Monday, December 29, 2008

Lajitas Rebuilding The Ambush

As noted earlier, The Ambush golf course at Lajitas Resort was mostly washed out by severe flooding earlier this year. That original course was designed by Randy Russell and Roy Bechtol, a ribbon of green through the Chihuahuan desert. And it included a 19th hole (actually, hole 11A) with a tee shot across the Rio Grande, into Mexico (no, you didn't get to cross over to finish out the hole).

Lajitas Resort recently announced plans to rebuild The Ambush. The new Ambush will be designed by Lanny Wadkins Design Group and built by Fezler Golf. Construction was scheduled to begin this month, with completion targeted for Fall 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Futures Tour Makes 2009 Texas Stops Official

The Futures Tour released its 2009 schedule this week, making two new stops in Texas official for next season.

For the past several years, the women's developmental tour has played events in McAllen and in El Paso. Both are gone from the 2009 schedule, although Valley golf fans still have a tournament in their region.

In their place are tournaments in Brownsville and San Antonio:

Historic Brownsville Open
Rancho Viejo
April 24–26
Purse: $110,000

Texas Hill Country Classic
San Antonio
May 1–3
Purse: $125,000

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Texas Golf Hall of Fame Missing Some Pieces

San Antonio's Brackenridge Park Golf Course is open again following a multimillion-dollar renovation designed to restore the historic track to its former glory. But the work at Brackenridge doesn't end with the course; renovations and upgrades will continue to restore the historic buildings that house the course's pro shop and clubhouse.

The Brack clubhouse is supposed to be the new home of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame, which has been without a home for years. In fact, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Texas Golf Hall of Fame ceased to exist as a business entity in 2001. Since then, its displays and memorabilia have been in storage.

And, unfortunately, some of those items have gone missing. The Star-Telegram reports:

Among the items he cannot locate, said Hall of Fame chairman Joe Black, are two Ben Hogan-related pieces donated by individuals outside the Hogan family. Also missing, according to Black’s inventory list, are antique clubs and golf books autographed by Hall of Fame inductees, including Hogan and Byron Nelson.

Black, 75, is leading a group that seeks to reopen the Hall of Fame in 2009 at Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio, the state’s first public course. When the hall ceased operations at its former location in The Woodlands, a Houston suburb, donors were given the choice of having items returned or storing them until the hall reopened.

At issue is what happened to the stored items that are missing and who should attempt to find them. The Woodlands Operating Co., which owned the building where the hall was located, and the Houston Golf Association, which shared office space with the hall, were involved in the early stages of the storage process.

In the interim, however, the HGA has moved to a new location and The Woodlands Operating Co. has undergone multiple ownership changes. Black acknowledged receiving a file cabinet with photos and documents from the HGA.

But he said he expected to receive more memorabilia items, including a vintage sand wedge designed by Hogan, as well as a golf bag Hogan once used. Other missing items from his inventory list, Black said, include trophies, antique clubs and vintage golf books dating to the 1890s. One missing book came from the late Harvey Penick, the renowned Austin instructor whose pupils included Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw.

"It would be a great loss if we can’t find all these things that were in the Hall of Fame," Black said. "Because they’re irreplaceable."

Read the full article.

(As an aside, in case anyone is wondering, yes - the Joe Black mentioned in the article is the same guy the Texas Joe Black Cup Matches are named after.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pilsner Named STPGA Pro of the Year

The Southern Texas PGA has announced its yearend award-winners. The full list follows the STPGA news release below about David Pilsner, this year's honoree as Professional of the Year.

David Pilsner, president of the Southern Texas PGA in 2007 and 2008, is the STPGA’s Golf Professional of the Year for 2008. Pilsner is the 41st 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.

A native of Victoria and a 1980 graduate of the University of Texas, Pilsner has been involved with the STPGA’s leadership since the mid-1990s, when he served as an officer with the Section’s Alamo Chapter Assistants Association. He became a member of the STPGA Board of Directors in 1997 and has since served as president and vice-president of the Section’s Eastern Chapter and as secretary and vice-president of the Southern Texas PGA, in addition to his term as president. He will complete his presidency in February and will serve as Honorary President of the STPGA for the next two years.

Pilsner was elected to membership in the PGA of America in 1983, and his career includes tours of duty as the head golf professional at three clubs within the Southern Texas PGA— Riverhill Country Club in Kerrville, Golfcrest Country Club in Pearland and Bay Oaks in Houston, at which he has served since 2000.

Pilsner has previously been honored as the STPGA Eastern Chapter Merchandiser of the Year (1998) and the STPGA Eastern Chapter Golf Professional of the Year (2001, 2005).

Pilsner credits a pair of PGA Professionals - Ross Collins and Warren Chancellor - as keys to his success. His experiences with those two gentlemen and others have yielded an effective philosophy toward his career.

"Good leadership is an absolute must for organizations," says Pilsner. "The qualities that are critical for successful leadership are loyalty, integrity and the ability to create and sustain a vision for the organization."

It has been through the consistent application of those principals that David Pilsner has earned the respect of his members, his employers, his employees and his fellow golf professionals, who have chosen him as the most outstanding golf professional in the Southern Texas PGA for 2008.

Golf Professional of the Year
David Pilsner, Head Golf Professional, Bay Oaks Country Club, Houston

Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year
Kevin Kirk, Director of Instruction, The Woodlands/Canongate Performance Center

Junior Golf Leader
Will Borowski, Director of Instruction, The Club at Cimarron, Mission

Horton Smith Award
Rich Ballinger, Director of PGA Golf Management and Golf Course Operations, Sam Houston State University, Hunstville

Bill Strausbaugh Award
Jeff Strong, Head golf professional, Eagle Pointe Golf Club, Mont Belvieu

Assistant Professional of the Year
Corey Lundberg, Senior Assistant Professional, The University of Texas Golf Club, Austin

Merchandisers of the Year
Eagle Pointe Golf Club (Public), Houston Country Club (Private), Westin La Cantera Resort (Resort)

STPGA President’s Plaque
Andrew Peterson, Head Golf Professional, Canyon Springs Golf Club, San Antonio

STPGA Golf Sales Representative of the Year
Bill Lame, FootJoy, Fair Oaks Ranch

STPGA Amateur of the Year
Terrence Miskell, New Braunfels

STPGA Junior Golfer of the Year
Cory Whitsett, Houston

STPGA Special Service Award
Corby Robertson, Houston

STPGA Meda/Public Relations Award
Richard Oliver, San Antonio Express-News, San Antonio

STPGA Chapter Awards
Each of the Southern Texas PGA’s three Chapters selects its own slate of award winners annually. For 2008, the recipients of those award winners are as follows.

Eastern Chapter
Golf Professional of the Year: Jeff Strong, Head Golf Professional, Eagle Pointe Golf Club, Mont Belvieu
Harvey Penick Teachers of the Year: Paul Marchand, Head Golf Professional, ShadowHawk Golf Club, Richmond, and Jim Phenice, Director of Instruction, WindRose Golf Club, Spring
Junior Golf Leader: Jennifer Burdette, Teaching Professional, Blackhorse Golf Club, Cypress
Merchandiser of the Year: Champions Golf Club, Houston

Southern Chapter
Golf Professional of the Year: Doug DeSive, Head Golf Professional, Corpus Christi Country Club
Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year: Bruce Haddad, Head Golf Professional, Kings Crossing Country Club, Corpus Christi
Junior Golf Leader: Will Borowski, Director of Instruction, The Club at Cimarron, Mission
Merchandiser of the Year: Corpus Christi Country Club

Western Chapter
Golf Professional of the Year: Glenn Lee, Director of Golf, Horseshoe Bay Resort, Horseshoe Bay
Harvey Penick Teacher of the Year: Mike Vardeman, Director of instruction, The Academy at La Cantera, San Antonio
Junior Golf Leader: Brian McMyler, Golf Instructor, Canyon Springs Golf Club, San Antonio
Merchandiser of the Year: Wolfdancer Golf Club, Bastrop

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Garland's Eastern Hills Keeps TWO Through 2011

eastern hills country clubThe Texas Women's Open will continue at Eastern Hills Country Club through at least 2011, the Northern Texas PGA has announced. The club has served as the site of the tournament since 2001, and under the extension will host the TWO on he following dates:

  • 2009: June 23-25
  • 2010: June 22-24
  • 2011: June 21-23

Mark Harrison, director of operations for the NTPGA, said:

"The Texas Women's Open is one of the premier state opens for females in the United States. The event has steadily grown over the past eight years thanks in part to our partners at Eastern Hills Country Club. The club and its members look forward to hosting the event every year and role out the red carpet for all our contestants and sponsors. The golf course is always in tremendous condition and provides a difficult, yet fair test of golf. We look forward to enhancing the event even further and are excited about the future."

The Texas Women's Open was first played in 1935, and continued into the early 1950s, when it was part of the earliest LPGA schedules. The tournament discontinued play after 1954, however, until the NTPGA revived it in 2001.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Brackenridge Now Open

brackenridge golf course san antonio

For the past month or so, golfers could play the renovated Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio for $250 (a fund-raising fee). And next April, the historic golf course will have its official grand re-opening.

But now, as of Dec. 1, Brackenridge is open on a limited basis for daily play at its normal rates. Tee times are offered daily from 9 a.m. to 11:48 a.m. only, and that window will be open until April, when the course ramps up for a full load of tee times.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Houston Charity Tourney Cuts Ties with Clemens

With his reputation in flames due to steroids accusations, an investigation by Major League Baseball, and a possible perjury investigation - not to mention an unrelated scandal involving country music singer Mindy McCready - baseball superstar Roger Clemens was recently asked not to take part in a Houston charity golf tournament with which he's been association for several year. Yahoo Sports reports:

Roger Clemens has been asked to end his involvement with a charity golf tournament he has hosted for four years as the fallout from the Mitchell Report continues to haunt the seven-time Cy Young award winner, the Daily News reported in Wednesday’s edition.

Although Clemens helped raise millions of dollars for charities associated with the event, the Giff Nielsen Day of Golf for Kids was held Nov. 11 at Houston’s Shadow Hawk Golf Club without him.

"Roger Clemens is no longer affiliated with the tournament," said Nielsen, a Houston broadcaster. "We decided we would go our separate ways until his off-field stuff is settled.

