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Padden Nelson Holds Lead at 37th Texas Mid-Amateur

SAN ANTONIO – Padden Nelson started the second round of the 37th Texas Mid-Amateur one-shot off the lead. Following a 2-under-par 69 and one of the few rounds in red figures on Saturday, the 40-year-old mid-amateur from Houston holds a three-shot advantage headed into the Sunday’s final round at Oak Hills Country Club.

Padden, who teed off in the morning wave, flared his opening tee shot into the right trees on the par-5 10th. He punched it back into the fairway and left himself 122 yards for his approach. Padden smoothed his 52-degree wedge and, not even realizing it, holed-out for eagle to begin his second round.

“I didn’t even really see it go in,” Padden said. “The guys in front of us did, but pretty good for the putting stats.”

He carried the momentum from his great start throughout his round. On a day playing tougher for the field compared to Round 1, Padden carded three birdies and three bogeys to card one of 10 rounds under par.

“It was kind of the same thing as yesterday,” Padden said. “Hit one shot at a time. I made a couple pretty good length putts for par and just kind of hung in there.”

Padden seeks his first TGA major championship victory, but as for preparation for the final round he plans to keep it lose.

“I plan to drink a couple beers, watch some college football, have a good lunch and good dinner and that’d be about it,” Padden said.

Sitting in solo second and three shots behind Nelson is Houston’s Johnathan Schnitzer. The former Texas Longhorn carded eight birdies en route to a 7-under-par 64 and jumped 53 spots up the leaderboard. It was the low round of the day by four strokes and he’ll look carry the momentum into Sunday’s final round.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in a final group, so it’s good to get the feeling back,” Schnitzer said. “I’m just going to go out there and try and have fun and be patient. There’s a lot of opportunities out  here and you have to know they are going to come if you be patient.”

The defending champion Chris Wheeler of Addison is tied third with Oak Hills member Brett Nichols at 2-under-par 140. Wheeler closed out his second round with a bogey-free 2-under 33 on his final nine highlighted by a 20-foot birdie on the par-3 ninth. He will look to become the third player in history to win back-to-back Texas Mid-Amateur titles.

“Obviously, those guys ahead of me are playing great golf and I’m happy to be in the last group,” Wheeler said. “It is always the goal to win when you tee it up, but yeah I don’t want to let go of that trophy.”

Nichols played his closing 15 holes in 3-under par and attributed his great play over the past two days to local knowledge.

“It is pleasant to see how the golf course is withstanding the best mid-am players in the state of Texas,” Nichols said. “We have a lot of fun out here and there’s a lot of support for our members to play well in this.”

Sean Heidrick of Plano and Blake Parks of Odessa are tied fifth at 1-under-par 141, while three players sit in seventh at even par including Oak Hills member Danny Simmerman, 2015 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play champion Justin Kaplan of Houston and 2020 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play champion Aaron Hickman of Tyler.

Through two rounds, there are only six players under par for the championship. The field played Oak Hills from 6,687 yards in Round 2 and 57 players made the 36-hole cut at 8-over 150 or better.

The third round of the 37th Texas Mid-Amateur begins Sunday at 8 a.m. at Oak Hills. For more information on this championship, click here.