Chad Sewell during Texas Amateur action
(Texas Golf Association Photo)
SAN ANTONIO (June 17, 2016) -- Chad Sewell from
Conroe is playing in his first men’s amateur event this
week. Through 36 holes, the 17-year-old high school
senior proved unfazed by the enormity of the stage.
With a two-day total of 5-under-par 137, he leads the
107th Texas Amateur presented by Insperity headed
into the weekend.
If playing in the state’s oldest and most prestigious
amateur tournament at historic Oak Hills Country Club
was supposed to invoke nerves or discomfort, Sewell
didn’t get the memo. Instead, he’s 36 holes away from
becoming the youngest winner of the Texas Amateur.
Being one of the youngest and most inexperienced
players in the field didn’t bother Sewell, either. While
the 144-player field battled Oak Hills to a second round
scoring average of 75.59, Sewell cruised in with a 2-
In doing so, he closed both his front and back nines
Friday with three straight threes on his scorecard. He
leads the championship by one shot over 2004 Texas
Amateur champion Zach Atkinson from Colleyville.
“Yeah it’s different than playing with kids, but I’ve
always played with older guys,” said Sewell, who is a
three-time winner of the Tyler Rose Junior
Championship (2014-16). “I know I’m plenty long, and
this course doesn’t favor longer hitters anyway.”
Sewell started the second round on the 10th hole.
He birdied the 16th and 17th holes and solved the
swirling winds on the par-3 18th to make par. He
virtually repeated the performance on his inward nine.
Birdies on seven and eight were followed by a near
chip-in on the par-3 ninth. He eased in a 5-foot par
save to finish his round.
“I grew up playing grainy greens like these,” said
Sewell, who has verbally committed to play college golf
at UT-San Antonio. “They’re pretty easy to read. You
just look at the burnt edge on the cup and it’s pretty
Back in 2014 at Brook Hollow Golf Club in Dallas,
Will Zalatoris became the youngest winner of the Texas
Amateur. He was 17 years, nine months and 29 days
old when he raised the H.L. Edwards Memorial trophy in
victory. Zalatoris went on to win the Trans-Mississippi
Championship and U.S. Junior Amateur in the following
weeks. Should Sewell finish the job at Oak Hills this
weekend, he’ll be 17 years, six months and one day old,
besting Zalatoris by about two months.
Plenty of worthy challengers will try to ruin that
storyline, of course. It starts with one of the most
decorated competitors in the field. Not only has
Atkinson won a Texas Amateur, he’s a USGA National
Champion. Along with Colby Harwell and Aaron
Hickman, Atkinson was part of the victorious 2104 U.S.
State Team Championship squad. Atkinson also won the
2013 and ’15 North Texas Mid-Amateurs and advanced
to the Sweet 16 of the 2013 U.S. Mid-Amateur. He lost
that one to eventual champion Mike McCoy.
“Experience always helps,” said Atkinson, who shot
a 4-under 67 on Friday. He sits at 4-under 138 overall.
“I try to stay in the present and hit the shot in front of
me. I don’t get out to play as much as I used to. So
when I do get out, I really enjoy it.”
Atkinson is trying to write his own happy ending
this week, one that has all the markings of a
celebration. He turned 34 years old on Monday, for
starters. His wife Ashley’s birthday is Saturday. His
entire family, including two young sons, is in town and
staying at a nearby resort. “I’ll probably get in some
pool time this afternoon,” he said after completing his
Three players are two shots behind Sewell. Baylor
junior Nick Thornton matched Atkinson for the low score
Friday and shares third place at 3-under 139 with recent
Pepperdine graduate Fred Wedel and James Thompson,
an incoming freshman at Purdue.
First round leader Mitchell Meissner had a rough go
in the second round. He suffered two double bogeys
before he reached the turn and ultimately signed for a
4-over 75. It dropped him back to even-par for the
championship. Meissner, a longtime Oak Hills member,
his tied for ninth place and has plenty of time to climb
back to the top of the leaderboard.
This week marks the fourth time Oak Hills has
hosted the Texas Amateur. Former champions on the
diabolical A.W. Tillinghast-designed gem include Masters
winners Ben Crenshaw and Charles Coody. Crenshaw
won the 1972 Texas Amateur at Oak Hills and went on
to claim green jackets in 1984 and 1995. Coody hoisted
the H.L. Edwards Memorial trophy after the 1959 Texas
Amateur and won his Masters in 1971.
Oak Hills, a thought-proving, shot-makers golf
course, is no stranger to holding large-scale events.
Five-time British Open champion Tom Watson in 1987
won the inaugural PGA Tour Championship at Oak Hills.
The 6-iron he used to birdie the final hole still hangs in
the pro shop. The club also hosted the Texas Open from
1961-94, the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2001 and a
Champions Tour event from 2002-10. Hall of Famer
Arnold Palmer won twice at Oak Hills. Lee Trevino is an
Oak Hills champion, as are Jay Haas (three times), Hale
Irwin, Calvin Peete, Nick Price, John Cook and Corey
View results for Texas State Amateur Golf Championship