As the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament entered its fourth decade, only two Wichita Falls golfers had won the prestigious title. But a 17-year-old Wichita Falls High School student would join that elite crowd when the 24th annual tournament was history.
T-O Junior week got off to a familiar start Monday with typical 100-degree temperatures and an entertaining golf clinic from a PGA professional. Native Texan Charles Coody was the 21st professional to host the clinic and the Abilene-based pro, a millionaire on the pro golf tour, put on a two-hour show for an enthusiastic crowd.
The golf was as hot as the scorching sun on Tuesday as Stephen Barnett, a 17-year-old Fort Worth native, carded a four-under-par 67 at Weeks Park to grab the first round lead. Herb Ames of Brownsville was a stroke back at 68 and Greg Tubbs and Ronnie McDougel shared third place with a pair of 69's. Eight golfers posted 70 to stay close to the leader. The action shifted to Wichita Falls Country Club on Wednesday as the longer, more demanding course caused scores to soar. Ames carded a solid, two-under-par 69 for a 137 total and a two-stroke lead over Mike Short who reached the halfway point at 139. Wichitan Scott Meares posted his second straight round of 70 to move into third place at 140.
Barnett, the first-round leader could manage no better than a 75 and slipped into a fourth-place tie with Eric Joseph. Tubhs. who recorded a hole-in-one on the par-3 second hole found himself m a sixth-place tie with Randy Lutz at 143. The long Sheppard Air Force Base course took its toll on the field in Thursday's third round, as it has a habit of doing. Ames and Short staggered in with a pair of 79's and Meares, with a less-than-spectacular 76, suddenly vaulted into a tie for the lead with a 216 total after 54 holes. Sharing the top spot was Ames and Carlos Espinosa, whose one-under-par 71 enabled him to make up eight strokes on the leader. Short was in fourth place with a 218 total for the three rounds and Scott Verplank, the only 15-year-old to make it into the championship flight, was in fifth place at 220. The tournament ended as a good Cinderella story should Friday at Weeks Park. Meares, trailing Espinosa by a stroke on the 16th hole, rolled in a short birdie putt. When the Hidalgo, Texas native bogied the par five, the Wichitan was in the lead for good. But the tournament wasn't won until Meares sank two pressure-packed four-foot par putts on No. 17 and No. 18. Meares' one-over-par 72 gave him a 288 total for the 72 holes – a single stroke better than Espinosa who finished at 289. Shorts took third place with a 290 total. Four golfers, Verplank, Joseph, Steven Gleboff and Mike Standly tied for fourth place at 293.
Lee Trevino helped usher in the 25th year of the Texas-Oklahoma Junior golf Tournament. Conducting a clinic on shotmaking and adding his own special charm, Lee alternately kept the fans awed by the former and amused by the latter.
Tuesday's first round action at Weeks Park, Scott Verplank, birdied the first four holes enroute to a six-under-par 66 to earn medalist honors in the championship flight. His closest competitor Alberto Valenzuela, a resident of Garches, France, doubled bogeyed the final hole but still managed a three-under-par 69. Scott Meares of Wichita Falls and defending champion had one of those days every golfer has and ballooned to a 78 and just made the cut of 142 golfers who comprise the championship flight.
Chalk up a victory for the Wichita Falls Country Club golf course. Wednesday it was the only real winner the golf tournament could claim during second round action of championship flight. Brad Sykes of Sugarland, Texas walked away with the biggest smile, he shot a one-over-par 72 to make up six strokes and tie Scott Verplank for the lead after 36 holes. Verplank had a 78.
The third round of championship flight moved on to the long Sheppard Air Force Base course. The tournament acquired a new co-leader along with Scott Verplank. A new name Michael Dirks of Fort Worth was at the top of the leader board along with Verplank. Dirks fired a six-under-par 66 to tie for the lead. Brad Sykes, who was tied for the lead after 36 holes, was disqualified when he missed his tee time.
Championship Flight returned to Weeks Park Friday for the final round. Verplank fired a 73 for a four-over total of 291 and took the championship flight. Valenzuela finished second at 292, however, Valenzuela called a two shot penalty against himself for hitting the wrong ball on a chip shot on number 8 green which could have cost him the championship.
Defending champion Scott Verplank did not return to defend his championship leaving the tournament with one of the most wide open fields in years, and wide open it was having a finish and a champion crowned like none before.
The tournament began on a great note by having Orville Moody, winner of the 1969 U.S. Open Title, conduct a clinic and play nine holes at Weeks Park. Orville, after demonstrating the basic shots and proving his skill had diminished very little, if any, entertained the crowd with a variety of trick shots.
