petulance, whining, club-throwing, arrogance and all-around jerkiness.

    And that's a shame, because A-Rod (or "A-God," as some of his fellow contestants derisively called him) is one heck of a golfer - much better than he showed in his elimination episode. On a show that required its golfers to actually play golf - as in, playing match play over more than one hole, or playing stroke play over a nine - rather that just requiring them to play one hole, or even just one stroke, at a time, Anthony's golf probably would have shined. On pure talent, he was probably the best golfer on the show.

    I know a few people who know Anthony pretty well, and all universally respect his golf, and all like him personally, although some with reservations. But none were surprised that A-Rod's worst personality traits are what showed up on camera.

    In the end, it turned out that Anthony's best club - in this competition, anyway - was the mouth wedge.

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Trevino Puts Kibosh on Retirement Talk

    Earlier this year, Lee Trevino let slip that he was thinking of 2007 as his final year of competitive golf. Trevino is soon to be 68, and while he's certainly not embarrassing himself in Champions Tour tournaments, he's also no longer competitive at the top of the leaderboard.

    Trevino played a short schedule in '07, and earlier this year said the AT&T Championship in San Antonio would be his final appearance.

    But during the AT&T, Trevino put the brakes on that retirement talk. The San Antonio Express-News reported:

    At 67 — he'll turn 68 on Dec. 1 — Trevino had said the tournament at Oak Hills would be his farewell to competitive golf.

    But this summer, he spent 2 1/2 months on his couch at his home in Hartford, Conn., and discovered he'd made a mistake.

    His wife helped him.

    "Like it or not, women are usually right about most things," Trevino said. "She said I was going to get tired of doing nothing but taking my son to school and playing golf with my friends. She was right."

    Trevino said he's not like Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, who have enjoyed a multitude of business interests in retirement.

    "My whole life I've played golf," he said. "It's all I've ever done for 40 years. I don't know anything else."

    Trevino said he will continue to play a limited Champions Tour schedule — the AT&T Championship is just his sixth event of the year — and will continue to come back to San Antonio as long as the tournament is held at Oak Hills.


    That last line should catch your eye. As we've reported many times, Champions Tour players adore Oak Hills Country Club, the onetime home of the Texas Open and the Nabisco Championship on the PGA Tour and now the home of the AT&T Championship. But plans are for this tournament to move to the Pete Dye-designed course going in across town at the TPC San Antonio project.

    Said Trevino:

    "I love Oak Hills," he said, suddenly getting serious. "I can't wait to play here every year. I'm not going to be playing no TPC."

    John Cook Claims AT&T Championship Victory

    john cook att championshipJohn Cook is the winner of the 2007 AT&T Championship on the Champions Tour, completed Sunday at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio.

    Cook was playing in just his second tournament on the senior circuit, and he beat his good friend Mark O'Meara by one stroke. O'Meara is still searching for his first senior victory.

    Said Cook:

    "It was not easy out there. Some tricky winds on a good golf course and major championship winners all over the place. Thrilled? I guess I would be thrilled."


    Cook won 11 times on the PGA Tour, including once in Texas at the 1998 Byron Nelson Classic. His first win came in 1981, and his most recent before Sunday was at the 2001 Reno-Tahoe Open.

    AT&T Championship story
    AT&T Championship scores

    Saturday, October 20, 2007

    TPC San Antonio Construction Blog

    Thanks to a comment on a post below by Jody Brothers, director of business development for TPC San Antonio, I can pass along the URL of the TPC San Antonio's construction blog:

    http://blog.tpcsanantonio.com/

    There's already some interesting stuff there, including photos and course layouts. And Jody will be posting status updates with photos of the courses in progress. Check it out.

    North Team Wins Women's Texas Cup

    The Texas Cup is Ryder Cup-style competition for women who are members of the Ladies Amateur Golf Association, a group in the North Texas/Dallas-Fort Worth areas founded in 1989. The LAGA boasts some of the top female amateurs in Texas as members, and all of its members are low-handicap, competition golfers.

    This year's Texas Cup was played at Mira Vista Country Club, with the North team pulling out a 13-11 victory. That leaves the South with a 9-6 overall lead in the competition.

