Texas Mid-Ams, Seniors on East West Matches Watch List

The prestigious and unique 3rd Annual East West Matches are scheduled for Nov. 1-3, 2024, at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas.

By Brian Hurlburt of Las Vegas Golf Insider, Special Contributor

Brady Exber, captain of the West Team for the 2024 East West Matches, has identified Texas Golf Association mid-amateurs Josh Pasco, John Hunter, Zach Atkinson, Rob Couture, Colby Harwell, Chris Wheeler, and Aaron Hickman, and senior amateurs Gary Durbin, Jerry Slagle, and Lewis Stephenson as potential selections to the team.

The impressive list of names reads like a who’s who of Texas amateur golf luminaries including Hickman, winner of the 2020 and 2023 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play, and Durbin, the 3-time and reigning Texas Senior Amateur champion. In addition, Atkinson, Couture, Harwell, and Stephenson are also all past TGA state champions and, along with Hunter and Slagle, have played in previous East West Matches.

Since 2020, the East West Matches at Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, have attracted some of the best amateur golfers in the United States to play in the Ryder Cup-style team event. The unique format allows top senior, mid-amateur and college golfers to play together and represent their geographic locales while building relationships and lasting bonds.

The 3rd Annual East West Matches are scheduled for Nov. 1-3, 2024, at the Steve Smyers-designed Maridoe, one of the state’s most acclaimed courses. Each team consists of 18 players: six seniors, at least 10 mid-amateurs and up to two amateurs who have not yet reached the age of 25. The event is played every two years.

“We are committed to fielding the best West team we can for the upcoming prestigious East West matches,” said Exber, of Las Vegas, Nev. “And we know there are some very, very good players in Texas and several have already been big parts of our West teams. We will be keeping an eye on them as we go through the summer. We want mid-amateurs and seniors to get excited about this event and do what they can to make the team.”

LIV Golf League player and former University of Tennessee star Caleb Surratt played in the 2022 East West Matches and verifies the quality and prestige they have.

“Getting to play with different players in a different age group is a neat part about the East West Matches,” Surratt said. “It was cool to see how everybody plays the game and it makes it a little more fun than just watching guys hit it 350 yards and straight all day. I think the format goes back to a little bit of what golf is all about. It includes everybody and brings back a lot of the tradition of the sport.”

The East West Matches feature teams from the East and West regions of the United States.

Nathan Smith, of Pittsburg, Pa., will captain the East while Exber will captain the West. The teams will be announced after the conclusion of the 2024 U.S. Senior Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur Championships in August and September, respectively. Nine members of each team are decided on a points system based on top finishes in selected events, with the remaining nine chosen by the tournament committee.

The unique makeup of the East West Matches is what initially attracted Maridoe Golf Club Owner Albert Huddleston to the event.

“I view Maridoe as a sandbox of fellowship, and we are always thrilled to open it up to the East West Matches because they epitomize exactly what golf should be all about,” Huddleston said. “I don’t know of any other opportunity where you have this amalgam of silos of golfers that actually have any connectivity. College players never play with the seniors or the mid-amateurs in a competitive team environment. What the Matches also do is encourage those golfers that are younger that if they don’t play professional golf, there is a robust amateur circuit with a lot of talent with events like this to keep their competitive drive alive.”

Scott Harvey, of Greensboro, N.C., is one of the event’s original visionaries and understands how the support of Huddleston and Maridoe Golf Club allows the East West Matches to be successful.

“The East West Matches are indebted to Mr. Huddleston, who is one of the nation’s most prominent supporters of amateur golf and continues to do more and more each year,” Harvey said. “Maridoe Golf Club is a world-class test of golf, and the staff assures that the players, captains, and volunteers are treated with the best service, hospitality, and food. The best players are very interested in qualifying for the East West Matches, and we are sure we will have another competition that features the highest-level of golf.”

For complete information about the East West Matches, including the list of points-earning events for mid-amateurs and seniors as well as current standings, click here.

About the East West Matches

The East West Matches started in 2020 and are played every two years. The three-day amateur golf competition features a Ryder Cup-style team format for American amateur, mid-amateur and senior competitors. The competition is currently tied 1-1.

The vision of the competition is “promoting the amateur game by bringing the best amateurs in the United States together for highly competitive matches and camaraderie in its purest form.”

The Mississippi River is the dividing line between East and West teams, each of which is made up of 18 players: six seniors, at least 10 mid-amateurs, and up to two amateurs who have not yet reached the age of 25.

Maridoe Golf Club in Carrollton, Texas, is the bi-annual host. In the three days of competitions, there are nine 18-hole four-ball matches on Day 1, nine 18-hole foursome matches in the morning of Day 2 and nine 18-hole foursomes in the afternoon of Day 2 with 18 singles matches on Day 3.