The rains stopped and the tournament begins. After the first round at Weeks Park, three are tied for the Championship with two-under-par 69s, James Hennessy, Brain Smith, and Chris Goodspeed with four nipping at their heels one stroke back. Also after the first round in the Age 12 Championship a battle is brewing between Jeffrey Wolf and Bo Cooper that will not be decided until the final hole on Friday's last round.
The Championship flight moved over to the always difficult Wichita Falls Country Club where Hennessy fired a one-over-par 72 to retain co-leadership with Michael Dugger who had the best round of the day at WFCC and even par 71.
Thursday's round and the Sheppard Air Force Base golf course became the Bermuda Triangle as far as the leaders were concerned. When the smoke cleared Brain Hutchins, a 16-year-old native of Fort Worth, moved up from ninth position to take the tournament leadership. Hutchins fired a one-under-par 71 for a three day total of 214 for a one shot lead over Chris Goodspeed.
Friday and the championship flight returns to Weeks Park where the rigors of battling for three and a half rounds caught up with the leaders. Daryl Walker an 18-year-old from Conroe, Texas playing his fourth and final T-O Juniors decided to declare up from Championship Consolation and go for the championship. The wind had stopped blowing and the sun was setting. You guessed it, Walker's 295 had won by one stroke over Brian Hutchins, Brian Nelson, and Brain Smith.
Jeffrey Wolf won the 12-year-old Championship with a four round total of 302 beating Bo Cooper by one stroke.
Dudley Wysong, Jr. host for this years annual clinic gave the youngsters some good advice. He said little advice can be the best advice, and explained that listening to every Tom, Dick or Harry that comes down the pike can really mess up your game. However, the best advice at the Banquet was head for the cellar as a violent lightening storm hit the city.
The course maintenance crews were out at daybreak removing tree limbs and other debris from the course left by the violent storm from the first round. Ninety players all playing at Weeks qualified for the Championship Flight led by Marco Jones with a 67. Twenty-one players made the cut by a nose all carding a 76.
The second round played at the Wichita Falls Country Club proved to be a tough test as always for the Championship Flight. David Sheffield took the lead with a two round total 142 with five tied for second at 143.
As David Sheffield said after the Thursday round at Sheppard, "I knew this course would take its toll." And it did, after the scores were posted David had expanded his lead to four strokes over Bob Estes and Chris Gustin.
As the Championship Flight returned to Weeks for the final round it seemed that all the players within striking distance of the leader had a gleam in their eyes. Each knowing that Weeks had more birdie holes if you can only keep your tee shot in play. Chris Gustin did just that shooting a four-under-par 67 and winning the championship by four shots over Bob Estes and third round leader David Sheffield. Bob Estes won second in a playoff. By winning, Chris, from Birmingham, Alabama, became the first player to win the Championship from out of the two state region.
Another first for the T-O was garnered this year. A girls division was set up and two tournaments were played during the same time frame. No, actually there were three tournaments being played, because age 10 and under had their own flight that led off each morning at 7:00am at Weeks Park.
Local golf pro Mike Zinni was this years host pro. He conducted a golf clinic and was speaker at the banquet. Mike did a very good job on very short notice.
Defending champion Chris Gustin returned to defend his title and carded a 70 first round, however, Bob Estes from Abilene, Texas fired a 65 and declared that the winner will definitely shoot under par.
The Wichita Falls Country Club usually a toughie was made short and easy due to being under construction. After the second round three shared the lead at 133, Estes, Jamie Gomez, and Kirk Johnson.
In the girl's Championship Flight class 5A state medalist Buffy Klein lead with 213 total, Angie Ravioli second at 217 and five back at 218 is Adele Moore.
Final round and the Championship Flight returned to Weeks Park. After battling all day with Kirk Johnson and Bob Estes, Chris Gustin and Jamie Gomez found themselves tied at 275 after regulation 72 holes. Sudden death and Gustin wins the first hole. Gustin joins Tom Jones – Okla. 1972 and 1973 and Lawrence Field – Okla. 1976 and 1977 as back to back Champions. Buffy Klein won the girls title shooting a total 290.
What happens when a laid back attitude and a near-flawless golf swing are combined? You get Grant Switzer, a blonde-haired, blue-eyed free swinger from Arlington, Texas who captured the 29th Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament after firing a 2-under-par 68 Friday at La Vista Country Club.
Adele Moore won the girl's championship by 12 shots over Mia Browning. Moore had rounds of 74, 76, 74, and 72.