"I approached him, and as we talked, we reached a mutual agreement that we would put our relationship on hold. He was good about it. He said 'I agree with the decision.' "

Clemens is a golf nut and has long been involved in charity golf outings. (And Nielsen, of course, isn't just a "Houston broadcaster," but the former quarterback of the Houston Oilers, and a College Football Hall of Fame member.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Former PGA Tour Pro Wins Texas Senior Open

Danny Edwards, a longtime member of the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, is the 2008 victor of the Texas Senior Open, which concluded Saturday in Houston. Here is the tournament recap from the Southern Texas PGA:

Danny Edwards of Scottsdale, Ariz., posted a final round score of even-par 72 for a 54-hole total of 5-under-par 211 on the Forest Course at The Clubs of Kingwood in Houston to become the first two-time winner in the 11-year history of the Maker's Mark Texas Senior Open.

Edwards finished one stroke better than Peter O'Hagan of Lutz, Fla., to win the first-place prize of $10,000 in this year’s state championship. Edwards also won the 2006 Maker’s Mark Texas Senior Open.

"I didn’t play all that well today," said Edwards after the final round, "but I just kept on hanging in there."

Edwards was two strokes up on O'Hagan and first-round leader Frank Conner of San Antonio heading into the final round. He opened his round with a birdie but followed it with a bogey on the second hole. Another bogey on the seventh hole dropped him to 4-under-par for the tournament, and pulled Conner within a stroke of the lead and O’Hagan, who had bogeyed the second hole, to within two strokes.

While Edwards, who has over 30 years experience on the PGA Tour and PGA Champions Tour, began a string of nine consecutive pars on the eighth hole, Conner fell off the pace with a double-bogey on the same hole and O'Hagan began a charge that included three birdies, a par and a bogey over the next five holes.

O'Hagan and Edwards entered the final six holes tied for the lead and traded pars from 13th through 16 holes before Edwards struck, taking a birdie to O’Hagan’s par on the par 5 17th hole. Both took par on the final hole and Edwards had a one-stroke victory.

"Obviously, the birdie on 17 was big and so was the par on 18," said Edwards, "but I really think No. 9 was key. I hit my second shot right of the green there. My ball was in a divot and had to use a utility club to run the ball up. I got it close enough to save my par and that really helped."

"It feels very good to win and to become the first two-time champion of this tournament," said Edwards. "It's really a very good tournament, with a good field at a great site."

O'Hagan finished at 4-under-par 212 and earned the runner-up check of $7,000, while Conner took home $5,250 for his third-place finish of 1-under-par 215.

Five golfers, including 2005 Maker's Mark Texas Senior Open champion Chuck Moran of Houston and 2008 tournament low amateur David Leiss of Houston, finished in a fourth-place tie at 5-over-par 221.

After a bit of a rough start that included bogeys on three of the first five holes, Leiss settled down and played the last 12 holes at just one over par.

"I think the birdie on 17 is what did it for me," said Leiss, who finished one stroke better than Jeff New of The Woodlands, Texas, and Vaughn Moise of Kingwood, Texas, for low amateur honors.

Leiss, who played college golf at TCU, received a merchandise certificate of $750 for his effort (professionals competed for cash prizes and amateurs for merchandise certificates). The tournament's total purse was $60,000.

Top Finishers
Danny Edwards, Scottsdale, Ariz., 69-70-72--211
Peter O'Hagan, Lutz, Fla., 71-70-71--212
Frank Conner, San Antonio, 67-74-74--215
Joe Stansberry, Lakeville, Minn., 78-72-71--221
Chuck Moran, Houston, 74-75-72--221
Lindy Miller, Ft. Worth, 75-71-75--221
Gordon Johnson, Houston, 75-71-75--221
David Leiss (a), Houston, 70-75-76--221
Full Results

Monday, November 17, 2008

Repeat Winners at Legends Junior Tour Championship

Let's hear it for the kids. The Texas Legends Junior Tour played its tour championship over the weekend at Pine Dunes Resort & Golf Club in Frankston. And two of the three champions who emerged were repeat winners. Here is the report from the LJGT:

FRANKSTON - As the saying goes, "some things never change." At the Legends Junior Tour Championship, it was more of the same as Hunter Brown and Kelsey Kirkpatrick successfully defended the titles they won last year at Boot Ranch. For Kirkpatrick, it was her sixth victory in as many tries this year and, for Brown, it was a return to the dominance he showed in 2007.

The 2008 season has been somewhat of a struggle for Hunter Brown. After winning the 2007 Player of the Year award, expectations were high for the Richardson native. A missed cut at the EDS Byron Nelson Junior Championship and a T22 at the Texas State Junior Championship left him looking for answers. But his play had improved of late with a T6 at the Championship and a T4 at last week’s Texas Cup Invitational. The comeback now seems complete after an impressive seven shot victory over an elite field.

Brown entered the final round with a two shot lead over Richardson’s Brad Lyle. Lyle struggled early while Brown opened with five consecutive pars. He made a birdie on No. 6 (par 3, 188 yards) and followed that up with eight more pars. By the time he made his second birdie on No. 15 (par 4, 340 yards), the contest was over. A bogey on No. 18 (par 5, 500 yards) gave him a 54-hole total of 218.

The win earns Brown two AJGA tournament exemptions as well invitations into all of next year’s Legends Junior Tour Invitationals.

Lyle’s final round 76 was good enough to keep him in second place at 225. Austin’s Brenden Redfern finished one stroke back, while Sean Luke of DeSoto and Alex Ellis tied for fifth at 230.

Branson Davis of McKinney ran away with the Boys 14 & Under title. His bogey free round of 69 left him nine shots clear of the field. The win was Davis’ third of the year and his second consecutive Major victory (he won the Championship in September). Those two late season wins helped him move ahead of Scott Scheffler on the Player of the Year points list.

Kelsey Kirkpatrick shot rounds of 81-77-79 to finish at 237. Kirkpatrick, who recently committed to Arkansas State, completely dominated the Girls 15-18 division this year. The year began with a win at the Stableford Championship and she followed that with wins at the Spring Preview, Mark Brooks Shootout, Bluebonnet Championship and Championship.

The Tour Championship was the final individual event, as well as the last points event, of the 2008 season. Congrulations to Jade Scott (Boys 15-18), Scott Scheffler (Boys 14 & Under), Kelsey Kirkpatrick (Girls 15-18) and Grace Choi (Girls 14 & Under) on winning Player of the Year awards in their respective divisions.

Boys 15-18 Division
Hunter Brown, Richardson, 77-70-71-218
Brad Lyle, Richardson, 76-73-76-225
Brenden Redfern, Austin, 79-74-76-229

Boys 14-Under Division
Branson Davis, McKinney, 77-75-69-221
William Zalatoris, Plano, 76-78-76-230
Scott Scheffler, Dallas, 79-82-75-236

Girls 15-18 Division
Kelsey Kirkpatrick, Golden, 81-77-79-237
Rachel Mulkey, Flower Mound, 87-82-75-244
Chaney Uhles, Fort Worth, 79-84-83-246

The full results for each division are available here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PGA Tour Second-Stage Qualifier at Deerwood

A second-stage qualifier in the PGA Tour Q-School process was completed Saturday at Deerwood Golf Club in Kingwood. The Top 21 plus ties advance to the Q-School finals. Here are those golfers:

Chris Stroud, Houston, TX, 274
Drew Laning, Little Rock, AR, 278
Willie Wood, Edmond, OK, 279
Michael Putnam, Lakewood, WA, 279
Richard Johnson, Fort Smith, AR, 281
Mathias Gronberg, Spring Lake, NJ, 281
Brian Duncan, Mt. Pleasant, SC, 282
Brian Stuard, Jackson, MI, 282
Mark Brooks, Ft. Worth, TX, 282
Brad Elder, Reston, VA, 282
Dave Schultz, Fargo, ND, 282
Nick Beach, Fayetteville, AR, 283
B.J. Staten, Dallas, TX, 283
David Hearn, Canada, 283
Glen Day, Little Rock, AR, 283
Keith Huber, Fresno, CA, 283
Neal Lancaster, Smithfield, NC, 283
Vance Veazey, Memphis, TN, 284
Dustin Risdon, Canada, 284
Dong Yi, Phoenix, AZ, 284
Scott Gardiner, Farmington, AR, 284

Some of the notables who failed to make it out of this qualifier included Craig Bowden, Joel Kribel, J.L. Lewis and Omar Uresti. The full results are available here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NTPGA Match Play Championship Goes to Johns

Tournament report from the Northern Texas PGA:

IRVING – The final match of the Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship featured the No. 23 seed Jamie Elliott, the director of instruction at Bridlewood Golf Club in Flower Mound, playing the No. 8 seed Travis Johns, assistant golf professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas.

The final match of the championship through the first seven holes was all square. Each player was only able to gain a 1-up advantage before letting it slip away. The turning point in the match came on the par four eighth hole where Johns pitched in for a birdie from the left greenside rough to win the hole. Johns went on to win the next two holes stretching his lead to 3-up through ten holes.

Elliott made his move by making birdie on the par four eleventh hole to cut Johns' lead to only 2-up. Hole 12 was halved with each player making par on the difficult uphill par four. The par three thirteen hole became pivotal as Elliott was not able to get up and down after missing the green hole high to the left. Johns went on to make par on the thirteenth pushing his lead back to 3-up and never looked back.

Johns went into hole 16 only needing a halve to win the match. Elliott had an opportunity there to keep the match going but left his birdie putt hanging on the edge of the hole. Johns' par was good enough for the halve and the 3 & 2 win over Elliott.

This is Johns' second Northern Texas PGA major championship title, with his other victory coming in the 2005 NTPGA Assistants Championship.

The Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Match Play Championship was contested on November 10-12 at Four Seasons Resort and Club (TPC) in Irving, a 7,166 yard, par 70 layout. The top 32 players on the final 2008 Cleveland Golf / Club Car NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge were invited to compete in the season-ending major championship. Johns took home $4,000 of the $34,400 purse for his victory.

View the championship bracket for results of all matches played.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Texas Swing" On PGA Tour's 2009 Schedule

The Texas Open, Byron Nelson Championship and Colonial will make up a three-week "Texas Swing" in 2009, it was finally confirmed when the 2009 PGA Tour schedule was announced.

The Valero Texas Open moves from the Fall Series portion of the schedule to a Spring date in mid-May, and is followed on the 2009 schedule by the Nelson and Colonial. The Shell Houston Open remains separate from the other three, taking place in April the week before The Masters.

