Grant Bennett grabs 36-hole lead at Texas State Amateur
DALLAS, Texas — Holding a two-shot lead
headed into Sunday’s final round of the 106th
Texas Amateur presented by Insperity,
Lewisville’s Grant Bennett will tee off tomorrow
with a chance to do something he’s never done.
Lewisville, Texas resident Grant
Bennett (TGA photo)
Win a major golf tournament.
A junior at Wichita State, the 20-year-old
Bennett used an eagle and three birdies to post
a 3-under-par 68 in the second round of the
Texas Amateur, which was shortened to 54 holes
after rain storms washed out the first round.
Bennett paired his 68 with a 4-under 67 in the
first round, which takes him to 7-under 135
overall, good for a two-stroke advantage over
Michael Cotton from Katy.
“To be honest, I haven’t won any big
tournaments,” Bennett said. “This would be the
biggest, for sure. I won some junior tournaments
and I’ve had some top-10s and top-fives in
college. I finished seventh at our NCAA Regional
in San Diego; that was my best result. But I’m
hitting it really well right now and feel like I can
With his best friend caddying for him – Ben
Baxter, a sophomore on the SMU golf team –
Bennett said he’s been calm and relaxed walking
the fairways at Bent Tree Country Club. Chatting
up Baxter keeps Bennett’s mind free between
shots, and that keeps him focused on the
moment instead of thinking about bigger things –
like winning the most prestigious amateur golf
championship in Texas.
After a solid drive on the 554-yard par 5, for
example, Bennett and Baxter talked about the
beautiful scenery at Bent Tree as they walked to
Bennett’s ball. Once there, Bennett said he had a
perfect yardage for his 17-degree hybrid: 245
yards to the green. Bennett flushed it and his
ball finished 15 feet from the hole. A couple
minutes later he rolled it straight up the hill and
into the cup for an eagle that gave him the
“Being on top of the leaderboard is the place I
like to be,” he said. “Tomorrow, I want to play
another solid round and hit a bunch of fairways
and greens. If someone is going to beat me,
they’re going to have to shoot a really low score.
But, yes, my dream scenario would be for me to
If that happens, he wouldn’t be the first to score
his first substantial win at the Texas Amateur.
Just last year, in fact, Plano’s Will Zalatoris
notched his maiden big-time victory with a
Texas Amateur title at Brook Hollow Golf Club.
From there, Zalatoris proceeded to win the
Trans-Mississippi Amateur and U.S. Junior
Amateur in a matter of two months.
There are still 18 holes to play, of course, and
plenty of skilled competitors in pursuit of
Bennett. Cotton, two behind at 6-under 137 after
an even-par round on Saturday, is a freshman at
the University of North Texas. He’s playing in his
first Texas Amateur, but he has elite competitive
experience, having played in the 2013 U.S.
Fort Worth’s Andrew Presley rolled in six birdies
on the way to a 4-under 67. The former TCU
Horned Frog sits alone in third place at 4-under
overall. Presley finished third in the 2014 Texas
Amateur. Three players are tied for fourth place
at 3-under 139, including 2004 Texas Amateur
champion Zach Atkinson from Colleyville.
“I played pretty steady all day,” said Atkinson,
who drained six birdies Saturday. “I kind of ran
out of steam coming in.”
Tied with Atkinson are Andre Garcia from
Mansfield and Preston Stanley of Katy. There are
12 players under par headed into Sunday’s final
18 holes. Eight of them, including first-round
leader David Lee, are within five shots of
Bennett. Fifty-four players made the 36-hole cut.
Saturday’s scoring average was 75.65, a bit
higher than Friday, and the number of under-par
rounds dipped from 14 to seven. Part of that
could be attributed to a slight breeze throughout
the day and to Bent Tree drying out after heavy
rains early in the week. The brawny 484-yard,
par-4 sixth hole continues to be the most
difficult, with the field averaging more than a
half-shot over par at 4.53.
The final round begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. An
awards ceremony will be held immediately after
the conclusion of play.