Jimmy Burch has covered professional golf for the Star-Telegram since 1991. He’s received state and national honors for his writing but fills his own scorecard with more bogeys than birdies when he hits the local links.
Redstone Golf Club, owned by Fort Worth-based Escalante Golf Inc., announced a restructuring of its senior management team today. The club, home to the PGA Tour’s Shell Houston Open, will feature a senior management team of general manager Herb Lipsman, head golf professional Tommy Wolfenberger and course superintendent Michael Mefford. As part of the restructuring, former general manager Derek Clouse will join Billy Ray Brown, a former PGA Tour competitor, in overseeing the Dave Williams Golf Academy located at the club. David McDonald, president of Escalante Golf, Inc. announced the moves today. Escalante acquired the property in April.
Dallas teen Scottie Scheffler, Saturday’s winner of the 2013 U.S. Junior Amateur, has accepted a sponsor’s exemption to play in the 2014 HP Byron Nelson Championship, May 12-18 in Irving.
Tournament officials announced the exemption today, making Scheffler one of the earliest commitments in tournament history. Scheffler, 17, is a senior at Highland Park High School and will be following in the footsteps of Jordan Spieth, who has earned more than $2 million during his rookie season on the 2013 PGA Tour.
Spieth, who turned 20 on July 27, made his tour debut at the 2010 Nelson while competing as a junior in high school. Spieth, then 16, tied for 16th while still a student at Dallas Jesuit.
Nelson officials have a long history of inviting teens participants, including Tiger Woods (1993) and Sergio Garcia (1999) during the early stages of their careers and Chinese standout Guan Tianglang, 14, at last year’s event.
“Mr. Nelson always encouraged us to keep an eye out for young talent and reward them with opportunities like this,” said Patton Chapman, tournament chairman for the 2014 Nelson. “Scheffler definitely fits this mold and we’re looking forward to watching him compete at the highest level.”
Officials at Mansfield National Golf Club have started a golf academy for boys and girls ages 7-16. The year-round program is open to beginner, intermediate or advanced golfers with classes available in seven skill levels. All classes are taught by a PGA golf professional, with instruction available up to twice a week. For more information, contact Shannon Cox at 214-886-2316 or Bryan Ham at 214-799-3029.
The Fort Worth Girls City Junior Golf Championship begins Monay at Glen Garden Golf & Country Club with 149 competitors scheduled to compete in the 18-hole division.
After the first round, the top players will move into Division I, which includes the Championship Flight. Those golfers will play their second rounds at Ridglea Country Club in the 54-hole event. The Division I competitors wrap up the event Wednesday at River Crest Country Club.
Division II competitors, and those in the nine-hole division, compete Tuesday at Diamond Oaks Country Club and complete the event Wednesday at Rockwood Golf Course.
Among the primary contenders in the championship flight will be Erica Lautensack, 17, Arlington; Jessie White, 18, Mansfield; Claire Carlin, 17, Keller; Savannah Moody, 17, Weatherford; Adriana Morillo, 17, Trophy Club; Taylor Icenberger, 17, Coppell; Kyong Kim, 15, Crowley; Kelly Martin, 18, Burleson; Bailey Brown, 18, Haslet; Jackey Patton, 17, Fort Worth; Olivia Gibbs, 18, Fort Worth; Tarin Leong, 15, Arlington; Kyle Corey, 16, Colleyville; Marissa Delgado, 17, Keller; Alexandra Batista, 15, Trophy Club and Ellie Youree, 15, Fort Worth.
Wednesday is the deadline for golfers to register online to compete in the Fort Worth Junior Golf Association’s Girls City Junior Championship. All entries must be in by 5 p.m. Wednesday. The girls tournament is July 15-17, with the first round at Glen Garden Golf & Country Club.
Deadline to enter the FWJGA Boys City Junior Championship is July 17. The boys tournament is July 22-25, with the first round at Rockwood, Meadowbrook or Pecan Valley (Hills Course) for ages 14-18. Boys 8-13 will play the first round at Sycamore Creek Golf Course.
Both tournaments are free to participants. To enter, visit www.fwjga.net.
Fort Worth golf officials have opened a six-hole practice facility at Rockwood Golf Course. The course can be played as either a six-hole layout with all par-3s or as a three-hole layout with two par-4 holes and one par-3.
Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for junior golfers. The fees is an all-day rate, allowing each golfer unlimited practice time on the facility. The course will play as a three-hole course on odd-numbered days and as a six-hole loop on even-numbered days.
Designed by Colligan Golf Design in Arlington, the layout began accepting golfers July 3 and will have a formal grand opening later in the year. For more information, call 817-457-4616.
Maty Monzingo and Maggie Neece, two golfers with Tarrant County connections, combined to win the 2013 Four-Ball Championship hosted by the Women’s Texas Golf Association. Monzingo, a Trophy Club resident, and Neece, a Colleyville resident, combined to post a 5-under par total at the 36-hole event in Bryan. They won the event at Miramont Country Club by two strokes over the runner-up team of Jessica Surber and Karen Murphy.
Zack Fischer, a former UTA golfer, buried a 12-foot birdie putt this morning to end a 12-hole, sudden-death playoff with Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer for the final available spot in the U.S. Open field at the Dallas sectional qualifier.