Here are the four Texas events on the schedule:

  • April 2-5: Shell Houston Open, Redstone Golf Club (Tournament Course), Houston
  • May 14-17: Valero Texas Open, La Cantera Golf Club (Resort Course), San Antonio
  • May 21-24: HP Byron Nelson Classic, TPC Four Seasons Resort, Irving
  • May 28-31: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Much of The Ambush at Lajitas Destroyed in Flood

ambush lajitas flood

Out in far West Texas, hard against the Mexican border, sits the Lajitas Resort, a starcrossed project that opened to much fanfare, struggled to stay solvent, and was recently sold to new owners with a plan to revitalize the property.

The Ambush is the resort's golf course, an 18-hole carpet of green in the Chihuahuan desert, designed by Roy Bechtol and Randy Russell and praised by just about every golf who had a chance to play it.

The Ambush is now in ruins, much of the course destroyed by massive flooding along the Rio Grande caused when Mexico was forced to open floodgates and multiple dams along the river to remove the possibility of dam breaks in the aftermath of a tropical storm.

The good news is that the resort believes it can recover nine holes and have them playable again in the near future; the second nine will take a lot more time and effort.

In an article for, author Steve Habel describes the damage:

By the middle of September, only three of our course's holes were above water. "The back nine was entirely flooded for four weeks," said Terri Thate, a spokesperson for Lajitas and the resort's reservation manager. "The devastation was amazing. I have lived here for years, and I had never seen anything like that before."

The back nine of The Ambush course - which included the famed "international" hole that allowed players to tee up a shot in the United States and hit to a green in Mexico, and four holes on an island in the river, are damaged beyond repair.

Portions of The Ambush's front nine, most of which was also underwater, died because the flooding destroyed the course's irrigation system. Once the waters subsided, the grass burned up for lack of water (as ironic as it seems) in the arid desert landscape.

"We may have six or seven holes on the front nine that can be saved and reworked, and that is our current goal," said Edwin Lesley, Lajitas' president and chief executive officer. "We hope to have those nine holes back and playable by March 2009, and then we will turn our attention to the rest of the course."

Read the full article.

Monday, November 03, 2008

New Management for Laredo Course; Upgrades Planned

Southern Golf Properties is a management company based in Bandera. Bryan Gathright, a perennial member of Golf Magazine's Top 100 Teachers list, is one of the principals; Austin course designer Roy Bechtol is also associated with the company.

Southern manages four courses: The Club at ConCan near, well, Concan; The Flying L Guest Ranch in Bandera; Alsatian Golf Club in Castroville; and Utopia Golf Course in Utopia.

Make that five. The company recently won the right to operate Casa Blanca Golf Course in Laredo, beating out notable competition including Kemper Golf Management and Billy Casper Golf Management to be hired by Webb County.

"Southern Golf Properties feels privileged and honored to have been awarded the contract for the management of Casa Blanca Golf Course," said John Junker, Southern Golf's chief executive officer. "We look forward to working with Webb County and serving the community and its golfing needs. Our entire team welcomes this challenge and this wonderful opportunity."

A news release provides further details:

Casa Blanca Golf Course, which plays to 6,539 yards from its back set of three tees and to a par of 72, was designed by Leon Howard and opened for operation in 1967. There have been some changes to the track in the 40-plus years since a tee was first put in the ground, but in recent years Casa Blanca has fallen into disrepair. As a result, rounds – and the accompanying revenue those rounds created for the county and the community – have decreased substantially.

"We are all excited about working with Southern Golf Properties and the changes and the improvements they have proposed for Casa Blanca Golf Course," said Rosaura “Wawi” Tijerina, Webb County Commissioner for Precinct 2. "The management, operation and maintenance of Casa Blanca is a quality of life issue for the citizens of Webb County and – we believe – that having Southern Golf Properties at the course will improve that quality of life."

To aid in that direction, Webb County has pledged funds to Casa Blanca's revival and eventual renovation. Southern Golf Properties' plan of attack for the course begins this week with a thorough testing of soil and water at the track and the firm has set a Nov. 28, 2008 deadline to return to Webb County with a list of proposed capital improvements.

"Our first order of business would be improving playing conditions for local golfers," Junker said. "We anticipate doing work on the hitting surfaces of the golf course – including the fairways – and improving the putting greens," Junker said. "We have a great team with Southern Golf and a lot of knowledge, a lot of experience. We feel very confident we can get things going here."

Junker added that community outreach will also be high on the company's priority list. "We are going to try to find out what the needs are of the community, and we address those needs," he said. "We want to get kids involved, we’ll get adults involved and we’ll try to get the ladies of the community involved. We will go to them. We'll go to the schools. We take that very seriously."

Saturday, November 01, 2008

More PGA Tour First-Stage Qualifying Results

Here are the golfers who made it through first-stage qualifying tournaments for PGA Tour Q-School at two Texas locations over the past week. Only those golfers who are advancing into the second stage are listed.

Cypresswood Golf Club, Spring
James Love, Denver, CO 276
Philippe Gasnier, Orlando, FL 276
Brice Garnett, Gallatin, MO 276
Diego Vanegas, Colombia 277
Jerod Turner, Hurst, TX 277
Lee Wilson, Canada 278
Rodney Butcher, New Port Richey, FL 279
Sang-Moon Bae, South Korea 279
Richard Lee, Chandler, AZ 279
Ryan Carter, Hacienda Heights, CA 279
Jon Rusk, Washington Crossing, PA 279
Tyrone Mordt, Arlington, TX 279
Mark Leon, Canada 280
Mark Williams, Polono Manor, PA 281
Peter Kaensche, Norway 281
Keven Fortin-Simard, Canada 282
Mike Perez, Scottsdale, AZ 282
George Bradford, Pikesville, MD 283
Matt Richardson, United Kingdom 283
Bryant MacKellar, Fairhope, AL 284
Matt Loving, San Antonio, TX 285
Juan Gil, Argentina 285
Jeff Rangel, Martinez, CA 285
Tommy Medina, Gilbert, AZ 285
Full Results

Stonebridge Ranch Country Club, McKinney
Dave Schultz, Fargo, ND 266
Seung Yul Noh, Lewisville, TX 273
Ben McCaslin, Austin, TX 273
David Jenkins, Overland Park, KS 274
Ricky Martinez, Mesa, AZ 276
Stuart Deane, Arlington, TX 277
Martin Flores, Mansfield, TX 277
Adam Meyer, Fort Worth, TX 278
Mike Wendling, Oklahoma City, OK 278
Martin Piller, Richardson, TX 278
Dustin Risdon, Canada 278
TCharlie Beljan, Mesa, AZ 279
Anders Hultman, Irving, TX 279
Derek Watson, Andrews, TX 279
Richard Scott, Canada 279
B.J. Staten, Dallas, TX 279
Chris Wall, Albuquerque, NM 279
Andrew Bonhomme, Australia 279
Alan McLean, Canada 280
Brian Stuard, Jackson, MI 280
Brett Stegmaier, Vero Beach, FL 280
David Schultz, Dallas, TX 280
Brock Mulder, Dallas, TX 281
Kelly Grunewald, Grand Prairie, TX 281
Ryan Quinn, Lincoln, NE 281
Scott Fawcett, Dallas, TX 281
Trent Rommann, El Paso, TX 281
Tom Johnson, Weaverville, CA 281
Full Results

Saturday, October 25, 2008

PGA Tour Q-School: First Stage at Kingwood

The Top 23 finishers plus ties made it through a PGA Tour Q-School first-stage qualifier played at The Clubs of Kingwood and completed on Friday. Here are those golfers who are moving on to the second stage:

Ryan Vermeer, Lawrence, KS 277
Michael Sims, St. Simons Island, GA 277
Adam Rubinson, Benbrook, TX 278
Patrick Sullivan, Maumelle, AR 278
Daniel Fox, Euless, TX 278
Robert Gates, Spring, TX 280
Brian Duncan, Mt. Pleasant, SC 280
Shawn Stefani, Baytown, TX 282
Greg Sonnier, Lake Charles, LA 283
Craig Lile, Rogers, AR 283
Drew Laning, Little Rock, AR 284
Aaron Townsend, Australia 284
Zoran Zorkic, Humble, TX 284
Payton Osborn, Birmingham, AL 285
Chad Saladin, Atascocita, TX 285
Dawie Van der Walt, Reston, VA 285
Nate Whitson, Ventura, CA 286
Jeremy Jeansonne, Keithville, LA 286
Jon Whittaker, Springdale, AR 286
Ben Willman, The Woodlands, TX 286
Michael Arnaud, Orange, TX 286
Brad Golden, Oklahoma City, OK 287
Nick Beach, Fayetteville, AR 287
Jhonattan Vegas, Maturin, Venezuela 287
Andrew Lanahan, Baton Rouge, LA 287
Full Results


Two of them:

  • Ausin's Champions Tour event, previously known as the FedEx Kinko's Classic, will have a new sponsor beginning in 2009. Triton Financial has taken over sponsorship duties. The Triton Financial Classic will be played June 5-7, 2009, remaining at The Hills Country Club.

    Triton is a partner of the Heisman Trophy Trust and has several former Heisman winners, plus former NFL and college athletes, on its payroll. It plans to utilize those ties to bring more sports celebrities to Austin to participate in tournament week.

  • Dick Rundle of Dallas is the winner of the 2009 Joe Dey Award, given by the USGA for meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. Rundle, now 78, will receive the award Feb. 7 of next year at the USGA's annual meeting.

    Rundle became a volunteer rules official in 1990, working in the Northern Texas PGA section. Over the years, has organized and run championship qualifying for the USGA in North Texas. He is the originator of the equipment trailer containing essential gear for conducting championships and qualifying events - tents, tables, chairs, USGA banners, clocks, flags, and radios - to set up at every host site, and has been a member of the Regional Affairs Committee of the USGA for 15 years.

Friday, October 24, 2008

North Texas Team Revealed for Jordan Cup

The Joe Black Cup isn't the only Ryder Cup-style tournament involving Texas' PGA sections. The Northern Texas PGA also competes in the James P. Jordan Cup Matches, a competition pitting the NTPGA team against one representing the South Central PGA (Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas).

The NTPGA has dominated the series, leading 15-2 overall. The Jordan Cup was first played in 1991 and are named for James P. Jordan, past chairman of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas and Northwood Club member.

The teams are each comprised of 12 assistant professionals. Judd Whiteman, PGA assistant golf professional at Dallas National Golf Club, is the NTPGA captain.

The 2008 James P. Jordan Cup matches take place Nov. 2-3 at Wichita Country Club in Wichita, Kansas.

Here are the members of the NTPGA team:

Judd Whiteman (captain), Dallas National Golf Club, Dallas
Jeff Barton, Preston Trail Golf Club, Dallas
Jason Daly, Denton Country Club, Denton
Angela Ditmore, Green Tree Country Club, Midland
Jeff Hughes, Twin Rivers Golf Club, Waco
Travis Johns, Preston Trail Golf Club, Dallas
Cody Massa, The Cascades, Tyler
Matt Moore, River Crest Country Club, Fort Worth
Paul Norris, Dallas Country Club, Dallas
Brian Ricketts, Preston Trail Golf Club, Dallas
Sean Sciba, The Cascades, Tyler
Jerrod Simmons, Masters Golf and Training Center, Midland

Thursday, October 23, 2008

PGA Tour Confirms the Obvious: Texas Open Moving to TPC

It's been understood for quite some time now that the PGA Tour Texas Open would move from its current location, San Antonio's La Cantera Resort, to a new home, the TPC San Antonio project under construction, as soon as possible.

On Wednesday, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem finally gave the tour's official announcement of that move:

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has announced that the Valero Texas Open will be moving to the AT&T Oaks Course at TPC San Antonio once the facility is completed and ready for play, likely in 2010.

Finchem spoke of the tournament's future move during a Founder Membership launch yesterday evening in San Antonio. The confirmation of a site change follows an announcement in June that the Valero Texas Open is moving from the PGA TOUR Fall Series to May in 2009 to become part of the FedExCup competition.

TPC San Antonio is a 36-hole golf facility adjacent to the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa that currently is under construction. The resort complex is scheduled to open by early 2010. Greg Norman has designed the AT&T Oaks Course, with input from Sergio Garcia as the player consultant. Pete Dye is designing the AT&T Canyons Course with the assistance of Champions Tour member Bruce Lietzke.

"I'm very pleased to confirm what long has been speculated, that the Valero Texas Open will be moving to TPC San Antonio, with a target date of 2010," Finchem said. "We are very excited about the prospect of the AT&T Oaks Course serving as the host course and the JW Marriott Resort as the new home for the tournament. Combined with the shift to May as part of the FedExCup schedule, we believe the Valero Texas Open is well positioned for the future in terms of growth and continued strong charitable contributions."

It should be interesting to gauge player reaction to this move. For years, the La Cantera course has been one of the most unpopular on tour because of its steep up-and-down terrain. On the other hand, La Cantera is an easy course (for the pros, anyway), with rounds in the low 60s common.

So while the new site will be a much easier walk, it will also be a longer course, with real hazards, perhaps even rough that can be grown up for the Tour players. Following the 2008 Texas Open a couple weeks ago, several players were quoted saying they had mixed feelings about the move. After years of the course being one of the least-liked, some PGA Tour guys are apparently starting to feel nostalgic for drive-and-pitch holes and low 60s scores.

LPGA Pro Staging Charity Tourney - at Night - in Fort Worth

Charity tournaments are common in the world of golf. Celebrity charity tournaments are easy to find, too. And charity pro-am event - where the pro might be a touring professional - can't be considered rare. But a charity pro-am tournament, with touring pros, played at night? Using glow-in-the-dark golf balls?

That sounds like fun. And that's what the LPGA's Angela Stanford has arranged in Fort Worth.

Here's the news release. Be sure to visit for additional details or to register.

Fort Worth - Oct. 22, 2008—Top-ranked LPGA golfer Angela Stanford is bringing professional golfers and the Fort Worth community together for a nighttime golf tournament to raise money for two of the area’s charities. The third annual Let Your Light Shine Angela Stanford Charity Golf Tournament will be held November 1 at Diamond Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth. Proceeds will benefit the Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth and Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County.

The event includes a junior clinic, dinner, silent auction and nine holes of golf in which each team is paired with an LPGA professional or a member of the TCU women’s golf team. Players use glow-in-the-dark golf balls to play on illuminated holes.

"I am blessed to be able to make a career out of playing golf, and I want to use my talent to help others," Stanford said. "The tournament is wonderful because people come together for a good cause and have fun doing something they wouldn’t normally do."

Last year, the tournament raised over $38,000, and paid for everything from groceries for a needy family to a used car for a single working mother. Stanford began the charity golf tournament in 2006.

Stanford achieved eight top-10 finishes in 2008, including winning the Bell Micro LPGA Classic, tying for third-place at the Samsung World Championship, and finishing second place at the Longs Drugs Challenge. She is currently in the top 20 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

All proceeds from the event are to be shared between the Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth and Mental Health Mental Retardation of Tarrant County. The money will support Lena Pope Home’s Holiday at Home program, which provides toys and practical gifts such as shoes and clothing to needy children and families.

The MHMRTC Residential Services program provides residential services for persons with mental retardation, autism, and behavioral disorders. Money raised by the tournament will be used for Special Olympics, recreation, and other activities planned for residents.

The tournament gives participants the chance to play on one of Fort Worth’s great golf courses. Diamond Oaks Country Club meanders along creeks and streams and is framed by massive, 100-year-old oak and pecan trees.

The tournament is sponsored by Jerry's of Weatherford. Teams can register online at

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NTPGA Chrysler Club Championship

From the Northern Texas PGA:

IRVING – Eight amateurs will advance to the Chrysler Club Championship National Finals after finishing in the top four of both the men’s and women’s divisions today at the Chrysler Club Championship Regional Tournament presented by Golf Digest Publications.

The champion of the men’s division was Kent Yarbrough of The Vaquero Club after firing an even par 71. Yarbrough also captured this Championship in 2006. Mina Hardin of Mira Vista Country Club won the women’s division with a round of 74.

In the men’s division, Yarbrough will be joined by fellow qualifiers Kenny Davis of Split Rail Links and Golf Course, Lewis Stephenson of Walnut Creek Country Club and Trip Leon of Dallas National Golf Club.

In the women’s division, Hardin will have fellow competitors Jamie Senter of Shady Oaks Country Club, Debra Woolf of Colonial Country Club and Nancy Beck of Brook Hollow Golf Club join her in the national event.

The regional Chrysler Club Championship, held at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas is one of eight regional tournaments conducted across the country. The 18-hole individual stroke play event featured 98 men and women club champions or runners-up from area private, public and resort facilities. The Chrysler Club Championship National Finals will be held in conjunction with the Merrill Lynch Shootout at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida on December 10-14, 2008. The top place male and female finishers in the National Tournament will advance to compete alongside the world’s best players in the 2009 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic Pro-Am on January 14-18, 2009.

Men's Qualifiers
Kent Yarbrough (a), The Vaquero Club, 71
Kenny Davis (a), Split Rail Links and Golf Course, 72
Lewis Stephenson (a), Walnut Creek Country Club, 73
Trip Leon (a), Dallas National Golf Club, 74

Women's Qualifiers
Mina Hardin (a), Mira Vista Country Club, 74
Jamie Senter (a), Shady Oaks Country Club, 76
Debra Woolf (a), Colonial Country Club, 76
Nancy Beck (a), Brook Hollow Golf Club, 76

AT&T Championship Monday Qualifiers

Here are the five golfers who gained entry into this week's Champions Tour AT&T Championship in San Antonio via the Monday Qualifier:

John Morse, Marshall, Mich., 63
Jeff Klein, Mitchell, Neb., 65
Ronnie Black, Tucson, Ariz., 65
Kirk Hanefeld, Acton, Mass., 66
Donnie Hammond, Heathrow, Fla., 66

Monday, October 20, 2008

Adams Tour Wraps up 2008 Season

The Adams Golf Pro Tour Series wrapped up its 2008 season with the conclusion of the Island View Casino Tour Championship at Windance Country Club in Gulfport, Miss., on Oct. 18.

And Jaxon Brigman is the final winner of the season. Brigman posted rounds of 67-69-70-71 to finish at 11-under 277 and win the $25,000 first prize. Brigman, from Abilene, was two strokes better than a group of five in second place: Scott Abbott (Dallas), A.J. Elgert (Lincoln, Neb.), Brice Garnett (Gallatin, Mo.), Shaun Melville (Lubbock) and Brett Lederer (Long Beach, Calif.).

With the victory Brigman also moved up to finish the season second on the money list:

1. Mark Walker, $50,690
2. Jaxon Brigman, $47,813
3. Shaun Melville, $38,382
4. David Jenkins, $36,753
5. Brian Kortan, $33,464
6. Brett Lederer, $32,836
7. Ryan Vermeer, $32,598
8. Brett Callas, $30,444
9. Dawie Van der Walt, $29,158
10. Tyler Leon, $29,098

Walker won three times in six starts on the tour during 2008, and Brigman won twice in eight starts.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

San Antonio's Brackenridge Almost Ready for Prime Time

brackenridge golf course re-opening

Historic Course Has "Soft" Opening

The Alamo City Golf Trail, the new name of the City of San Antonio's municipal golf courses and the DBA of the organization now running them, recently announced a "soft opening" of historic Brackenridge Golf Course following that course's $4.5 million renovation.

A "soft opening" means that the course can be played by the general public at this time - but with limits. Between now and Dec. 1, golfers can pay $250 to play Brackenridge. Money raised during this period will be used to help renovate the clubhouse and build a Texas Golf Hall of Fame and Museum.

The ACGT says in a press release about Brackenridge, the first 18-hole municipal golf course built in Texas, and designed by legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast:

After appearing very tired and worn for way too long, Brackenridge Park Golf Course has recaptured the luster, beauty and mystique that has distinguished it as the birthplace of Texas golf. The Alamo City Golf Trail, the local non-profit assigned to revitalize the city’s municipal golf courses, has devoted the last eight months and $4.5 million to restore Brackenridge and bring it back to Tillinghast's original design.

"Brack is one of the most important golf courses in the U.S., and the only golf course that is a member of the Texas Golf Hall of Fame. We hope that those who have played Brack for many years appreciate the renovations and the significance that A. W. Tillinghast's golf course brings to this community," says Jim Roschek, president and CEO of The Alamo City Golf Trail.

"The renovation of The Brackenridge Park Golf Course shows the City's commitment to municipal golfers and its appreciation of the history that surrounds this golf course," he says.

Today Brackenridge Park Golf Course is postcard-picture perfect – from the elevated tee boxes to new cart paths, lush fairways, trimmed tree canopies and uniquely shaped greens.

The routing on the front nine holes is the same, but there is significantly more tee space, many more bunkers and five new species of turf. On the back nine, the routing is completely changed, and seven of the original nine holes are back in play. The new layout includes a mock realignment of the San Antonio River through the course and the historic, stone bridges are back in use.

brackenridge golf course re-opening

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Group Fighting Proposed Walking Ban at Grapevine Muni

Reader John Dewey sent in a note about a situation brewing in Grapevine, where the Grapevine Golf Advisory Board has recommended banning walking on weekends at the municipal golf course. Another group has created an online petition opposing the move.

