This summer, during a four-week stretch, four Texans added
their names to some of the most elite trophies in golf. McClure Meissner won
the Southern Amateur. His brother Mitchell Meissner prevailed at the Texas
State Open. Zach Heffernan claimed the Texas Junior Amateur. And Trey Bosco
hoisted the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy at the 111th Texas Amateur.
All four talented competitors share one important thing in
They’re all guided by the same man.
Bryan Gathright, 62, started coaching golf in 1988 following
a five-year stint playing professionally. Over the years, he’s worked with many
high-profile players including four-time PGA Tour winner Notah Begay III and 2016
PGA Champion Jimmy Walker. Though he’s seen success with touring pros, Gathright
spends most of his days now in Boerne, Texas, at The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch,
where he primarily works with junior and amateur golfers.
Gathright currently coaches about 400 golfers who range in
age from 10 to 82. He’s passionate about their development and seeing his
students succeed. The Meissner brothers, Heffernan and Bosco are just a few of the
talented pupils Gathright instructs; however, their four wins in four weeks is
an unprecedented highlight in Gathright’s 32-year coaching career.
“At no point in time have I had four different players win
such prestigious events in such a short span of time,” Gathright said. “As a
coach, it is my responsibility to make certain that they are both prepared and
ready to win, but for four different players to have such incredible success in
such a short span is impossible to put into words.”
It started with McClure (Mac) Meissner, a senior at Southern
Methodist University. The 25th-ranked amateur golfer in the world carded seven
birdies in the final round of the 114th Southern Amateur at Maridoe Golf Club
on July 18. His closing 6-under 66 was enough to erase the six-shot deficit he
faced to begin the day. Meissner was tied with David Perkins of East Peoria, Ill.,
through 72 holes at 7-under 281. On the first sudden-death playoff hole,
Meissner’s routine par clinched the victory.
“I started off really well, and that kind of just set the
tone for my round,” Mesinner said following his win. “I’ve been struggling with
finishing rounds. I just told myself just to keep being aggressive and keep
giving myself looks.”
Meissner’s victory adds his name to a long list of renowned Southern
Amateur past champions that include Justin Leonard, Bob Tway and Ben Crenshaw.
Though this is the biggest win of the 21-year-old’s young golf career, he’s
been a grinder since Gathright started working with him eight years ago.
“I can’t speak enough about his competitiveness,” Gathright
said. “No one hates losing more than Mac. He’s a great driver of the golf ball
and has the best short game of anyone I’ve ever worked with.”
Eleven days later, Heffernan made his own statement. He carded
rounds of 66-73-70 at Horseshoe Bay Resort’s Ram Rock Course to win back-to-back
Texas Junior Amateur titles. The 2021 Baylor University commit became only the
third player in the tournament’s 94-year history to claim consecutive victories.
“It means so much to be one of three people to have won the
Texas Junior Amateur back-to-back,” Heffernan said. “This year was really
special to have all my family on the 18th green and watch me win. It’s still
crazy to me the last time someone did this was in 1994-95.”
Gathright has been working with the two-time Texas Junior
Amateur champion since he was 10 years old. Over the past six years, he has
continued to watch Heffernan develop into a better and more confident player.
“The one thing about Zach is he loves bigger moments,”
Gathright said. “Whether it’s a statewide championship or coming down the
stretch in a high school event, he loves to win. He plays his best in
Just two days following the Texas Junior Amateur, Mitchell
(Mac’s older brother) won the Texas State Open at The Cascades Club in Tyler. Mitchell,
who played collegiately for Rice University and won the 109th Texas Amateur in
2018, turned professional following his graduation in the same year. Even
though he had some early success on the PGA Tour Latinioamérica, Meissner was
still winless as a professional entering the 50th Texas State Open. His rounds
of 67-65-63-66 to post 19-under secured his first win in the pro ranks by one
“I knew there were going to be a lot of low scores and that
no one else was going to let up at the top of the leaderboard,” Meissner said
after the round. “Winning this is pretty big. Just gaining confidence and
learning that I can play under pressure and win when I’m presented the
opportunity was awesome.”
Like Mac, Mitchell has had Gathright in his corner since he was
a young junior golfer. They’ve built a unique relationship over the years as
Mitchell has transitioned from junior golf to collegiate golf and now
“I’ve tried to remind him to stay patient,” Gathright said.
“He’s a great a player, but there is a difference between amateur and
professional golf. He’s got so much potential and it’s great to see him finding
Two weeks, three players, three wins. But the run was not
over. Bosco, who lives in Austin and started working with Gathright in June,
was struggling with his game throughout the quarantine. The rising freshman at
Baylor was showing frustration; however, things started to change two weeks
before the 111th Texas Amateur.
“He was a little lost with his game,” Gathright said. “But
he stuck with what we were working on, and he goes out and shoots 67 to win his
qualifier for the State Am.”
Bosco’s 4-under 67 at Lighthouse Country Club earned him a
spot in the 132-player starting field for the Texas Amateur at Boot Ranch.
Without any expectations, the 18-year-old carded rounds of 72-71-67 to find
himself tied for second place and two shots off the lead with 18 holes to play.
“I called him [Bosco] the night before the final round,”
Gathright said. “I try to make a point to always talk to my players when they
are in the hunt. I told him, look you’re 18 years old, no one is expecting you
to win. Just go out there and play your game and I think you will. I always
want to instill the belief that my players can win.”
The pep talk got Bosco believing, too. In the final round,
he carded six birdies including three straight on holes 15, 16 and 17 to post
5-under 279 for the championship and claim a one-stroke victory.
“At the beginning of this summer I was struggling badly. I
didn’t know which way the ball was going and it was frustrating,” Bosco said.
“A future teammate referred me over to Bryan and ever since then it’s been a
very fun process. There were a lot of tough days working on the things Bryan
had me doing, but I always knew in the back of my mind it would click. Sure
enough at the Texas Am everything came together and I played some of the best
golf I have ever played.”
Mac, Heffernan, Mitchell and Bosco’s victories are all
individual accomplishments. And Gathright will be the first to tell you they
are all extremely hard-working and outstanding young men who deserved those
titles. However, it’s no question there’s a common denominator.
“Bryan’s great at building relationships with players and
will go out of his way to help you fix any issues you have,” Mitchell said. “He
works from sun up to sun down. I can’t tell you how many times I have been at a
loss with my game and texted him ‘Hey, I need some help,’ and for him to
respond, ‘I’ll see you at 7 a.m. tomorrow.’”
It’s Gathright’s dedication, commitment and passion that
stands out to those who work with him. Heffernan’s mother, Dana, explains Zach
has not only improved as a golfer but also a person.
“There are many things that make Bryan a special coach,”
Dana said. “But from a parent’s perspective, his positive demeanor and
disposition are a great fit. He has encouraged Zach since Day One and supported
his big goals. I love that he is always so confident.”
As for Gathright, he isn’t looking to slow down anytime
soon. He’s coaching many talented young players from across the state, in
addition to his four most recent champions.
“My goal is that my players improve and get better every
time they come see me,” Gathright said. “I recently told my wife, I am more
excited now about the group of players I am coaching than I ever have before. I
know their potential and it makes me work harder knowing how good these players
Bryan Gathright is the Director of Instruction at The Clubs
of Cordillera Ranch in Boerne. He is one of Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Teachers in
America. For more information or to schedule a lesson, click here.