Switzer was tied for the lead going into Friday's final round with John Gilreath, Ryan Heller, and Brain Montgomery. After holding off charges from Gilreath, Herring and Jaime Gomez, Switzer was more than happy to claim the trophy for what was "one of the most prestigious junior golf tournaments in the nation."
Heller, who had a 70 on the day had the crowd buzzing on the long par-5 No. 17, when he hit a driver-6-iron to within eight feet of the pin, leaving him a good chance for an eagle putt and the lead – depending on what Switzer did.
Things didn't look good for Switzer. He was some 35 yards away in the hard-pan rough, facing a three-shot swing in the scoring which would leave him two behind with only one hole to play. But Switzer popped a shot to within four feet of the pin, and while Heller missed his eagle attempt Switzer calmly made his birdie, maintaining a one-stroke lead.
After Switzer pushed his tee shot on No. 18 deep into the right rough, he didn't get upset – instead he laughed at something a friend had said. And when his second shot strayed over the green, he still had a smile on his face. He then simply chipped up to about two feet, and sank the par putt that gave him the championship.
With 486 contestants teeing it up in the 30th Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament, how else could it be except a genuine success! We were happy to have Roland Harper, Club Professional from Colonial Country Club, Fort Worth, Texas to conduct a clinic and play an exhibition match with 4 of our young golfers: Adele Moore, Matt Smith, Mark Burger, and Zack Perez.
The field was strong with players from eight different states competing for the beautiful trophy and points toward making the Junior All American List. Grant Switzer, the defending champion had passed the age limit so the Championship Flight was filled with favorites such as Matt Smith from Austin, Texas; Brain Montgomery from Bristol, Oklahoma; Mark Burger from Andrews, Texas; Lance Boscamp from Brownwood, Texas; Bobby Gee from Midland, Texas; and our own Wichita Falls hopeful, Walter Dobbs.
The Girls Championship Flight was loaded with talent such as Adele Moore from Dallas, Texas; Kathy Moore from Argyle, Texas; Tina Trimble from Houston, Texas; Marti Longorio from Corpus Christi, Texas; Kelly Green from Kingswood, Texas; Sally McMullin from Floydada, Texas; and Dana Chase from Leawood, Kansas.
The 1987 T-O Junior played host to the largest field of junior golfers ever in the 31 year history of the event with 652 contestants entered. Both boys and girls, from ten states, were entered representing 168 different cities across America and around the world.
To the delight of all the kids our guest pro was Tom Kite of Austin, Texas. He kept a large crowd at Weeks Park entertained with his precision shot making and his outstanding way of explaining his skills and technique. He played an exhibition with 4 of our young contestants, Kathy Moore from Arglye, Texas; Chris Cain from Knoxville, Tenn.; Bobby Gee from Midland, Texas; and Dee Green from Roswell, New Mexico. The scores soared a little with the Championship Flight playing the tight Wichita Falls Country Club with its trees, water and sand traps, not to mention the strong southwest wind at 25-30 miles per hour. Chad Magee from Tyler, Texas shot a 67-73-75-67 for a total of 282 to win the championship with Chris Cain form Knoxville, Tenn. coming in second with a 284. Third place was Lance Posey from El Reno, Oklahoma with 288. Fourth place went to Dee Green of Roswell, New Mexico, a member of the University of Houston Golf Team, with a 292.
In the girls division Kathy Moore from Argyle, Texas was first with 76-76-72-71 for a 296 over the same courses the boys division had played. Bronwyn Burke of Houston was second with a total score of 306. Debbie Eckroth of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was third with a good score of 308. Keigh Dickey from Missouri City, Texas was fourth with a good solid round of 309. All the young ladies had a good attitude and good personalities.
The 32nd Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament brought another year of unprecedented growth for the fourth year in a row. This tournament has been heralded as a growing success with 810 entries, a new record, with players coming from 19 different states, 199 different cities from across America.
Gary Player, our honored guest for 1988, kept his gallery awed with his precision shot making as he conducted his Golf Clinic. A native of Johannesburg, South Africa, he was greeted with pride and gratitude, and accepted by the large crowd attending his pre-tournament activities. He was so friendly and preoccupied with the kids, he almost forgot how to swing. Gary Player gained many thousands of new friends that day in June with his charm and politeness. He detailed his golf swing from start to finish, as he displayed his greatness as a world class player. He is truly a legend in his own time.
Gary Player gained the love and respect of all the fathers and mothers who attended the Annual Banquet Monday evening at the Wichita Falls Hilton Hotel, with his elegant after dinner speech. His facts and compassion were absorbed by the kids and very plausibly endorsed by all the parents in attendance. His true character and attitude generated warmth and friendliness, as he signed, and signed, and signed his autograph for all those who asked.