This proposed change is raising hackles among many longtime players of Grapevine Muni who love their walk. And it's creating consternation among some about the effects on junior golf. Mr. Dewey points out that course rules require golf cart drivers to be 18 years of age. Does that mean juniors will no longer be able to play on weekends (at least without the accompaniment of an adult)?

The USGA makes no bones about its stance on walking vs. riding. David Fay of the USGA has written:

"We strongly believe that walking is the most enjoyable way to play golf and that the use of carts is detrimental to the game. This negative trend needs to be stopped now before it becomes accepted that riding in a cart is the way to play golf."

Many traditionalists believe the only way to properly appreciate a golf course is to walk it. Many instructors believe walking improves your play, helping with the rhythms of the game and giving you time to see what lays ahead of you as you approach the next shot. And of course, there are the health benefits (not to mention the benefits to the course from keeping carts off the turfgrass).

Ostensibly, the Grapevine rule was recommended to improve pace of play. But often that reason is just a red herring. Golf courses love carts because they increase revenue. They do so by allowing the addition of that cart fee, and by allowing the pro shop to get more golfers onto the course.

But counterintuitively, carts often slow play, not speed it up. Because there are more golfers on the course, which leads to bottlenecks at par-3s and reachable par-5s.

This isn't intended as a diatribe against carts, which can be very helpful - even necessary - for some golfers. People who needs carts or simply prefer them should have access to them; people who prefer to walk should be allowed to walk.

Grapevine golfer Jeff Dodson and Grapevine High School golf coach Brian Humphreys are leading the effort to have the recommendation to ban walking on weekends dropped. If you'd like to offer your support of their position, visit their online petition.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

North Wins Joe Black Cup Matches

The Northern Texas PGA now owns a one-win advantage over the Souther Texas PGA in the annual Ryder Cup-style matches. Here is the wrapup from the NTPGA:

LUFKIN – The Northern Texas PGA captured the 28th Texas Joe Black Cup Matches by an overall point total of 14.5 to 9.5.

The Northern Texas PGA took a commanding eight-point lead into the Singles Matches on day two. The Southern Texas PGA team came out strong in the Singles Matches by winning the first three matches. The tension in the matches grew as the Northern Texas PGA only needed 2.5 points to capture the cup but was only leading in two out of the nine remaining matches at the time.

Two of the needed points came from match four and match five with Mark Viskozki defeating David Pilsner 6 & 5 and Greg Antunes defeating Carl Baker 3 & 2. The clinching points came from Larry Bryan who halved his match with Ricky Arnett and Jim Stalder defeated Randy Jones 3 & 2. Britt Patton added to the Northern Texas PGA point total by winning his match 2 up over Justin Orbin.

The team records were tied going into the matches with each team sharing a 13-13-1 overall record. The Northern Texas PGA now leads the matches with a 14-13-1 overall record.

The teams from each section were represented by their Section President, Senior Points Leader, top 9 PGA directors of golf and head golf professionals, and a Captain's Pick of a PGA director of golf or head golf professional. Ronny Glanton, head golf professional at Sherrill Park Golf Course in Richardson served as the Northern Texas PGA captain with Steve Bowman, teaching professional at the Matt Swanson School of Golf at Wildcat in Houston serving as the Southern Texas PGA captain.

The matches were contested at Crown Colony Country Club, a 6,692 yard, par 72 layout in Lufkin.

The Texas Joe Black Cup Matches is an annual competition between the Northern Texas PGA and the Southern Texas PGA Sections. The Ryder Cup style format features 12 golf professionals from each Section competing in Foursome and Four-Ball Matches the first day followed by Singles Matches the final day. The event was started in 1981 to honor Joe Black, a Snyder native who was completing his first year as President of The PGA of America. One point was awarded to a winning match and half a point awarded to any match tied after eighteen holes. The Northern Texas PGA needed 12.5 points to capture the cup while the Southern Texas PGA needed 12 points to retain the cup.

The match-by-match results can be viewed here.

Administaff Small Business Classic Monday Qualifier

The 2008 Champions Tour Administaff Small Business Classic tees off at The Woodlands Country Club on Friday. The Monday qualifier was played on ... well, why don't you just guess which day it was played?

Here are the golfers who earned spots in the field:

Mitch Adams, Cary, N.C., 68
John Morse, Marshall, Mich., 68
James Chancey, Altamonte Springs, Fla., 69
Mark Johnson, Kingsland, 69
Massy Kuramoto, Torrance, Calif., 69

The four alternates are Mark W. Johnson, Hillendale, Calif.; John Ross, Freeman, W.Va.; Gary Hallberg, Castle Rock, Col.; Mike San Filippo, Hobe Sound, Fla.

And among those whose entered the qualifier by didn't make it were Ron Streck, David Ogrin, Kenny Knox, Lon Hinkle, Mitch Adcock, Danny Edwards, Mike Donald, Ronnie Black, Marty Fleckman and Dick Mast. No wonder they say the Champions Tour is the hardest tour in the world to get onto.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Results: Adams Community Bank Golf Classic

Jon Whittaker of Springdale, Ark., posted four rounds in the 60s - his highest score of the week was 68 - to easily claim the trophy at the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series Community Bank Golf Classic, plays Oct. 8-11. The tournament was played at Northwood Country Club in Meridian, Miss.

Whittaker closed with a round of 66 after shooting 66-64-68 in the first three rounds. His total of 264 was 20-under-par, and six strokes better than the four golfers tied for second. Among those four was the only Texan in the Top 5, Seth Murphy of Athens.

Top 5
Jon Whittaker, Springdale, Ark., 66-64-68-66--264
Trey Denton, Madison, Miss., 70-65-68-67--270
Joshua Carmichael, Auckland, NZ, 70-66-66-68--270
Brian Rowell, Lafayette, La., 67-65-69-69--270
Seth Murphy, Athens, 66-70-63-71--270
Full Results

The Adams Tour has one event left on its 2008 schedule, the Island View Casino Tour Championship Oct. 15-18 at Windance Country Club in Gulfport, Miss.

Friday, October 10, 2008

TGA State Senior Four Ball Results

The recap from the Texas Golf Association:

A great week of weather led to a great week of golf at the 2008 State Senior Four Ball Championship. The Honors Golf Club of Dallas did a tremendous job in hosting its first TGA Championship. Even with the perfect conditions, the course still challenged the players and made things interesting in the final round.

The team of Jim Hays and Mike Rice played very well the first two days, but after rounds of 71 and 66 they still found themselves behind by one shot. Hays, of Prosper, and Rice, from Houston , made their move early in the final round and did not leave anything to chance. After birdies at the second and third holes which gave the team the lead, Rice made a crucial par save on the par 3 fourth hole to stay out front. Their final round of four under par 68 was good enough for a two shot victory in the Senior Division.

Bill Caveness and Tom Doughtie held the lead after each of the first two rounds, but were unable to bring home the title. The team fired the low gross round of the championship with a 65 in round one, but could not break 70 in either of the last two rounds. A final round 71 left Caveness and Doughtie in a tie for second. The low gross round of the day went to Peter Dahlberg and Dee Johnston, which vaulted them all the way into a tie for second place. With excellent conditions and strong play, fourteen teams in the Senior Division were able to break par in the final round, and nine teams managed the same feet for the week.

In the Super Senior Division, one team was able to break par all three days and in doing so ran away to a nine shot victory. Art Hull and David Hull used rounds of 70 and 69 on the first two days, and finished with the low super senior round of week, a five under par 67. The team of Frank Luke and Carey Schulten entered the final round just one shot off the lead, but a final round 75 dropped them into a tie for second place. The team of Don Grider and Don Neff used a final round of two under par to move into a tie for second place.

The final round in the Net Division started with a three way tie for the lead, but the team of Eddie Bock and Bill Thomas pulled away from the field. After an opening round 73, Bock and Thomas caught fire shooting 64 in each of the last two rounds. With a total of fifteen under par, Bock and Thomas cruised to a three shot victory. The teams of Perley/Sharber and Meadows/Scaccia entered the day tied for the lead, but ended the day tied for second after rounds of 67.

For the full list of scores, click here.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Bridges Opens in Gunter

the bridges golf club gunter texas

A Fred Couples Signature Course, designed by Boom-Boom working with Jeffrey Bauer Design, The Bridges Golf Club is in Gunter, near the FM 121/Highway 289 intersection, about eight miles from Van Alstyne, about 19 miles north of the Dallas North Tollway.

The club, part of a development called The Bridges at Preston Crossing, celebrated its official grand opening earlier this week. Brauer described the layout this way:

"It has a modern length at about 7,600 yards from the championship tees and some other modern features like fairway chipping areas. It also features many old-style design characteristics like square cornered tees and smaller steep banked grass bunkers. Many of the greens have great contours while others are protected by sharp banks rather than the traditional sand bunkers."

The Bridges is a semi-private club; membership info is available here. For daily fee players, at the time of opening the peak rate Monday-Thursday is $45; Friday-Sunday it's $65.

the bridges golf club gunter texas

the bridges golf club gunter texas

Fleckman Wins Senior Series Tour Championship

Former PGA Tour winner Marty Fleckman was the winner of the Southern Texas PGA's Senior Series Tour Championship, completed Tuesday in Sealy. Here is the report from the STPGA:

Marty Fleckman of Cypress posted a 36-hole total of 4-under-par 70-68—138 to win the Overall competition and the Super Senior Division of the season-ending STPGA Senior Series Tour Championship at River Ridge Golf Club in Sealy.

Fleckman earned, the director of instruction at Blackhorse Golf Club in Cypress, earned $300 for the overall title and $500 for winning the Super Senior group.

David Faulkner of Humble finished second in the Super Senior Division, finishing four strokes back of Fleckman at 72-70—142 to win $400. Amateur Gordon Norwood of Cypress finished in third place at 71-75—146, good for $340 in earnings.

Three golfers finished in a first-place tie at 2-under-par 140 in the tournament’s Senior Division. Amateur Juan Salcedo of The Woodlands went 69-71, John Aguillon of San Antonio posted rounds of 68 and 72 and Houston’s Steve Parker went 71-69 to force the tie; all three took home $486.67 in winnings.

