MCKINNEY | One of Texas’ toughest and most famous private clubs is back in the competition spotlight, as the Stonebridge Ranch Pete Dye course successfully hosted the recently completed Southland Conference Championships won by Lamar University of Beaumont.
The Dye Course was opened a quarter-century ago and was the site of the 1994 NCAA Championship hosted by SMU and won by Notah Begay’s (not Tiger Woods’) Stanford Cardinal team, with the individual winner Justin Leonard of Texas.
It also has hosted a variety of Texas Golf Association and Northern Texas PGA Tour events along with PGA Tour qualifying, but this week’s conference tournament, which attracted schools across Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas, was another high-profile feather in its cap.
“We certainly were excited to host this conference championship to showcase our great Pete Dye design to some of the top golf stars of tomorrow and some of the best small college teams in the state,” said Stonebridge head professional Joe Menton.
The Dye Course, which opened in 1987 and at one time had the highest slope rating in the state, hosted three days of competition. It came down to a sudden death playoff ,where Lamar defeated Central Arkansas on the first playoff hole at the long, water-guarded 18th. Defending champion University of Texas-Arlington was third.
“This is a very difficult golf course so I thought we would do well since it’s a ball striking golf course and that’s what we’re good at,” said Brian White who has guided Lamar to four conference titles as head coach. “I told the guys all we can do is go out and play a great round. If we shoot even par, we’d have a good chance to win.”
Stonebridge has a 45-hole layout with a 27-hole Arthur Hills Ranch Course nearby, as part of a massive real estate development community in the fast-growing northern half of the Metroplex.
“We were very pleased with the week, which included some wind, pleased with the course comments and look forward to hosting more top golf events at Stonebridge,” Menton said.
For complete results go to www.southland.org.
Joe Bearrie from Arlington turned in a strong first-day 67 to cruise to a two-shot victory ahead of A.J. Morris of Aspen in the Texas Golf Association 2012 Medalist Series Event at Walnut Creek Country Club in Mansfield. Bearrie shot a 72-139 total while Morris was 73-68-141.
The Medalist Series includes 36-hole weekend events that are run by the TGA. It allows members of Medalist Golf Club, a non-real-estate club operated by the association, to play in weekend tournaments. The TGA operates two Medalist Series; one is located in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and the second is in The Hill Country.
Plano’s John Schaefer was third at 70-72-142 while Arlington’s Ted Waldrip finished fourth at 75-68-143.
The Texas PGA Tour swing is only halfway completed, but already the four tournaments have raised their Lone Star lead in the quest to raise more charity dollars than any other events on Tour.
Last week, the Texas Open raised $9 million for charity, tying its own impressive record for the most money raised on the PGA Tour by any single pro golf event.
This week, the Byron Nelson Championship announced that it had sold out all of its sponsor tents and pavilions, virtually assuring that its will tie or exceed its total of $6 million for charity, the previous record before it was broken by the Texas Open. In its history, the Byron Nelson is the first and only tournament to have raised $100 million for charity.
With the Houston Open and the Crowne Plaza at Colonial both in the $4 million range, the four Texas events will raise more than $20 million for Texas charities by inviting the world’s best golfers to stay and play in Texas for a four-week period.
“Certainly the Texas PGA tournaments have taken the lead on raising money for charity as many other have for which we and the charities they serve are very grateful,” said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
With summer fast approaching, registration also is heating up for several important TGA and NTPGA tournaments in North Texas.
The Texas Women’s Open will take place June 18-23 at renovated and restored The Lakes at Castle Hills. The Texas State Open presented by Bright Reality also will be at Castle Hills, Aug. 2-5.
The Texas State Amateur will be June 14-17 at Lakewood Country Club in Dallas. Statewide qualifying is underway at a variety of sites.
The Legends Junior Tour will hold its statewide Bluebonnet Championship, May 19-20 in Brownwood.
The Pro-Scratch recently was held at The Lakes at Castle Hills in Lewisville with Anthony Lewis, PGA Director of Instruction at Indian Creek in Carrollton, and his partner Joe Epperson taking first place.
Britt Patton, Dallas National head pro, and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo led after the first day, but faltered in the second half.
Also, U.S. Open and British Open qualifying will take place in May with Romo a regular participant in U.S. Open qualifying.