News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

Estorga and Istnick Lead at Texas Four-Ball 

LONGVIEW – Anthony Estorga and Jake Istnick of Dallas lead the 48th Texas Four-Ball after turning in a magnificent 9-under-par 61 at Pinecrest Country Club in round one. The mid-amateur duo, teeing it up in this event for the third time, will take a three shot lead into Saturday’s second round. 

It was an equal effort from Estorga and Istnick on Friday. Estorga who played collegiately at UT Arlington, had three birdies and an eagle on his own ball, while Istnick, who played for the Kansas Jayhawks, had five birdies as well.  

“We got a lot of looks early,” Istnick said. “And then we played steady and both of us started to play really well the last ten holes.” 

The Dallas natives were 6-under on their back nine to cap off the superb opening round. Outside of playing nine holes during the practice round, neither Estorga nor Istnick had played Pinecrest before. You wouldn’t have known it by their play in Friday’s first round though.  

“I holed out on our second hole of the day (par-4 No. 11) for eagle,” Estorga said. “It kind of caught us off guard a little bit but then we just got comfortable into the round after six or seven holes.”  

Sitting three shots back of the lead in solo second is the team of Jess Bonneau of Houston and Robinson’s Chase Chapman. Another equal effort was key to success as Bonneau and Chapman each had three birdies of their own in route to 6-under 64.  

In a log jam tied for third there are five teams who carded rounds of 5-under 65. Included in the bunch is Dallas’ Rhett Anderson and Paul McNamara, Fort Worth’s Colby Amparan and Gary Ezmerlian, Casey Carnes of Schertz and Michael Carnes of New Braunfels, Dallas’ Scott Maurer and Seth Murphy of Tyler, and Austin’s Hudson Ross and Josh Swanson.  

Another four teams are tied for eighth at 4-under par and five back of the lead. It’s a tightly stacked leaderboard heading into the weekend in Longview. 

In the Senior Division, three-time Texas Four-Ball Champions (1996, 1997, 2002), Chris Goodspeed of Farmers Branch and Frisco’s Bill Steen lead by one after an opening 7-under 63.  

“We’ve played in this event pretty much every year since 1990,” Goodspeed said. “We love playing golf together. Whether we play bad or good, we enjoy playing together.” 

Three teams sit one shot back in a tie for second including Richmond’s Mike Padilla and Andy Hydorn of Houston, Irving’s Mike Peck and Mike Lohner of Southlake, and William Shock of Houston and Montgomery’s Scott Smith. 

In the Super Senior Division, Odessa’s Luke Groves and Mark Jones share the lead with Irving’s Michael Puls and Houston’s Tom Burns. Both teams carded rounds of 4-under 66.  

“We’re comfortable playing together,” Jones said. “We know we’re both trying as hard as we can. We’re each other’s caddies so it works really well. It does help to have somebody say ‘hey, that’s a good club’.” 

The 48th Texas Four-Ball features three divisions: Championship, Senior (age 55 and older), and Super Senior (age 65 and older). The three divisions are competing from different sets of tees and yardages, with separate champions recognized in each division. 

The format for the championship is 54 holes of four-ball stroke play. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the lowest 40 team scores and ties. 

This is the first TGA championship held at the historic East Texas club, which recently marked its 100th anniversary. 

Founded in 1921, Pinecrest Country Club began as a nine-hole course with sand greens. The club expanded to 18 holes in 1958 and was designed by Press Maxwell, son of famed golf course architect Perry Maxwell. Although not long by today’s standards, the 6,541-yard, par-70 layout offers up plenty of challenges with narrow fairways lined by towering pine trees, contoured greens guarded by deep bunkers, and water coming into play on many holes. 

Round two of the Texas Four-Ball will begin Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Once play of the second round concludes the field will be cut to the low 24 teams and ties in the Championship Division, low 10 teams and ties in the Senior Division and low six teams and ties in the Super Senior Division. For more information, click here.