Overall Winner
Marty Fleckman, Cypress, 70-68—138

Senior Division Top 5
John Aguillon, San Antonio, 68-72--140
a-Juan Salcedo, The Woodlands, 69-71--140
Steve Parker, Houston, 71-69--140
a-Ronald Kilby, McAllen, 71-70--141
Steve Trafton, Austin, 72-70--142

Super Seniors Top 5
Marty Fleckman, Cypress, 70-68--138
David Faulkner, Humble, 72-70--142
a-Gordon Norwood, Cypress, 71-75--146
Ray Lease, Dickinson, 72-76--148
Ben Graves, Kingwood, 75-76--151
Johnnie Felps, McGregor, 76-75--151

Full results

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Texas Swing Tour Notes

The pro tours are in Texas this week and the couple after. Here are a few notes courtesy of the PGA Tour:

Texas Open
  • Justin Leonard will be seeking his record fourth Valero Texas Open title this week. Leonard's record at the event is as good as it is consistent. He’s won three times, finished second twice and made the cut in 9 of 10 starts. He's 121-under par for his career in the tournament with 31 of his 38 rounds in the 60s.

  • In the history of the PGA Tour, the winning 72-hole score has been under 260 15 times—five of them coming at the Valero Texas Open. Included in that number is the all-time record of 254 set by Tommy Armour III when he won the 2003 Valero Texas Open.

  • Davis Love III, in the field at the Texas Open, finished in tied for third last week at the Turning Stone Resort Championship for his best showing since winning the 2006 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro.

    WNB Golf Classic
  • The Nationwide Tour is in Texas this week for the WNB Golf Classic at Midland CC. While the course is among the longest on Tour at 7,380 yards, last year it surrendered 63 eagles, a total exceeded in only two other events. The 559-yard 12th hole was eagled 29 times while the 536-yard 4th gave up 22 eagles.

  • After this wee'’s WNB Golf Classic, only two events will remain to qualify for the 60-man field at the Nationwide Tour Championship at TPC Craig Ranch. Cameron Percy is currently 60th on the money list with $96,118 in earnings, but the next 14 players on the list are less than $10,000 behind him.

    Administaff Small Business Classic
  • Hal Sutton will make his Champions Tour debut next week when the Tour heads to Houston for the Administaff Small Business Classic. It will be Sutton’s first start anywhere since the 2006 Nissan Open on the PGA Tour.

  • Monday Qualifying Results: Texas Open, WNB Classic

    There were two Monday qualifiers held yesterday (Monday!), one for the PGA Tour Texas Open in San Antonio, another for the Nationwide Tour WNB Golf Classic in Midland. Here are the qualifiers from each who gained entry into the Tour events:

    PGA Tour Texas Open
    Pecan Valley Golf Club
    Jhonattan Vegas, Austin, 68
    Bruce Smith, Frisco, 68
    David Ogrin, New Braunfels, 69
    Phil Tataurangi, Flower Mound, 69

    Nationwide Tour WNB Golf Classic
    Two qualifying sites were used, each sending the Top 7 into the tournament's main draw.

    Green Tree Country Club
    Franklin Corpening, Fort Worth, 65
    Blake Adams, Swainsboro, Ga., 65
    Andrew Dresser, Carrollton, 65
    Reid Edstrom, Auburn, Ala., 66
    Lee Williamson, Winter Garden, Fla., 66
    Will Dodson, Dallas, 66
    Tom Gillis, Oxford, Mich., 66

    Ranchland Hills Golf Club
    Justin Otto, Llano, 63
    Chris Myers, Southlake, 64
    Jim Lemon, Madison, Wisc., 64
    Ryan Howison, Jupiter, Fla., 65
    Dustin Risdon, Strathmore, Alb., 65
    Andy Connell, Spring, 65
    Michael McCabe, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 66

    Monday, October 06, 2008

    Arkansan Claims Adams Title in Louisiana

    Patrick Sullivan of Maumelle, Ark., was the winner on Sunday in the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series' Guaranty Bank Classic, played at Black Bear Golf Club in Delhi, La. Sullivan posted rounds of 73-65-66-75 for a 9-under total of 279 and the $15,000 first prize check. He finished two strokes clear of the group in second place.

    Top 5 Finishers
    Patrick Sullivan, Maumelle, 73-65-66-75--279
    Drew Laning, Little Rock, 75-71-69-66--281
    John Elizondo, San Antonio, 68-72-72-69--281
    Michael Arnaud, Beaumont, 70-70-70-72--282
    Par Nilsson, Oklahoma City, 69-66-70-77--282
    Full Results

    Two Mississippi tournaments are all that remain on the tour's 2008 schedule.

    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    Nicklaus Designing Ultra-Exclusive Course in Prosper

    If you're a very Prosper-ous individual who loves golf and exclusivity, you'll probably be interested in BearsBrook Golf Club.

    That's the name of a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course that will be built in Prosper, north of Dallas. "The site features 120 feet of elevation changes, thousands of hardwood trees, and meandering streams," the article published on Cybergolf says.

    Construction is expected to start in 2009, with the target opening in Fall 2010. When it opens, BearsBrook will be part of something called the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, "a reciprocity program involving 25 Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Courses in locations around the world."

    Only the 35 founders or associate members at each of the member clubs will be able to access all the other courses within the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club. Among the other courses in the club are Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic, The Bear's Club in Jupiter, Fla., and Muirfield Village in Ohio.

    Contact info for the BearsBrook development is available in the Cybergolf article linked above.

    Friday, October 03, 2008

    Texas Open Pre-Qualifying Results

    The pre-qualifier for the PGA Tour Valero Texas Open was played this week at Pecan Valley Golf Club in San Antonio. The Top 50 finishers in the pre-qualifier advance to the final qualifier (a k a, the Monday qualifier) that is played tournament week. The Texas Open takes place next week, Oct. 9-12, at La Cantera Golf Club in San Antonio.

    Martin Piller of Richardson and Bryan Novoa of San Antonio were co-medalists in the pre-qualifier, shooting 67.

    Other qualifiers included San Antonian and former "Big Break" bad boy Anthony Rodriguez; Jhonattan Vegas of Austin, an accomplished collegiate golfer at UT; Richard Lee of Arizona by way of Canada, a former junior standout who turned pro in 2007 at the age of 16; and Jeff Burns, a San Antonian and mini-tour veteran and former Nationwide Tour player.

    These are the 50 golfers who move on to the Monday qualifier:

    67 - Martin Piller, Richardson; Bryan Novoa, San Antonio
    69 - Will Griffin, San Antonio; Jhonattan Vegas, Austin
    70 - Jamie Amoretti, San Antonio; Anthony Rodriguez, Spring Branch
    71 - Matthew Loving, San Antonio; Todd Mayfield, Anna; Richard Lee, Chandler, Ariz.
    72 - Bruce Smith, Frisco; Nathan Camacho, San Antonio; Roger Stebbins, Cypress; Jeremy Frye, Palestine; Michael Mezei, Lethbridge, Ala.; Billy Castro, Von Ormy; Jeff Burns, San Antonio
    73 - Corbin King, Round Rock; Alan Johnson, League City; Gabe Reynolds, San Marcos; J.T. Kohut, Stockton, Calif.; Randy Jones, San Antonio; Stuart Deane, Arlington; Thomas Kearney, San Antonio; Jeremy Wilkinson, San Antonio; Trey Wilkins, Sugar Land
    74 - Jonathan Ocanas, San Antonio; Matt Johnston, Winnipeg, Can.; Michael Hillis, Utopia; Jung Kim, Houston; Ben Troester, Boerne
    75 - Mac Wylie, Boerne; Patrick Bell, Universal City; Michael Levine, Live Oak; Ian Ford, Sioux Lookout, Ontario, Can.; Lance Littleton, San Antonio; Winn Smith, Autin
    76 - Jonathan Lenz, San Antonio; Greg Puga, Los Angeles; Ray Garza Jr., San Antonio; Kc Lim, San Antonio; Robert Meyers II, San Antonio; Carlo Grever-DeVicenzo, San Antonio
    77 - Julius Gonzales, Beeville
    78 - Chad Marti, Baytown; Raymond Caldwell, San Antonio; Brandon Ellis, San Antonio;
    Randy Clark, Argyle; Isaac Idstein, Canyon Lake; Todd McFarland, Fischer; David Studebaker, Wichita Falls; Derek Brown, Cleburne

    Thursday, October 02, 2008

    The Nelson Gets a New Title Sponsor

    HP recently acquired EDS. And that means that the PGA Tour's Byron Nelson Championship has acquired a new title sponsor.

    The 2009 HP Byron Nelson Championship will take place May 18-24 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas in Irving. EDS had been the title sponsor since 2003, but that company's sale to HP closed on Aug. 26, and HP decided to continue the title sponsorship.

    "The Byron Nelson Championship is about much more than golf; it is about giving back to the community and honoring the legacy of one of golf's greatest humanitarians, Byron Nelson," said Michael Mendenhall, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, HP. "HP is privileged to become the title sponsor of this great event on the PGA Tour."

    Tuesday, September 30, 2008

    Texas Senior Open Moving to Kingwood

    The Texas Senior Open is about a month and a half away, and in 2008 the tournament has a new home after 10 years at South Padre Island Golf Club. Below is the news from the Southern Texas PGA, along with eligibility requirements and qualifying information.

    After a 10-year run at South Padre Island Golf Club, Texas' premier senior championship is moving to The Clubs of Kingwood in Houston. The 2008 championship, now known as the Maker's Mark Texas Senior Open, will take place Nov. 18-21 on the Forest Course at The Clubs of Kingwood.

    With the tournament's relocation to The Club’s of Kingwood course for 2008, Maker's Mark, a Kentucky distiller of premium bourbon whisky, has taken on the title sponsor role for the tournament.

    The tournament is open to all professionals and amateurs with a U.S.G.A. Handicap Index of 9.0 or less who are aged 50 and above as of Nov. 19, 2008. Professionals will compete for cash prizes and amateurs for merchandise certificates.

    Rick Karbowski of Frisco won the 2007 Texas Senior Open with a 54-hole total of 71-68-70—209, finishing 3 strokes up on 2006 champion Chuck Moran of Houston, who posted a 4-under-par total of 212. Karbowski earned $14,000 for the victory, while Moran took home a runner-up share of $10,000.

    Richard Lapierre of San Antonio finished at 74-76-77—227 to earn low amateur honors for the second consecutive year, good for a merchandise certificate of $750.

