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

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