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Austen Fulmer Leads 37th Texas Mid-Amateur

SAN ANTONIO – Austen Fulmer of Austin holds the first-round lead of the 37th Texas Mid-Amateur after turning in a brilliant 5-under-par 66 at the historic Oak Hills Country Club.

Fulmer, who qualified for the championship with a 73 at the Lighthouse Country Club, made four birdies on his opening nine to card a bogey-free 4-under-par 32. He didn’t slow down on his closing loop. Fulmer made a clutch up and down for par on the par-4 first hole to continue the momentum. His only bogey of the day came on the par-4 eighth, but it didn’t rattle the 38-year-old mid-am.

Fulmer hit his tee shot on the par-3 ninth to 15 feet and drained the putt for birdie to post 5-under.

“It’s just one shot at a time,” said Fulmer, who is playing in his first Texas Mid-Amateur. “I think you play golf 18 individual times with the way the game is scored. So, honestly I play one at a time.”

Fulmer didn’t play college golf but has been playing in competitive amateur events for several years. He’ll carry a one-shot lead into Saturday’s second round over Padden Nelson.

“Oh, now I’m more nervous about tomorrow,” said Fulmer with a laugh. “If I had been three or four over I would have been comfortable. But now that I’m 5-under heading into tomorrow, yeah I’ll be more nervous.”

Foremost among those chasing Fulmer is Nelson. The Houston resident carded six birdies as well in his opening round to go along with two bogeys. Nelson, a former collegiate golfer at Newman University, says he’ll try to remain patient throughout the next two days of the championship.

“You don’t want to get ahead of yourself,” Nelson said. “There’s way too many golfers to worry about where your standing.”

Among the top of the leaderboard is Will Dennis of Fort Worth and Sean Heidrick of Plano. They will begin Saturday two shots back of Fulmer after rounds of 3-under-par 68.

Colby Harwell, a two-time Texas Mid-Amateur champion (2017-18) and Oak Hills Country Club member, is tied fifth with Zach Winkler of Prosper. Harwell and Winkler carded rounds of 2-under-par 69.

A total of eight players are within four shots of Fulmer with 36 holes to play.

This is the first Texas Mid-Amateur contested at Oak Hills Country Club, which has a long history of playing host to TGA major championships. Most recently, in 2016 the club hosted the 107th Texas Amateur, won by Frederick Wedel. Oak Hills was also the site of the 2015 Texas Senior Amateur and 2013 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play, both won by Mike Booker.

Founded in 1922, Oak Hills was designed by A.W. Tillinghast. The renowned golf course architect’s strategic design philosophy has stood the test of time and is evident throughout Oak Hills. Tree-lined fairways, bunker-protected greens and contoured putting surfaces are elegantly combined to demand the most from a golfer’s shot-making and course management skills.

Over the years numerous upgrades have been made at Oak Hills, and in 2017, Tripp Davis completed an extensive $6.5 million restoration that has improved playing conditions, fortified the course’s original design elements and revitalized its natural beauty. The first round of the Texas Mid-Amateur was played from 6,729 yards.

Defending champion Chris Wheeler of Addison posted an even par 71. He’s tied for ninth place with seven others, including this year’s Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play champion Aaron Hickman of Tyler.

The second round of the Texas Mid-Amateur starts Saturday at 8 a.m. For more information, click here.