He amazed all those in attendance as he played several holes with pre-selected group of top Junior golfers. He walked and talked with all who asked questions. He was having the time of his life as he talked and laughed, while he demonstrated his golfing talent. Those playing in the exhibition with Gary Player were: John Sosa, El Paso, Texas; Taylor Tipton, Kerrville, Texas; Kelly Southerland, Burkburnett, Texas; and Bronwyn Burke, Houston, Texas. His caddy for the day was Dannon Reed.
After the pre-tournament activities were history, one of America's greatest Junior Golf Tournament's got underway Tuesday morning at all five of the different golf courses. The boys Championship Flight was so filled with entries it took two shotgun starts to get them around the Weeks Park Golf Course. When the afternoon group finished the pre-tournament favorite, John Sosa of El Paso, Texas, finished an amazing round of 66 for the low round of the day, 6-under-par; Bo Cooper of Denton, Texas came in with a 68; Taylor Tipton of Kerrville, Texas had a 69; Hans Hass of Fort Worth, Texas has a solid round of 69; Brandon Knight of Denton, Texas was next with a 2-under-par 70.
Our girls tournament has grown each year for the past five years with 94 young ladies entering this year's tournament. The quality of players we had was a delight to the Tournament Directors. The girl players such as Tina Trimble of Houston, Texas; Sandy Hamby of Houston, Texas; Laura Myers of Missouri City, Texas; Marti Longoria of Corpus Christi, Texas; Debbie Eckroth of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Candice Morgan of Odessa, Texas; and Jenny Turner of Austin, Texas have given the Girls Tournament a touch of class and talent that is a sure sign of becoming a quality Girls Junior Tournament. We anticipate this event will expand into a great Girls Junior Golf Tournament. We are aware the girls who played in this tournament have always had a good challenge and an exciting time while playing Championship Golf.
Sandy Hamby won the Championship with a score of 292, a tie for second place was between Laura Myers and Marti Longoria both shooting a 296 and close behind them was Tina Trimble with a 298. All the girls Championships were played at La Vista Country Club, River Creek Country Club, Sheppard Air Force Base Golf Course and Weeks Park Golf Course.
The 1989 Texas-Oklahoma Junior had a new record with 856 entries, from 19 different cities across America. The 856 entries, we are told, sets another record for being the largest Junior golf tournament in the United States. The T-O has come a long way in it's 35 years with E.C. Black and Jack Carnes. With their combined 52 years of service to the tournament, they have decided to retire from their co-chairmanship and give someone a chance to carry on this great golf tournament.
The boys tournament had a strong field and some great talent this year. The playing of the final round at the Wichita Falls Country Club was a new way of giving the players a real test of golf. Our boys champion, Cade Stone of Paris, Texas found himself in a play off with Brent Bostic of Duncan, Oklahoma with the match going four extra holes before the Champion was declared. Cade Stone's score of 72-68-78-70 totaling 288 was also matched by Brent Bostic. These were good rounds for each of the two young golfers. Brandon Knight of Denton and Allen Bratton of College Station were just one shot back at 289. Jaxon Brigman of Abilene and Matt Mocniak of Nacogdoches were just two shots back at 290. Less than 10 shots separated the top 17 players.
The girls were not to be out done. They played right behind the boys on the same track and yes, you guessed it, the Champion, Tina Trimble of Houston shot 66-76-70-76 for a new girls T-O Junior record of 288. She finished with a giant 12 shot lead over Kay Donaldson from Slidell, Louisiana, with a 300 for her total and 15 shots better than last years Champion, Sandy Hamby from Houston, who could only muster a 303 for her four rounds. Kim Self from Dallas was 4th with a total score of 304.
This was a great exhibition for all the top 16 girls. The strongest field ever for our Girls Championship. A large entry of 134 girls played in this the fifth year for our girls tournament. We are all so happy to have had such charming and delightful young ladies playing the T-O. Our hope is that we have an even larger field for next year.
We were honored and thrilled to have Jay Hebert from Houston as our guest professional for this year. His golf clinic was enjoyed by a large group of young boys and girls as well as the older gang. His message at the banquet Monday evening was straight and to the point on subjects all of us could learn from. He enjoyed himself so much with the kids that he stayed an extra day just to see some of them play. It was amazing at how many of these kids Jay knew. He has been around junior golf for many years and loves it one day at a time. He has two young sons who play the junior tournament almost every week of the summer months. Jay, we all want to thank you for your outstanding display of good golf and good sportsmanship.