    The outcome wasn't decided until the final singles match, won by the North's Carol Turnage, 1-up, over the South's Cindy Gilkeson.

    The final-day singles results are as follows:

    Mina Hardin, North d. Leslie Green, South, 2 and 1; Anna Schultz, North d. Karen Veriato, South, 3 and 2; Carolyn Creekmore, North d. Marilyn Hardy, South, 5 and 4; Lecia Alexander, South d. Toni Wiesner, North, 3 and 2; Kathy Crumley, North d. Karen Murphy, South, 2 and 1; Stacy Dennis, South d. Suzanne Kenkel, North, 2 and 1; Cindy Kuykendall, South d. Janie Carpenter, North, 1 down; Beth Cleckler, South d. Christa Aleshire, North, 2 and 1; Carol Turnage, North d. Cindy Gilkeson, South, 1 up; Nancy Kromar, South d. Elisabet Levy, North, 2 and 1; Jamie Senter, North d. Camille Clay, South, 3 and 2; Stephanie Maynard, South d. Marti Ross, North, 6 and 5.


    Source: Fort Worth Star-Telegram

    Friday, October 19, 2007

    All Parts of TPC San Antonio Finally In Motion

    It's been nearly eight years since the huge golf resort project in northeast San Antonio was first proposed as a PGA Village owned by the PGA of America. In the interim, the project morphed into a TPC resort owned by the PGA Tour, and on Thursday it finally reached the stage where all its parts are now in motion.

    As in under construction: the Greg Norman- and Pete Dye-designed golf courses have been under way for a few months. On Thursday, ground was broken on the 1,000-room JW Marriott resort hotel, with various bigwigs, including PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, in attendance.

    The plan is for the resort to open to guests some time in the early part of 2010. The PGA Tour Texas Open would move to the Norman-designed course that year. The Champions Tour's AT&T Championship would move to the Dye-designed course soon after.

    The AT&T Championship is in San Antonio this week, teeing off today, and the senior circuit players absolutely adore the tournament's current home, Oak Hills Country Club. Richard Oliver, writing in the San Antonio Express-News this morning, quoted some players sounding none-to-excited about that probably move to the TPC course:


    "I would be really saddened by that," said Fred Funk, who tees off this morning as defending champion of the AT&T. "This is truly one of the greatest venues we play, and we should stay here, in my opinion."

    Added Loren Roberts, the tour's current points leader: "Unless they build an unbelievable thing out there, it would be tough. A.W. Tillinghast is not coming back from the grave to do it."

    Dallas-based senior competitor Bruce Lietzke, serving as player consultant on Dye's design, admits that affection for the legendary Tillinghast-designed layout presents a unique challenge.

    "It's big shoes to fill, so it's going to be a tough sell," he said. "Oak Hills has a great reputation among PGA Tour players, and now Champions Tour players. That's OK; I'm happy. It'll just keep us working hard."

    Wednesday, October 17, 2007

    Is Austin's Lions Municipal In Danger?

    Could Austin's Lions Municipal Golf Course be in danger of disappearing?

    Maybe. The question hinges on a very valuable tract of land owned by the University of Texas, and what the university ultimately decides to do with that land.

    The land in question is known as the Brackenridge Tract, donated to the school in 1910 by San Antonian George Brackenridge (who also donated the land in San Antonio where Brackenridge Park and Brackenridge Golf Course are located). The approximately 350 acres sit adjacent to Town Lake, and now located on it are open green spaces, student housing, some commercial buildings leased to companies, and Lions Municipal Golf Course.

    Lions opened around 80 years ago, and the land on which it sits is leased by the City of Austin from the university. That lease has to be renewed every so often, and its next renewal date is in 2019.

    Because all the land of the Brackenridge Tract is worth so much money now to the university or to any potential buyers, the school has had a task force studying the question of what to do with it. The task force released its recommendations last week, one of which was allowing the lease on Lions Muny to expire so that parcel can be converted into something else (perhaps just good ol' cash).

    Meanwhile, the City of Austin has broached in the past the possibility of purchasing the Lions land outright, and has indicated it may try to do so again. But can the city afford it?

    Can the city afford not to? Lions Muny is a historic and much-loved course. The outcry from the Austin golf community, should the demise of Lions appear immiment, would be very loud, indeed.

    So Lions Muny does not appear to be safe. But my guess is it will wind up surviving.

    Tuesday, October 16, 2007

    AT&T Championship Qualifying

    The AT&T Championship on the Champions Tour gets under way Friday at San Antonio's Oak Hills Country Club with Fred Funk the defending champion. But before the main draw you always have the Monday qualifier, and this one was played at Canyon Springs Golf Club. The six golfers who made it through and into the AT&T Championship field are:

    Jack Ferenz, Vero Beach, Fla., 64
    Steve Thomas, Tupelo, Miss., 65
    Mitch Adams, Calry, N.C., 65
    Jim Ahern, Phoenix, Ariz., 65
    Mitch Adcock, Apopka, Fla., 66
    Boonchu Ruangkit, Bangkok, Thailand, 67

    Monday, October 15, 2007

    Weekend Tournament Wrapup

    A wrapup of the professionals tournaments in Texas over the weekend:

    Champions Tour in Spring
    Bernhard Langer is a rookie again at age 50, playing on the Champions Tour. And at the Administaff Small Business Classic in Spring, he earned his first victory on the senior circuit.

    Langer tied the tour's 54-hole scoring record of 191 with rounds of 62, 65 and 64, to beat runner-up Mark O'Meara by eight strokes.

    Read the story

    Nationwide Tour in Midland
    It took eight playoff holes to do it, but Brad Adamonis emerged from the four-way playoff with his first career Nationwide Tour victory at the WNB Golf Classic in Midland.

    Adamonis made eight pars in eights holes of the playoff to defeat to Tjaart van der Walt, Vance Veazey and Ron Whittaker. The quarter had finished regulation tied at 278.

    Read the story

    Adams Pro Tour Series
    The Texas-based Adams Golf Pro Tour Series was in Louisiana for the Guaranty Bank Classic at Black Bear in Delhi. The winner was Shawn Stefani (no relation to Gwen) of Baytown, whose final-round 67 enabled him to eclipse Mark Walker of Hurst by one stroke for the title. Scores

    Friday, October 12, 2007

    Gov. Perry Embarrasses Texas on the Golf Course

    This is pretty funny. Gov. Rick Perry played golf this week in the PGA Tour's Frys.com Open. He was the amateur partner to John Daly in the first round. Following that round, a columnist for the Las Vegas Review Journal newspaper wrote this:

    ... Daly continued losing focus waiting for amateur Rick Perry to reach the green in a timely fashion on most holes. I'm pretty convinced Texas today is by far our nation's most efficiently run state, because it's impossible to believe its governor spends much time playing golf.

    Perry did, however, bring along a security contingent complete with those Secret Service-type ear pieces, which would have been interesting if it wasn't so laughable given the only thing most knew about him was that he was the guy you backed up 20 yards from each time he addressed a shot.

    Wednesday, October 10, 2007

    Small Business Classic Qualifying

    phil blackmar champions tourThere are two tour events in Texas this week, the WNB Golf Classic in Midland, a Nationwide Tour event, and the Administaff Small Business Classic in Spring, a Championship Tour event.

    We posted the WNB Monday qualifying results yesterday, so today it's the senior circuit qualifying results. Six spots were up for grabs in the qualifier played at The Woodlands Country Club (Gary Player Course). The six golfers who played their way into the field are:

    Pat McDonald, Rocklin, Calif., 68
    John Ross, Freeman, W.V., 68
    Harry Taylor, Old Hickory, Tenn., 68
    Lindy Miller, Fort Worth, 69
    Phil Blackmar, Corpus Christi, 69
    John McGough, Jacksonville, Fla., 70

    The name that catches my eye, as a Corpus Christi native, is that of Phil Blackmar (pictured). Blackmar is a lifelong resident of Corpus. His father, Fred, was the longtime head professional at the Naval Air Station course in Texas and a very good player in his own right (as well as being a noted clubmaker).

    The Small Business Classic will be Blackmar's debut on the Champions Tour. He'll also play the following week at the AT&T Championship in San Antonio. Don't be surprised if he has a good start as a senior player - he has good memories of Houston. The Houston Open was the site of one of his three PGA Tour wins, and just a couple years ago it was the site of his last made cut on the PGA Tour.

    Military, First Responders Get In Free at AT&T Championship

    The Champions Tour's AT&T Championship is coming up quickly in San Antonio (Oak Hills Country Club), and the event organizers want to get the word out to area active-duty military and first-responders: Come on out, because you get in free.

    Tournament week is Oct. 15-21. Tournament director Colby Callaway said, "We are very honored to salute these brave people who have done so much for us in so many ways. While it's certainly not enough, it's hopefully a way of saying thanks."

    Here's a rundown of how it works:


  • All active duty military and military personnel carrying government issued ID, along with police, EMS , and fire department personnel are being offered complimentary tickets to every round of the late season Champions Tour golf tournament.

  • 10,000 tickets were distributed to Military Instillations throughout Texas including the multi-base South Texas area. They can be picked up at services or MWR offices. Additional event info is available here as well.

  • A VIP tent is available for all Military Personnel. It will be open Friday – Sunday. Lunch and beverages are available at no charge between 11:30am – 1:30pm each day. The tent is located just inside the front entrance of the tournament. All military must have a valid Military ID to enter this venue.

  • If Military Personnel are not already carrying a ticket, an ID must be presented to the tournament admissions gate for a complimentary ticket to be issued.

  • Tickets for retired military, police and fire department personal and senior citizens, 62 and older are complimentary as well. Children 17 and under also offered free admission during the tournament. College students with a college ID will receive half price tickets.
  • More tournament info is available at www.attchamp.com.

    Tuesday, October 09, 2007

    Nationwide Tour WNB Classic Qualifying

    Yesterday was Monday qualifying time at the WNB Golf Classic, the new name of the Midland stop of the Nationwide Tour (it was formerly known as the Permian Basin Charity Classic). Because the field of qualifiers was so large, it was split between two courses in Midland, Green Tree Country Club and Ranchland Hills Golf Club. Seven golfers from each site played their way into the WNB Golf Classic field. Here are those qualifiers:

    Green Tree
    James Nitties, Tallahassee, Fla., 31-32--63
    Alex Rodger, Fort Worth, 31-33--64
    Tyler Williamson, Decatur, Ala., 34-31--65
    Scott Draper, Atlanta, Ga., 32-33--65
    Joel Edwards, Coppell, 30-35--65
    Franklin Hatchett, Dallas, 34-31--65
    Chris Wall, Albuquerque, N.M., 32-33--65

    Ranchland Hills
    Brian Guetz, Scottsdale, Ariz., 30-34--64
    Rich Morris, Fayetteville, Ark., 31-34--65
    Jaxon Brigman, Frisco, 33-32--65
    Chris Cureton, Dallas, 34-32--66
    Adam Meyer, Waco, 33-33--66
    Joshua Warthen, Arroyo Grande, Calif., 34-33--67
    Brad Gibson, Denton, 34-33--67

    The WNB Golf Classic begins Thursday at Midland Country Club.

    Sunday, October 07, 2007

    Justin Leonard Back in the Winner's Circle

    justin leonard texas openA great finish to the Texas Open on Sunday, with Texan Justin Leonard grabbing the title away from Jesper Parnevik with a great final round and then a nervy playoff performance.

    It's the first win for Leonard in two years, but it's the third victory for Leonard at the Texas Open. That makes him just the second three-time winner of this tournament. The first three-time winner was Arnold Palmer. Pretty good company.

    This is also the 11th career win for Leonard.

    Leonard closed with a 65 to catch Parnevik, who was leading by several strokes at the beginning of the day but managed "only" a 69 in the final round. Parnevik struggled mightily off the tee much of the day, only to keep making near-miraculous saving shots down the stretch and even into the playoff. Parnevik founds some parts of the The Resort Course at La Cantera that even I haven't seen before.

    But he saved par on the 72nd hole, while Leonard missed a birdie putt for the win, and they went into the playoff. Leonard finally put it away on the third playoff hole, the par-3 17th, with a birdie putt.

    See the tournament home for more, including full results.

    Another Victory for Babb on Adams Tour

    Adam Babb won his second Adams Pro Golf Tour Series title of the year, closing with a 65 to claim the title at the Community Bank Classic in Meridian, Miss., on Saturday.

    Babb, from Arlington, earlier won the Cities of Gold Casino Classic in New Mexico. In five starts on the Adams Tour in 2007, Babb's worst finish is a tie for 18th.

    Babb birdied the 16th and 18th holes in Mississippi to finish off a final-round of 65. He won by two strokes over Colby Beckstrom, who carded a 68 in the final round to finish at 270.

    With the win, Babb takes over the lead on the Adams Tour money list.

    Top 5
    Adam Babb, Arlington, 68-68-67-65--268
    Colby Beckstrom, Muskegon, Mich., 69-65-68-68--270
    Rich Morris, El Dorado, Kan., 66-66-70-69--271
    Brad Weesner, Hideaway, 69-66-65-71--271
    Chad Ginn, Alexandria, La., 71-69-69-64--273
    Mark Walker, Hurst, 70-70-66-67--273
    Full Results

    Friday, October 05, 2007

    The Top 10 Texans

    Pegged to this week's Texas Open, Golf.com has a slideshow of "The 10 Best Players from Texas," their ranking of our greatest golfers.

    Lists are fun, so I'll bite. Just who are the 10 best golfers in Texas history? Golf.com's list is a co-ed one:

    10. Jack Burke Jr.
    9. Ben Crenshaw
    8. Harry Cooper
    7. Babe Didrikson Zaharias
    6. Jimmy Demaret
    5. Lloyd Mangrum
    4. Kathy Whitworth
    3. Lee Trevino
    1b. Ben Hogan
    1a. Byron Nelson

    I'm always opposed to a co-ed list such as this (although not to co-ed tournaments) because nobody can argue that Kathy Whitworth was a better golfer than Mangrum or Demaret. If one is ranking players based on impact, then yes, co-ed is fine (and the Babe would be no lower than No. 2, and arguably No. 1). But a ranking based on playing ability should be all-guys or all-girls.

    Three other beefs with the list: They've got Nelson and Hogan reversed (Hogan should be No. 1). They include Harry Cooper, who was born in England and didn't move to Texas until age 10. But even if you invoke the "I wasn't born in Texas but I got here as fast I could clause" to call Cooper a Texan, Lighthorse Harry should not be on this list while Ralph Guldahl is off it.

    And finally, Ben Crenshaw. I'm not saying (at least not in this post) that he doesn't belong on any such list, I'm saying he doesn't belong ahead of Tom Kite. Kite and Crenshaw were exact contemporaries, and while Crenshaw had more raw talent and won two majors to Kite's one, Kite was by far the more consistent player, and more consistently good. Even Crenshaw has said that Kite deserves to be rated ahead of him when comparing their careers.

    But, as I said, lists are fun. So thanks to Golf.com for this one.

    Thursday, October 04, 2007

    Another USGA Title for the Kuehne Family


    (USGA photo by Steve Gibbons)

    Congratulations to Trip Kuehne on his victory in the U.S. Mid-Amateur on Thursday at Bandon Dunes in Oregon. Kuehne, of Irving, defeated Dan Whitaker of Washington, 9 and 7, in the championship match.

    Kuehne is the third member of his family to win a USGA championship. Brother Hank won the 1998 U.S. Amateur and sister Kelli won the 1995 and '96 U.S. Women's Amateur. Trip reached the finals of the 1994 U.S. Am, but was defeated then by Tiger Woods.

    It's been a great year for Trip, who runs a money management first in Dallas. He was part of Texas' winning team in the USGA State Championship; part of the winning U.S. team at the Walker Cup; and also part of a winning team in Texas Golf Association Championship.

    "It's been a long journey; one that started 13 years ago," Kuehne said in reference to his loss to Wood at the 1994 U.S. Amateur final. "I got the job done this time. It doesn’t get any better than this. It truly is a dream come true. I thought this day would never come."

    The full report is available on the U.S. Mid-Am Web site.