Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Preview: Texas State Amateur

The Texas State Amateur Championship starts on Thursday at Whispering Pines in Trinity. Here is a preview of the tournament provided by the Texas Golf Association:

Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, located approximately 30 miles northeast of Huntsville, will be hosting the 2007 Texas Amateur Championship presented by Guaranty Bank. Conducted by the Texas Golf Association, this year's championship will be played from Thursday, June 7, through Sunday, June 10.

More than 650 entries were received this year with 23 players fully exempt from qualifying based on past performance. The remaining hopefuls battled it out in 18 qualifiers held across the state during the months of April and May, vying for one of the 121 available spots in the elite 144-player starting field.

Format for the Championship is 72-holes stoke play. All contestants will play 18-holes on both Thursday, June 7, and Friday, June 8. After 36-holes the field will be cut to the low 54 players and ties heading into the final two rounds on Saturday and Sunday.

The Texas Amateur has produced a notable list of winners in its 98-year history and has long been considered to be the state's most coveted amateur title. Over a dozen current PGA Tour and Champions Tour players have their names engraved on the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy, including Mark Brooks, Charles Coody, Ben Crenshaw, Bob Estes, Bruce Lietzke, and Scott Verplank.

This will be the third TGA competition to be held at Whispering Pines. Previously, the club was the site of the 2004 and 2006 Texas Shootout, the association's annual "Ryder Cup-style" event in which the eight best players from North Texas square off against their counterparts from South Texas. In addition, the club hosted the 2005 Big 12 Championship and is also home to The Spirit, a biennial international amateur event that features the world's best men and women golfers representing 24 countries from six continents in team and individual competitions.

Opened in 2000, Whispering Pines debuted in third place in Golf Digest's annual ranking of America's Best New Private Courses. Designed by Chet Williams of Nicklaus Design, the club continues to shine in the national spotlight. Recently, the same publication came out with their list of America's 50 Greatest Golf Retreats and the 800-plus course ranking panelists voted Whispering Pines as the 11th best, ahead of such notable clubs as Muirfield Village and Castle Pines.

2007 TGA Texas Amateur Notes

  • PAR AND YARDAGE - From the back tees, Whispering Pines can stretch to 7,480 yards with a par of 36-36 - 72.

  • USGA COURSE/SLOPE RATING - Whispering Pines has a USGA Course/Slope rating of 76.2/143, the fourth highest course rating in the state.

  • YOUTH VERSUS EXPERIENCE - On opposite ends of the age spectrum are Brenden Redfern, of Austin, the youngest player in the field at age 15, and Tom McGraw, of Montgomery, who at age 56 will be carrying the torch for the senior players.

  • H.L. EDWARDS MEMORIAL TROPHY - The winner of the Texas Amateur receives custody of the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy, named in honor of Harry Lee Edwards, the "Father of Golf in Texas." Edwards earned the nickname because he helped to establish the TGA in February of 1906, served as its first president and won the inaugural Amateur Championship. Additionally, Edwards was also a founding member of Dallas CC and BrookHollow GC.

  • TEXAS AMATEUR ON THE WEB - For scores, pairings, and the latest Texas Amateur information, log on to the TGA web site - txga.org

  • TGA INDIVIDUAL STATE CHAMPIONS IN THE STARTING FIELD - Six players can boast of having won a TGA individual statewide championship. They are Mike Booker ('03 Mid-Am), Alan Clark ('06 Mid-Am Match Play), Alan Hill ('99 and '04 Mid-Am), Jon Mathias ('06 Mid-Am), and Nick Williams ('06 Public Links). Kevin Schultz (2005) is the only past Amateurtitleholder in this year's field.

  • THE 2006 TEXAS AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP - 18-year-old Paul Haley, a graduate of Highland Park H.S. who is now attending Georgia Tech, rolled in a tricky 20-foot putt for birdie on the 72nd hole at Dallas Country Club for a final round 68 and a two-stroke victory over 15-year-old Cody Gribble, of Dallas, and two-time TGA State Player of the Year Terrence Miskell, of New Braunfels.

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