TYLER, Texas – Martin Piller of Dallas proudly displayed his trophy and check for $25,000 after winning the 38th Texas State Open at The Cascades. Piller, a former member of the Texas A&M golf team, was the low amateur for the Texas State Open the past two years but played as a professional for the first time this weekend.
"There's a difference between practice and competition. I was confident in my game, but there's still the unknown factor," he said.
With solid rounds of golf all weekend, Piller eagled the sixth and fourteenth holes during his final round to close with a final round 66 for a four round total 14-under par total of 266.
"I didn't look at the leaderboard until I got to the 18th green," Piller said. "It's a great feeling. It will sink in soon."
Piller was accompanied by his family and a large gallery as he walked down the fairway for his final shot of the day.
Trailing two shots behind Piller and tied for second were Dawie Van Der Walt of Beaumont and Shawn Stefani of Baytown, each with a 12-under 268. Van Der Walt, a South Africa native, turned professional only a year ago following his golf career at Lamar University. He currently plays on mini tours and in local qualifiers. Stefani maintained his hold on second place throughout the day and, along with Van Der Walt, will take home a check for $12,500.
Tied for fourth at 10-under par were Dallas’ Ryan Posey and Dustin Garza of Mission. Garza, the Championship low amateur, stayed under par the entire tournament.
"I had a good time, but I do wish I could have given him a better chase," Garza said. Garza will play another two years of golf at Wichita State before he attempts to play professionally. "I'll definitely come back next year," he commented.
Kevin Schultz of Richardson shot the third hole-in-one for the tournament on hole 5. He aced the 165-yard par-3 using a 7-iron. Schultz recently graduated from the University of Texas and will turn professional following the upcoming United States Amateur Championship.
Top 5 Finishers
Martin Piller, Dallas, 69-64-67-66--266
Dawie Van Der Walt, Beaumont, 71-67-65-65--268
Shawn Stefani, Baytown, 69-67-65-67--268
Ryan Posey, Dallas, 65-70-69-66--270
a-Dustin Garza, Mission, 66-68-67-69--270