Fischer, 23, made the decisive putt at Lakewood Country Club shortly after Palmer, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour, posted his first bogey of an extended playoff that may have been the longest sudden-death session in the history of professional golf.
USGA officials, who oversee the U.S. Open, said they do not keep comprehensive records regarding lengths of sudden-death playoffs to break ties at their qualifying events. But the 12-hole session, spread over two days, took longer to decide than any sudden-death playoff listed in the PGA Tour media guide.
The longest sudden-death playoff in a tour event covered 11 holes at the 1949 Motor City Open and ended after the participants, Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum, agreed to a co-championship when play was suspended because of darkness.
That was not an option for Fischer or Palmer, who matched scores for eight consecutive holes Monday night until play was suspended because of darkness at 8:57 p.m. They returned at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, followed by a gallery of approximately 50 fans, to play four additional holes before Fischer broke the tie with his birdie putt at the 18th green.
Palmer, a former Texas A&M golfer and Colonial Country Club member, missed the green from the middle of the fairway with his approach shot and failed to convert a 15-foot par putt moments before Fischer drained his decisive birdie.
“It’s great. It’s fantastic. It’s going to be amazing,” Fischer said, reflecting on his impending debut in a major championship at the U.S. Open, June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Fischer, who played at UTA from 2007-11, will be the second UTA golfer to play in the Open. Greg Gregory, an Everman High School graduate and former UTA golfer, missed the cut at the 1999 Open.
Although the status is unofficial, Fischer was excited to learn that he may have endured the longest sudden-death playoff in history to secure his spot at Merion.
“Oh, my gosh. We just made history. How cool is that?,” Fischer said. “To be honest, I’m so exhausted right now, it hasn’t hit me yet. I’m sure it will hit me after I go back and take a nap.”
Palmer, who offset one birdie with one bogey during the extended playoff, berated himself for playing substandard golf marked by multiple missed opportunities to close out the two-man playoff.
“I didn’t make any putts,” Palmer said. “What’s really frustrating is … it carries over into today. It’s a crapshoot. What do you do?”
Fischer extended the sudden-death session on the 10th playoff hole with a 25-foot par putt on the 18th green that broke significantly from right to left. On his next trip up the 18th fairway, he secured a berth in the Open as friends, family members and former UTA teammates watched.
Cameron Hollek, who just completed his senior season at UTA, called it “surreal” to watch his former teammate secure a berth in the Open.
“It’s so inspring. I’m stoked for him,” Hollek said. “He’s a competitor. He’s always been clutch.”
DALLAS _ Dallas teen Jordan Spieth left last year’s U.S. Open with a medal for posting the lowest score of any amateur competitor.
Spieth, 19, will return this year in search of a paycheck in his rookie season as a PGA Tour participant. He made sure of that by taking birdies on three of his final four holes to share medalist honors with Matt Weibring and Ed Loar, at 8-under-par, in Monday’s sectional qualifier at Lakewood Country Club.
But the story of the day proved to be the playoff that would not end between two players with Tarrant County connections.
Zack Fischer, a former UTA golfer, matched scores with Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer, a three-event winner on the PGA Tour, for eight consecutive holes in a sudden-death playoff to determine the fourth and final player from the Dallas qualifier to secure a berth in the U.S. Open field, June 13-16 at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa.
Both players took matching pars on the 18th green before play was suspended because of darkness at 8:57 p.m. The golfers will resume their sudden-death playoff at 7:30 a.m. today on the 10th tee.
Asked what he used to read a 5-foot par putt that dropped on his final stroke of the day, Fischer said: “Memory. I couldn’t see. I got down there to look and said, ‘Why am I even down here? I can’t see anything.’”
But he made the putt, followed by Palmer’s tap-in par to apply the overnight brakes to a sudden-death playoff that has included seven pars and one birdie. So far. There will be at least one more hole today, with golfers alternating between the 10th and 18th holes until someone posts a better score to secure a berth at Merion.
Palmer, 36, is seeking to earn his fourth career berth in the U.S. Open. Fischer hopes to make a statement for his school. No UTA golfer has ever played in one of golf’s major championships. Fischer, 23, became the first former UTA player to make the cut in a PGA Tour event at last month’s HP Byron Nelson Championship. He embraces today’s opportunity.
“It would be amazing,” Fisher said, when asked what it would mean to land an Open berth. “It’s fun. It’s just exhausting ... I’ve been playing tournament golf since I was six and I’ve never had a sudden-death playoff where I had to come back the next morning.”
Now, he does. So does Palmer, a former Texas A&M golfer.
Spieth, meanwhile, secured his second consecutive Open berth with matching rounds of 67-67. Spieth, who finished in a tie for seventh at last month’s Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, said his late birdie barrage was the product of crisp ball-striking. His longest of four back-nine birdies in his second round traveled only 8 feet.
“I’m excited to play in another U.S. Open,” Spieth said. “Once I made a couple of birdies, it got easier to get on a run on the back nine.”
Vince Jarrett, former golf coach at Abilene Christian who led the Wildcats to the 1993 NCAA Division II men’s championship, died Sunday. He was 70.
Jarrett, who later returned to the school as an associate athletic director, oversaw the school’s golf program from 1985-2003. During that stretch, ACU won six Lone Star Conference championships and the 1993 national title. In 2011, Jarrett was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame.