News from Around the Green

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

Estorga and Istnick’s Lead Grows at Texas Four-Ball

LONGVIEWAnthony Estorga and Jake Istnick of Dallas maintained their lead of the 48th Texas Four-Ball by carding a superb 6-under-par 64 at Pinecrest Country Club in round two. Estorga and Istnick, who sit at 15-under for the tournament, will take a four shot lead into Sunday’s final round. 

It was another shared effort from Estorga and Istnick on Saturday. Estorga, a product of UT Arlington, had four birdies on his own ball, while Istnick, a product of Kansas University, had two birdies and an eagle on the day. 

“We started out hot,” Estorga said. “That was nice to get the round going and survive the middle part of the round. We saved some good pars and minimized the damage.” 

Temperatures reached 108 degrees in Longview on Saturday and the duo certainly felt it. 

“It’s hard to stay mentally in it,” Istnick said of the heat. “We had some pep talks each way. Like ‘come on man, we need this one’. The middle of the round was tough. It was a grind.” 

The Dallas natives are four shots clear of the field and will look to cap off the wire-to-wire victory on Sunday. Plenty of other good rounds were had today as a solid contingent of teams sit behind Estorga and Istnick.  

In solo second at 11-under for the Championship is the team of Dallas’ Scott Maurer and Seth Murphy of Tyler. They matched the leaders with a 6-under 64 and are feeling confident heading into the final round. 

“It was a fun day,” Maurer said. “Hopefully tomorrow we can avoid the two bogeys we had.” 

In a tie for third at 10-under and five shots back of the lead is Fort Worth’s Colby Amparan and Gary Ezmerlian, and Chris Wheeler of Addison and Dallas’ Derek Abel. 

Amparan and Ezmerlian fired their second consecutive round of 5-under 65. Wheeler and Abel got in on the 64 party by matching them with a 6-under round as well. Wheeler had six birdies on his own ball on Saturday. 

Another four teams are tied for fifth at 9-under par and six back of the lead. It’s shaping up to be a riveting final round in Longview. 

In the Senior Division, William Shock of Houston and Montgomery’s Scott Smith have taken the lead at 13-under overall. A second round 7-under 63 has them sitting two shots clear of the rest of the division.  

“We’ve not made a bogey yet, which is pretty good,” Smith said. “We plan on doing more of the same tomorrow. Not changing anything.” 

Doug Northcutt of Georgetown and Brent Barclay of Santa Fe sit one shot back at 11-under for the Championship. Richmond’s Mike Padilla and Andy Hydorn of Houston are tied with three-time champions Chris Goodspeed of Farmers Branch and Frisco’s Bill Steen at 10-under. 

In the Super Senior Division, Irving’s Michael Puls and Houston’s Tom Burns will take the lead into Sunday’s final round. The duo put together a second round 3-under 67 and sit at 7-under total. Sitting one shot behind in second at 6-under for the tournament is Fort Worth’s John Grace and Bill Holstead of Wichita Falls. 

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 Saturday’s second round, the field was 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. 

The final round of the Texas Four-Ball will begin Sunday at 7:30 a.m. For more information, click here.