THE WOODLANDS, TX (May 14, 2008) – Mid-Am Robby McWilliams of Bossier City, LA posted an even par 72 on the 7,224 yard Fazio Course to capture a 3 stroke lead over Danny Green of Jackson, TN, Andy Cooper of The Woodlands, TX and Jamie Held of The Woodlands, TX. Meanwhile, John Grace of Fort Worth, TX, winner of the 1994 Texas State Amateur Championship, posted a 1 under par 71 to capture a 6 stroke lead over Mike Rice of Houston, TX, Steven Hakes of San Diego, CA and William Sumner of Conroe, TX.
Starting one stroke back, McWilliams got off to a fast start with birdies at 1 and 7 to shoot 34 on the front nine. Just after he finished the front nine, the field was called in for an hour and a half severe weather delay. Once back on the course, McWilliams bogeyed the 10th hole but quickly recovered with a birdie on the 12th hole. McWilliams played a solid and steady round of golf but stumbled a bit with 3 putts on the 15th and 16th holes to finish even par for the day and the tournament. McWilliams said, “I knew par was going to be a good score and I was under par until I had those little hiccups back there on 15 and 16. I knew even par would probably be in the last group tomorrow and that’s what you want to do.”
Danny Green, who represented Tennessee in the USGA State Team Championship at the Fazio course last year, used his experience with the golf course to his advantage and posted the low round of the day to establish a new course record for the Mid-Am Division with a 3 under par 69. “I played really solid today. If my putter had worked better, I could have made a lot more birdies but I’m very happy with 3 under” said Green. Local resident and club member, Andy Cooper also benefited from the rain delay. After posting a 2 over par 38 on the front nine, Cooper got the hot hand on the back nine and rolled in birdies on the 10th, 17th and 18th holes to finish at 71 tied with Green and Held at 147. After winning the 1st Carlton Woods Invitational in 2006, Andy Cooper finished tied for 24th in 2007.
Club member Jamie Held is excited to be in contention for this tournament going into the final round. “Winning this tournament would be my greatest golfing achievement” said Held. “This is a phenomenal field and a prestigious tournament to win but you can’t think about that. You have to go out there and play solid golf. Against this field it’s going to take a really good score” added Held.
John Grace, who’s played in 34 USGA events and recently regained his amateur status, started the day with a bogey on the 1st hole but quickly turned it around with birdies on 3rd, 4th and 6th holes to shoot 34 on the front nine. He made 8 pars and a single bogey on the 12th hole on the back to post a Senior Division record 71 on the Fazio course and takes commanding 6 stroke lead into tomorrow’s final round. Grace takes his lead into the final round ahead of his expectations. “I felt if I could shoot three rounds under 75, I’d be in contention” he said. “These courses are good enough for the USGA to hold either a US Amateur or a US Open” Grace added.
Mike Rice, the 2005 USGA Senior Amateur Champion and former contestant in the USGA Senior Open Championship knows what it’s like to play in major championships is tied at 147 with Hakes and Sumner. “I thought yesterday’s greens were much harder to putt” said Rice. However, that did not stop him from making birdies on the 1st, 6th, 9th, and 18th holes to post a 1 under par 71 to tie John Grace for the low round of the day and the new Senior Division 18-hole record.