Chad Sewell during Texas Amateur third round
(Texas Amateur Photo)
SAN ANTONIO, TX (June 18, 2016) -- Chad Sewell is
holes away from making history at the 107th Texas
Amateur presented by Insperity.
The 17-year-old Conroe High School senior holds a
one-shot lead through 54 holes over 2004 champion
Zach Atkinson of Colleyville. If Sewell closes the deal
Sunday at historic Oak Hills Country Club, he’ll become
the youngest winner the storied championship’s 107-
year history. He began Saturday’s third round with a
one-stroke advantage over Atkinson. After 18 holes
under a sweltering sun that emitted temperatures in
high 90s, that’s where they finished.
Sewell and Atkinson battled the heat and A.W.
Tillinghast’s thoughtful and challenging course design
shoot rounds of 1-under-par 70. Through three rounds,
Sewell stands at 6-under 207; Atkinson looms at 5-
under 208. When asked about his thoughts on breaking
the record Plano’s Will Zalatoris set in 2014 by winning
the 105th Texas Amateur presented by Insperity at 17
years, nine months and 29 days old by about two
months, Sewell played it close to the vest.
“I’m not really thinking about that,” said Sewell,
who finished his third round with three threes—birdie,
birdie, par. “I’ve been playing without any
I’m sure it’ll be a pretty nervy first tee shot tomorrow,
but after that I’m sure it’ll be OK.”
Cool words from someone standing on the
threshold of history. Perhaps it’s his youth and
inexperience—this is his first start in a men’s amateur
tournament—or maybe he just possesses the innate
confidence needed to win the most celebrated amateur
tournament in the state.
“My philosophy today was to get to the 13th hole at
even-par for the day or 1-under,” he said.
He almost made it. Sewell made bogey on the
treacherous par-3 13th to send him to 1-over for the
round. The hole is the finisher of a three-hole stretch
considered the toughest part of the course by Oak Hills
members. Saturday the 13th played 218 yards with a
back-left hole location, which was just a few paces off
an edge that drops to a water hazard. Sewell
with birdies on the 16th and 17th.
Atkinson, a 34-year-old father of two who works
his family’s electrical construction company, said he
impressed with Sewell’s steady play. For his part,
Atkinson played extremely well early in the early going.
Three birdies without a bogey on his first 10 holes got
Atkinson into the lead at 7-under. It didn’t last,
however. He bogeyed the long, par-4 11th and 12th
holes and suffered a third bogey on 14.
“If I’m going to catch Chad tomorrow, I’m going to
have to come out and get off to a good start and not
asleep in the middle of my round like I do sometimes,”
said Atkinson, who celebrated his wife Ashley’s
Saturday evening. “On this golf course, you can’t let up
or lay down.”
Chasing Sewell and Atkinson are Travis Vick from
Houston and Fred Wedel from The Woodlands. They’re
tied for third place at 4-under 209. Vick, a 16-year-old
sophomore at Houston Second Baptist, shot 2-under 69
in the third round. He made six birdies and could usurp
Sewell and Zalatoris as the Texas Amateur’s youngest
winner with a low round Sunday.
“I had it going pretty good early,” said Vick, who
plays varsity golf, football and baseball. He also
qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur later this summer.
“Chad looks pretty solid out there. I don’t see him
falling off the leaderboard. If I can get to 8-under
tomorrow, that would be a good number.”
Wedel, a recent graduate of Pepperdine who
advanced to the Semifinals of the 2014 U.S. Amateur,
posted a round of 1-under 70. He either got the
absolute most out of his round or he’s his own worst
critic. For the second straight day, he labored to find
positive comments about his game, even though he’s
just two shots out of the lead.
“I struggled again today,” he said. “I felt like I was
hitting it all over the place. Plus I’m not putting well
that puts pressure on all parts of your game. It’s been
grind out there.”
Tied for fifth place are Branson Davis from
McKinney and Nick Thornton from Boerne. Davis
authored one of the best rounds of the day, a 3-under
68 that included six birdies. Thornton turned in an
par 71. They’re both three shots behind Sewell at 3-
Four of Oak Hills members made Friday’s 36-hole
cut. Nineteen-year-old Mitchell Meissner led after the
first round. He signed for a 3-over 74 in the third round
and is tied for 15th place at 3-over 216. Colby Harwell,
who along with Atkinson and Aaron Hickman won the
2014 U.S. State Team Championships, shot even-par
in the third round. He’s tied for 28th place along with
TGA Director Bobby Baugh at 6-over 219. Brett Nichols
is tied for 47th place at 11-over 224.
Conducted by the Texas Golf Association since
1906, this is the fourth Texas Amateur held at iconic
Oak Hills. The club was the site of, among other high-
profile events, the inaugural PGA Tour Championship
won by World Golf Hall of Famer Tom Watson in 1987.
Past Texas Amateur champions at Oak Hills include
another Hall of Famer, two-time Masters champion Ben
Crenshaw. Charles Coody, winner of the 1972 Masters,
also claimed a Texas Amateur at Oak Hills in 1959.
The proud club also held the 2015 Texas Senior
Amateur and 2013 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play,
won by Mike Booker of The Woodlands. Tillinghast’s
71 golf course played to 6,621 yards in the third round.
The stroke average for the 58 players who survived
Friday’s 36-hole cut was 75.25. The perilous 11th, 12th
and 13th holes all played well over par. The par-4 11th
and 12th played to an average of 4.36 and 4.46,
respectively. The par-3 13th played to 3.44.
Sunday’s final round begins at 8 a.m. By the end
the day, one player will receive the H.L. Edwards
Memorial trophy and have his name engraved on it
alongside the likes of Crenshaw, Coody, Scott
Mark Brooks, Bob Estes and many other greats.
View results for Texas State Amateur Golf Championship