he highways in West Texas can be long, lonely roads. Relatively flat and straight, they seem to go on forever. The soil, of course, has its rewards. Since the 1920s, men have excavated the ground and found hidden treasure: the Permian Basin has yielded large quantities of oil for those brave enough to work for it.
It’s not dissimilar to a competitive golfer’s journey to championship glory. It’s often a lonesome and isolated expedition, one that can feel never-ending. Players who are dedicated to winning big trophies – such as the H.L. Edwards Memorial – head out on their own to dig their games out the dirt, just like Ben Hogan told them.
The next chapter in Texas Amateur history offers compensation for those willing to put in the requisite work and hope to claim glory. The 112th edition of the state’s most celebrated amateur championship is set for June 17-20 at Midland Country Club.
“We’re excited to take our most prestigious championship to West Texas,” Tournament Director Chris Untiedt said. “Midland Country Club is a fantastic venue with a challenging course sure to identify a worthy champion. The club has been great to us, having recently played host to some of our bigger events. The club’s membership and staff have welcomed us with open arms, and we expect nothing short of a world-class championship.”
This will be the fourth Texas Amateur to be contested at Midland Country Club. The club previously hosted the championship in 1965 (won by Randy Petri), 1971 (won by Bruce Lietzke) and 1997 (won by Ed Brooks).
More recently, Midland Country Club welcomed the 2020 Women’s Four-Ball (won by Faith Delagarza and Amari Smith) and the 2019 West Texas Amateur (won by Jackson Markham). The club also hosted the Web.com Tour’s WNB Golf Classic from 2002-14.
“Hosting the Texas Amateur is a huge honor,” said Eric Dunkerson, Midland Country Club’s Head Golf Professional. “When I first arrived two years ago, I sat down with our golf committee, and the goal was to host a Texas Amateur. We talked about how we could present the club and set up for an event like this. It’s happened a lot quicker than originally anticipated, which is great.”
Midland Country Club was founded in 1927 near downtown as a nine-hole golf course with sand greens. It moved to its current location in the early 1950s with the 18-hole championship course designed by Ralph Plummer. The course was renovated in 1988 by Ault, Clark and Associates. Weibring-Wolfard Golf Design in 2017 completed a major renovation in time for the club’s 90th anniversary. The $8.9 million project took months to complete and included new tees, bunkers, lakes, and greens.
The brawny 7,438-yard, par-72 course is spread out over 350 acres, giving the omnipresent West Texas winds plenty of opportunity to gather speed and knock even ultramodern golf balls off their flight path. Though set in the wide-open spaces, no quarter is given for wayward drives or approach shots. With rugged native areas framing each hole, deep bunkers guarding fairways and greens, the course rewards only those with excellent shot-making and course management skills.
“It is an intriguing course with the winds and bent grass greens,” Dunkerson said. “It is incredibly challenging and not as gettable as it looks.”
Even though it’s only two miles from downtown, the atmosphere at Midland Country Club is more akin to a calm, serene country setting. And this oasis amid an expanse that can be wild and unforgiving will provide the perfect championship backdrop for players, spectators and volunteers alike.
The starting field for the 112th Texas Amateur will include 144 players, who will earn entry into the championship through an exemption category or 18-hole sectional qualifying at one of 12 sites across the state.
The list of decorated amateurs who will gather at Midland Country Club is headed by Baylor University sophomore Trey Bosco, who won last year’s championship at Boot Ranch Golf Club in Fredericksburg. Bosco carded rounds of 72-71-67-69 to finish at 5-under 279 and earned a one-stroke victory over runner-up Caleb Hicks. He will look to defend his title and become the first player to win back-to-back championships in nearly 20 years.
A large contingent of elite players from the junior, collegiate and mid-amateur ranks will be looking to dethrone Bosco, including 2019 Texas Mid-Amateur champion Chris Wheeler, two-time Texas Junior Amateur champion Zach Hefernan, 2020 Texas Player of the Year Colby Harwell, reigning Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play champion Aaron Hickman, 2020 LJT Player of the Year Matthew Comegys and 2020 West Texas Amateur champion JT Pittman, to name a few.
Format for the championship is 72 holes individual stroke play. All contestants will play 18 holes June 17-18. After 36 holes the field will be cut to the low 54 players and ties heading into the final two rounds on the weekend.
For more than a century, the Texas Amateur has proven to be a springboard for some of the best golfers the state has ever produced. Ben Crenshaw, Scott Verplank, Charles Coody, Bob Estes, Mark Brooks, Kelly Kraft and Will Zalatoris all have etched their names into the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy.
A win at the Texas Amateur puts you in elite company. It can lead to a Masters’ green jacket like it did for Crenshaw and Coody, a PGA Championship as Brooks accomplished or a victory in a USGA national championship, a feat achieved by Kraft, Verplank and Zalatoris.
For more information about the 112th Texas Amateur, click here.