    Golfers who are not otherwise exempt from qualifying may gain access to the championship through competition in five 18-hole qualifying events (Oct. 21 on the Tournament Course at The Woodlands Country Club; Oct. 23 at Stonebridge Ranch Country Club in McKinney; Oct. 28 at Tangle Ridge Golf Club in Grand Prairie; Nov. 5 at The Onion Creek Club in Austin; and Nov. 16 in "Last Chance" qualifying on the host course at the Clubs of Kingwood).

    The number of qualifiers from each of the first four qualifying events will be determined on a pro-rata basis depending upon the size of the field. The “Last Chance” qualifier, open to any previously unsuccessful qualifier and any eligible golfer missing the entry deadline, will produce a minimum of 10 qualifiers for the championship.

    The deadline for entry into the first four qualifying events and the championship is Oct. 16, 2008. The deadline for entering the "Last Chance" qualifier is Nov. 14.

    All entrants into the qualifying tournaments will pay an entry fee of $175, which includes green and cart fees and practice balls. Successful qualifiers will pay an additional $225 entry fee for the championship; all exempt players will pay a $400 entry fee.

    A pro-am will precede the 2008 Maker’s Mark Texas Senior Open on the Forest Course at The Clubs of Kingwood on Tuesday, Nov. 18. Teams of one professional and four amateurs will compete in a two best balls (one gross and one net) format during the pro-am.

    The first 15 professionals entering a team in the pro-am will receive exemptions into the championship field.

    For more information about the 2008 Maker's Mark Texas Senior Open, please call the Southern Texas PGA office at 832-442-2404 or visit the STPGA web site at You may also call the Forest Course golf shop at 281-348-2217.

    Sunday, September 28, 2008

    Texas Clubs Dominate "Best Players" Rankings

    The Golf Digest Index is an annual edition devoted to the finer things. You know: Lots of articles about cigars, cognacs and BMWs. This year's issue included a ranking of "The 50 Clubs with the Best Players." The ranking is the publication's attempt to determine the country clubs across America with the highest-quality golfing membership.

    Or rather, the highest-quality of high-quality golfers. To be considered for the list, private clubs submitted the handicap indices of their 10 best amateur golfers, only four of whom could be college-age. Golf Digest Index averaged those 10 handicaps, then ranked the clubs accordingly.

    And Texas dominated. Eight of the Top 20 clubs in the rankings, including No. 1, are Texas clubs. Those eight are listed below, along with the blurb that GDI included in its rankings:

    1. Dallas Athletic Club
    Mesquite - +2.53 index
    Twenty-six scratch or better golfers inhabit this club, which features two Jack Nicklaus courses and hosted the 1963 PGA Championship and the 1997 Mid-Amateur.

    4. Hollytree Country Club
    Tyler - +2.44
    Former club champs Reggie Howell and Jacky Lee are among the low 10 at this Robert von Hagge/Bruce Devlin layout. Howell was the 2007 Tyler City champ.

    8. The Woodlands Country Club
    The Woodlands - +2.02
    Juan Salcedo recently paired with his son to win the state father-son title, and several members play in national mid-am tournaments. Kirk Noyes has the lowest index at plus-4.3.

    9. Champions Golf Club
    Houston - +2.01
    Founded by Jackie Burke Jr. and Jimmy Demaret in 1958, the club requires a handicap of 14 or lower. Judd McGlohn and Jeff Ingram won the 2007 Champions Cup Invitational - the first win by two members.

    10. La Paloma Golf Club
    Amarillo - +1.98
    Members Kent Neal and Casey Weiss waved the club's flag by winning the Ron Clark tournament and the men's city match play in 2007.

    13. Royal Oaks Country Club
    Dallas - +1.85
    The club's top-10 players include eight-time club champion Chuck Palmer and Georgia Tech junior Paul Haley, winner of the 2006 Texas State Amateur.

    17. Odessa Country Club
    Odessa - +1.56
    The club's original Old Course dates to 1939. Its best golfers are Gary Varnadore and Will Kinnaird, who played for Lubbock Christian.

    20. Abilene Country Club
    Abilene - +1.51
    Current club champ Mike Cotter contributes to the club average, along with mid-ams Ryan Heller and Conway Jordan.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    Fees Going Up at Revamped Brackenridge

    For decades, historic Brackenridge Park Golf Course in San Antonio has been a favorite of the city's senior golfers, junior golfers and beginning golfers. It's a short course, easy to walk, without much trouble. And best of all, cheap.

    The clientele at Brackenridge, however, will likely soon undergo a dramatic shift. And those golfers - especially seniors - will probably wind up finding new places to play.

    That's because Brack - which has been closed this year undergoing extensive renovations - will have much higher greens fees when it reopens later this year, Richard Oliver reports in the San Antonio Express-News.

    Standard fees will more than double, from approximately $32 and $35 dollars (carts included) on weekdays and weekends, respectively, to $75 and $85.

    That much for a muni? Those fees will place Brackenridge among the more expensive courses in San Antonio. And although discounts will be available for seniors and juniors, and a "players card" option will offer another way to reduce fees, the new rates will surely drive many golfers to other area courses.

    But the Municipal Golf Association-San Antonio, the organiztion now running San Antonio's municipal golf courses, seems to be OK with that. Because when Brackenridge reopens on Dec. 1, it will reopen as a sparkling new course restored to its former glory as an A.W. Tillinghast design.

    And the MGA-SA's goal is to have Brackenridge serve as the centerpiece of the city's efforts to sell itself as a golf destination.

    Brackenridge, in other words, will become a golf course targeted as tourists, not at locals. Which isn't necessarily a good or a bad thing, just something different.

    The revamping of Brackenridge (and of its marketing) is certainly a bold move by the MGA-SA. But it's not quite as bold as the vision that Ben Crenshaw had for the course when he and San Antonio developer Buddy Cook were mulling an effort to take over management of the course about six years ago. Crenshaw envisioned extending the River Walk to Brackenridge, and being able to ferry tourists staying at Downtown River Walk hotels to and from the golf course on river barges.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Cameron Doan is NTPGA Player of the Year

    cameron doanCongratulations to Cameron Doan for earning Norther Texas PGA Player of the Year honors. Here is the report from the NTPGA:

    DALLAS, TX – The Northern Texas PGA is pleased to announce that Cameron Doan, head golf professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas, captured the Cleveland Golf/Club Car NTPGA Player of Year Award as well as the Ben Hogan/NTPGA Stroke Play Average Award.

    Doan accumulated a 402.5 point total to capture the 2008 Cleveland Golf/Club Car NTPGA Player of the Year title with four top five finishes. He finished tied for fourth at the E-Z-GO Eastern Championship, first at the Callaway Golf Western Championship, tied for second at the NTPGA Professional Championship and placed third at the FINA NTPGA Section Championship.

    Doan finished the year with a stroke average of 70.50 for eight rounds en route to capturing the 2008 Ben Hogan/ NTPGA Stroke Play Average Award. He recorded seven even par or better rounds in 2008.

    The Cleveland Golf/Club Car NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge is a season long competition that rewards the top-40 finishers in the four major individual stroke play events. The Ben Hogan/NTPGA Stroke Play Average Award requires a minimum of six rounds in the four major individual stroke play events. The four events are the E-Z-GO Eastern Championship, NTPGA PGA Professional Championship, Callaway Golf Western Championship, and the FINA NTPGA Section Championship. The Cleveland Golf/Club Car NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge is presented by Ashworth and KMG Marketing.

    The top 32 finishers in the 2008 Cleveland Golf/Club Car NTPGA Player of the Year Points Challenge will receive invitations into the Cleveland Golf/Club Car Match Play Championship on November 10-12 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving.

    Greg Antunes of Stonetree Golf Club captured the NTPGA Senior Points Challenge. Antunes amassed 362.50 points with three top five finishes, one of which was a win at the FINA NTPGA Seniors Championship at Hurricane Creek Country Club in Anna.

    Joe Black Cup Teams Announced

    The Texas Joe Black Cup Matches is an annual competition pitting teams representing the Northern Texas and Southern Texas sections (the NTPGA and STPGA) of the PGA of America.

    This year the matches are scheduled Oct. 12-14 at Crown Colony Country Club in Lufkin. The series, which is named for Texan Joe Black, a past president of the PGA of America, began in 1981 and is currently tied, 13-13-1.

    Here are the teams:

    Mark Viskozki, Tangle Ridge Golf Club, 2nd appearance
    Greg Antunes, Stonetree Golf Club, 12th appearance
    Greg Sikes, Hogan Park Golf Course, 3rd appearance
    Chris Brown, Mira Vista Country Club, 1st appearance
    Larry Bryan, Big Spring Country Club, 7th appearance
    Cameron Doan, Preston Trail Golf Club, 8th appearance
    Billy Harris, Dallas Country Club, 6th appearance
    Michael Henderson, Stevens Park Golf Course, 2nd appearance
    Robert McMillan, The Retreat, 4th appearance
    Britt Patton, Dallas National Golf Club, 4th appearance
    Jim Stalder, Hurricane Creek Country Club, 4th appearance
    Chad Williams, Corsicana Country Club, 3rd appearance
    Captain - Ronny Glanton, Sherrill Park Golf Course

    David Pilsner, Bay Oaks Country Club, 2nd appearance
    Carl Baker, PGA Life Member, 11th appearance
    Ken Kelly, Walden on Lake Houston, 9th appearance
    Ricky Arnett, Great Hills Country Club, 7th appearance
    Jesse Horner, Horseshoe Bay Resort, 1st appearance
    Randy Jones, Alamo Golf Club, 1st appearance
    Brad Lardon, Miramont Country Club, 2nd appearance
    Ken McDonald, Brae Burn Country Club, 17th appearance
    Justin Orbin, Point Venture Golf Club, 3rd appearance
    Wes Skaggs, Crystal Falls Golf Course, 3rd appearance
    Matt Trevino, River Hill Country Club, 3rd appearance
    Tommy Wolfenberger, Hearthstone Country Club, 1st appearance
    Captain – Steve Bowman, Matt Swanson School of Golf @ Wildcat

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Hot Couture Takes TGA Mid-Am at Home Course, Earns Player of the Year

    The report from the Texas Golf Association on the 2008 Texas Mid-Amateur Championship:

    The final round of the 2008 Texas Mid Amateur lived up to all the excitement and expectations on a beautiful early autumn day on the historic grounds of one of Texas’ finest, Lakewood Country Club. This was the 25th playing of the championship which defines the best amateur player in Texas over the age of 25. After 36 holes in a 54 hole championship the stage was set for a dramatic conclusion.

    Rob Couture of Dallas found himself in a dream scenario on Sunday afternoon; a chance to win the biggest mid amateur championship in the state on his home course with a Player of the Year Title on the line.

