News from Around the Green

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

Five Players Tied at the Top After First Round of West Texas Amateur

ODESSA – After an eventful afternoon, a slew of 69s populates the top of the leaderboard at the 87th playing of the West Texas Amateur. Mark Jones Jr. of Odessa was the first to come in this morning with the 3-under-par score to take the early lead. He held the solo lead until late in the afternoon when four more players equaled his round. Those four players were 2014 North Mid-Amateur Champion Lewis Stephenson of Mansfield, 2014 Texas Mid-Amateur Champion Terence Begnel of Midland, Taylor Grant of Abilene, and Micah Rodgers of Odessa.
Rodgers, the final player to tie the lead, is a product of Odessa Permian High School as well as Odessa College and calls the host site, Odessa Country Club, his home course. After getting off to a slow start, the now UL-Monroe senior managed to shoot 5-under on his last fourteen holes to head into Saturday with a tie for the one shot lead.
Four players sit just behind the leaders at 2-under, while seven more are only two shots back at 1-under.
Another Odessa local and Odessa Country Club member, Luke Groves, shares a two shot lead in the Senior Division with Jim Quinn of Arlington at 1-under-par 71. Both Quinn and Groves had similar routine days with three birdies and two bogeys respectively. Sitting at solo third is Doug Hopton-Jones of Mansfield, with four players shortly behind at 2-over.
In the Super Senior Division, Houston’s Chris Larsen holds the lead at 8-over, Sam Boyd of Horseshoe Bay is alone at second with 9-over, and Dan Mask Sr. of Irving is in third at 10-over.
The 87th West Texas Amateur is the sixth TGA statewide championship to be held this year, and is returning to Odessa Country Club for the first time in over a decade. Established in 1939 the club is home to two courses: the Links Course and the Old Course where this year’s championship is being played. When played at full length, the course can be stretched to 7,069 yards. Paired with the West Texas winds, it certainly lives up to the challenge.