News from Around the Green

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

Irving Rallies to Win 2016 Texas Mid-Amateur

BEE CAVE—Josh Irving from Dallas stormed back from a six-shot deficit in the final 18 holes to win the 2016 Texas Mid-Amateur Championship at Spanish Oaks Golf Club.
Irving, the 2015 Texas Player of the Year, fired a 4-under-par 68 in the final round to win by two shots with a 54-hole score of 3-under 210. Rick Sulzer from Carrollton, Christopher Wheeler from Addison and Colby Harwell from San Antonio tied for second place at 1-under 212. For complete results, click here.
Riding a wave of success after his second consecutive U.S. Mid-Amateur Quarterfinalist appearance, Irving began the final round of the Texas Mid-Amateur at even-par. He was six shots behind the 36-hole leader, C.J. Brock from Richardson. There were four players between Irving and Brock as the final round began, including Harwell.
After three pars to open the final round, Irving pulled his drive left on the par-4 fourth hole. He received a fortunate break that his ball was sitting up in the native grass that permeates the Spanish Oaks course. He had 165 yards from the hole and 142 yards to the front of the green.
“I just wanted to get it to the front edge because I knew it would hop forward,” said Irving, who won the 2015 North Texas Amateur and North Texas Four-Ball in addition to a number of high finishes last year. “I hit my 9-iron as hard as I could at the right-center of the green and it almost rolled in. I got really lucky.”
The shot stopped two feet from the hole. He tapped in the birdie and proceeded to birdie the sixth, seventh and eight holes to mount his charge. Meanwhile, Brock struggled with three bogeys and a double-bogey in his opening seven holes.
Irving added a fifth birdie on the par-5 11th hole to take the lead, and he never relinquished it as he parred the next six holes. A two-putt bogey on the final hole sealed the two-shot victory. He’ll take the momentum next Wednesday to the Country Club of Birmingham to represent Texas as one-third of the U.S. State Team Championship squad with Zach Atkinson from Colleyville and Scott Abbott from Dallas.
“I was third in points for the State Team,” Irving said. “The TGA picks the third player for that team. Colby Harwell played really well all year, and I thought there was a really good chance Colby would get picked. When the TGA picked me, I really wanted to validate that decision this week.”
Mission accomplished, and his victory at Spanish Oaks puts him in position to potentially win a second straight Player of the Year award.
“It’s a big testament to how far I’ve come,” he said. “I’m really proud of myself. I’ve come a long way.”
Brock, the first- and second-round leader, finished in fifth place at 1-over 214.
Sunday began with a second round restart after darkness suspended play late on Saturday before the second round was completed. Play resumed at 7:34 a.m. on Sunday. Brock, holding a one-shot lead overnight, began the restart on the 15th tee and holed out his second shot from the fairway. The eagle took him to 6-under par. It also gave him a three-shot lead over Harwell. Brock made three pars to finish his second round with his second consecutive 68.
Fifty-six players made the 36-hole cut at 12-over 154. Five of the eight Spanish Oaks members in the field this week advance to the final round, led by Patrick Dat, who tied for ninth at 5-over 218. The other host members to make the cut included Josh Swanson (T11), Will Douglas (18th place), Joe Sanders (T25) and Chris Badciong (54th place).
Spanish Oaks, ranked third in Texas by Golf Digest, played to 6,925 yards during the championship. For the week, the breathtaking par-71 Hill Country Course played to a stroke average of 77.43. Designed in 2001 by Bobby Weed, the PGA Tour’s former in-house architect, Spanish Oaks features several blind shots off tee boxes to generous landing areas and large, rolling greens.
The TGA sends its sincere gratitude to the members and staff at Spanish Oaks, especially their Founder Daniel Porter, Superintendent Scott Hamilton and his staff, Director of Golf David von Hoffmann, Head Professional Drew Glover, Executive Chef Matthew Schaefer and Event Coordinator Bethany Smith for all their efforts and hospitality. Special thanks are also due to the tireless TGA volunteers for their continued service. For more information on the 2016 Texas Mid-Amateur Championship, click here.