    Coming into the final round Couture had an uphill battle on his hands, as he was two shots behind Colin Stoops of McKinney. After the first three holes Stoops led by four in what turned into a two horse race. The turning point in what resembled a match between the two was Couture's run of birdies on holes 8, 9, and 10.

    Couture was able to pour it on from there and said the biggest moment of the day was making his birdie putt on 17 to give him a two-shot cushion going to the last hole. Turns out he needed it, as Couture got up and down from the front of the green for bogey and the win.

    Couture played nearly flawless and had some impressive stats for the week; he only missed six greens in regulation, had just 4 bogeys, and on very difficult greens he did not three putt. All in all, the dream came true for Couture, not only did he win the Texas Mid Amateur on his home course, but with it he claimed 2008 State Player of the Year honors.

    Usually taking a two shot lead into the final round and shooting a 69 equals a victory for that player, but not on this day. Stoops, of McKinney, ran into a man who was not going to lose on his home course. According to Stoops, he was very happy with his play, especially considering he has been away from competitive golf for seven years. Stoops admitted to being a nervous player anyway, and the pressure was turned up a notch on the final hole. Stoops had a very difficult, breaking birdie putt, but a chance to force a playoff nonetheless. The putt just slid by the hole leaving Stoops as the runner-up, but he was thrilled to be back in the heat of competition.

    Ten shots off the lead, in a tie for third place, were Grady Bruce, Aaron Hickman, and Andy McCabe. All three were under par for the weekend, bouncing back from subpar first rounds. McCabe, of Dallas and also a Lakewood member, and Bruce from Georgetown finished with rounds of one under par 70 while Hickman, of Houston, shot even par 71.

    Malcolm Holland, former president of the TGA, used an even par round of 71 to move into a tie for ninth place for the week. Holland, a Lakewood CC member, set a goal to make the top 15 and he did just that with his strong play. Turns out local knowledge can pay off as 6 out of the 8 Lakewood members in the field made the cut to 57 players out of a starting field of 132.

    Top Finishers
    Rob Couture, Dallas, 69-70-66--205
    Collin Stoops, McKinney, 64-73-69--206
    Aaron Hickman, Houston, 74-70-71--215
    Andy McCabe, Dallas, 75-70-70--215
    Grady Bruce, Austin, 77-68-70--215
    Full Results

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Futures Tour Reconfigures Its Texas Swing, Adds Brownsville, SA Tourneys

    The Duramed Futures Tour, the second-highest women's golf tour in America and the official feeder tour of the LPGA, will have two tournaments in Texas again in 2009. They just won't be played in the same cities.

    In recent years, the Futures Tour has played back-to-back weeks in McAllen and El Paso. Starting in 2009, those tournaments are gone. And in their place are back-to-back stops in Brownsville and San Antonio.

    The Brownsville stop replaces the McAllen one, but keeps professional women's golf in the Valley. The Historic Brownsville Open will take place April 24-26, 2009, at Rancho Viejo Country Club. The tournament is contracted through 2011.

    Also contracted through 2011 is a new stop in San Antonio that will be played at Dominion Country Club, which previously had been the longtime host site of the Champions Tour event in the Alamo City.

    That tournament, not yet named, first takes place May 1-3, 2009.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    Houston Courses Recovering After Ike

    Hurricane Ike's impact on golf is somewhere near the very bottom of storm-recovery concerns. There are oodles of more important issues - food, water and shelter, for example - for those affected by the storm.

    But this is a golf blog, and our readers are golfers. So we point you to a Houston Chronicle article that rounds up the effects of Ike on many courses in and around Houston. Some are already back open; others will be soon. The Chronicle runs it down.

    Larsson Defends Title at NTPGA Section Champoinship

    The report from the Northern Texas PGA:

    DALLAS, TX – Dean Larsson, assistant golf professional at Bent Tree Country Club, successfully defended his FINA NTPGA Section Championship title with a closing round of 66 (-4) four under par to finish at 134 (-6) six under par for the Championship.

    Larsson played spectacular golf throughout the day and finished strong with birdies on holes #17 and #18. He was awarded $10,000 for the victory. Larsson also recently captured the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Assistants' Championship in August and this is his third FINA NTPGA Section Championship title, also having won the championship in 2004 and 2007.

    Vince Jewell, assistant golf professional at Brook Hollow Golf Club, followed his fine play from round one with another round of 69 (-1) one under par to finish at 138 (-2) two under par, putting him alone in second place for the Championship.

    Larsson was tied at two under par going into the final round with Greg Antunes, head golf professional at Stonetree Golf Club, and Billy Harris, head golf professional at Dallas Country Club. Antunes closed with a round of 72 (+2) two over par to finish at 140 (E) even par landing him in a tie for fourth place. Harris closed with a 74 (+4) four over par to finish at 142 (+2) two over par placing him in a tie for tenth place for the Championship.

    Along with his victory, Larsson was awarded exemptions into the 2009 PGA Tour EDS Byron Nelson Championship to be conducted May 21-24, 2009 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Irving, and the Nationwide Tour WNB Golf Classic to be conducted on October 9-12, 2008 at Midland Country Club in Midland. Joining Larsson in Midland will be Vince Jewell and Larry Bryan, head golf professional at Big Spring Country Club in Big Spring.

    The current Player of Year Points Challenge leader, Cameron Doan, head golf professional at Preston Trail Golf Club, closed with a round of 68 (-2) two under par to finish at 139 (-1) one under par putting him in third place for the Championship.

    Top Finishers
    Dean Larsson, Bent Tree Country Club, 68-66--134
    Vince Jewell, Brook Hollow Golf Club, 69-69--138
    Cameron Doan, Preston Trail Golf Club, 71-68--139
    Larry Bryan, Big Spring Country Club, 72-68--140
    Perry Arthur, Sherrill Park Golf Course, 71-69--140
    Greg Antunes, Stonetree Golf Club, 68-72--140
    Full Results

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    Hometown Golfer Wins Adams Tour Stop in Lubbock

    The Adams Golf Pro Tour Series made a stop in Lubbock this past weekend, and the event was plagued by weather problems throughout. Originally scheduled for 72 holes, the City Bank Lubbock Open at Hillcrest Country Club was shortened to 54.

    Play began on Thursday, but severe rain, accompanied by flooding, struck the area that day. Most golfers were unable to finish their first rounds on Thursday, and play was canceled altogether on Friday. So golfers squeezed in 54 holes on the weekend.

    And that still wasn't enough, because Lubbock's Shaun Melville and the defending champion, Fort Worth's Adam Meyer, were tied at 16-under par 200. The pair entered into a playoff, and hometown golfer Melville emerged as the champion, making par on the second extra hole to Meyer's bogey.

    Melville, who played Hillcrest many times during his career as a member of the Texas Tech golf team, earned $15,000 for the victory.

    Top Finishers
    Shaun Melville, Lubbock, 66-68-66--200
    Adam Meyer, Fort Worth, 67-67-66--200
    Casey Devoll, Arlington, 69-65-67--201
    Michael Smith, Lafayette, La., 68-68-67--203
    Ryan Vermeer, Lawrence, Kan., 69-67-68--204
    Full Scores

    The next Adams Tour event is Oct. 2-5 in Delhi, La., The Guaranty Bank Classic at Black Bear.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Tim Thelen Wins STPGA Pro Championship

    Here's the report from the Southern Texas PGA on the organization's Professional Championship, played at Miramont Country Club in Bryan:

    Tim Thelen, director of instruction at The Traditions Club at Texas A&M in Bryan, won a sudden-death playoff with David Von Hoffman to win the 2008 Southern Texas PGA Professional Championship at Bryan’s Miramont Country Club

    Thelen held a four-stroke lead over Von Hoffman and Brad Lardon, director of golf at Miramont, heading into the third and final round of the championship.

    "I didn’t hit the ball very well today, but I did what I needed to do," said Thelen, "and it feels good to win. I had played really solid in the first two rounds, but something was just kind of off today."

    Thelen made an 8-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation play to force the playoff— Von Hoffman had moved into a 1-shot lead after Thelen took bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes. His final-hole par left Thelen needing the birdie to force extra holes when both finished regulation play tied at 6-under-par 210.

    The tournament was settled on the first hole of the playoff when Von Hoffman suffered a bogey and Thelen scored a two-putt par on Miramont’s 10th hole.

    Thelen, who also won the STPGA Professional Championship in 2001, earned $7,500 for the championship, while Von Hoffman, an assistant professional at Escondido in Horseshoe Bay, took home the runner-up share of $5,500 for his efforts.

    Brad Lardon, winner of the 2006 STPGA Professional Championship and the director of golf at Bryan’s Miramont Country Club, finished in third place at 69-71-71—211 winning $4,000 in prize money.

    Darron Green, an Austin-based product manager with Callaway Golf, finished in fourth place with a score of 73-71-69—213 for $$3,200.

    Four golfers - Houston’s David Lundstrom (a four-time winner of the STPGA Professional Championship), Wes Skaggs, head professional at Leander’s Crystal Falls Golf Course, Ryan Polzin, an assistant professional at Houston’s Royal Oaks Country Club, and Matt Trevino, head professional at Riverhill Country Club in Kerrville - tied for fifth place at 1-under-par 215 and winnings of $2,175 each.

    A total of 11 Southern Texas PGA professionals will be playing in the 42nd PGA Professional Championship, scheduled for June 28-July 1, 2009, at Twin Warriors Golf Club and Santa Ana Golf Club in Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico.

    Thelen was already exempt into the tournament field, on the strength of his fourth-place finish in the 2008 tournament and his status as a past champion (2000, 2003).

    Joining him as a result of their play in the 2009 STPGA Professional Championship are: Von Hoffman; Lardon; Green; Skaggs, Polzin, Trevino; Jesse Horner, head professional at Horseshoe Bay Resort’s Caprock Course; Robert Thompson, teaching professional at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity; John Gibson, head professional at Bushwood Golf Center in Houston; and Billy Sitton Jr., managing director of Club Corp’s international office in Houston.

    Top Finishers
    p-Tim Thelen, College Station, 67-69-74—210
    David Von Hoffmann, Austin, 71-69-70—210
    Brad Lardon, Bryan, 69-71-71—211
    Darron Green, Austin, 73-71-69—213
    David Lundstrom, Houston, 74-71-70—215
    Wes Skaggs, Leander, 69-74-72—215
    Ryan Polzin, Houston, 72-71-72—215
    Matt Trevino, Boerne, 71-71-73—215
    p-won playoff
    Full Results