ABILENE, Texas (July 15, 2011) -- The dry West Texas heat was evident as temperatures soared over 100 degrees during the first round of the 2011 West Texas Amateur Championship hosted by the Abilene Country Club’s Fairway Course. The heat did not seem to play a factor for our leaders, Hunter Brown in the Open division, Bob Evans in the Senior division and Michael Hastings in the Super Senior division.
Hunter Brown, from Richardson, set the early pace in the Open division by carding a 5-under par round of 67. Starting on the 10th hole this morning, Brown played his first nine holes at even-par 36, which included a birdie and bogey. It was on Brown’s back nine where he made noise by going 5-under. After a birdie on the par four 1st hole, Brown recorded pars on the following three holes. With five holes left in his opening round, Brown proceeded to birdie the 5th and 6th holes, followed by a par, and then finishing his round with birdies on the 8th and 9th holes.
One stroke off of Brown’s lead heading into the 2nd round is Plano’s Michael Culin. After making his turn at even-par 36, Culin carded 2 birdies and an eagle for is round of 4-under par 68. The Plano product was able to amass four birdies and an eagle during his opening round, with his only blemish being a double bogey on his front side.
Bob Evans, from Trophy Club, will head into the 2nd round with a two-stroke lead after firing an opening round 2-under par 70 in the Senior Division. Evans started off hot with a birdie on the par four 2nd hole and followed that with an eagle on the par five 3rd hole. He gave back two shots with a double bogey on the 5th hole and finished his front nine with a birdie on the par five 9th hole. Evans carded two birdies and two bogeys on his back side to finish as the only Senior player in red numbers with his 2-under par round.
Richardson’s Hunter Brown leads the Open division at 5-under.
Not far behind Evans at even-par 72 sit Horseshoe Bay’s Aaron Billings and Amarillo’s three-time Open division champion of this event, Tom Doughtie. Billings scattered five birdies throughout his round, with two on his front nine and three on his back nine. Doughtie, back-to-back champion in 1989 and 1990, and most recently in 2006, had birdies on the par five 3rd hole as well as the par five 9th hole to turn at 1-under par 35. The defending Senior division champion finished his backside with a birdie the par five 18th hole to register a first round of 35-37—72 and a share of 2nd place.
Waxahachie’s Michael Hastings, the defending champion in the Super Senior division, will carry a slim lead over Coy Jones, of Longview, into the 2nd round after posting an opening round of 3-over par 75. Hastings was able to navigate the Fairway Course with a birdie on each of his sides. Jones started out with a rough front side, but made up for that after the turn by shooting a 1-under par 35 for a first round score of 4-over par 76 to sit in sole 2nd place.
Scheduled for 54-holes individual stroke play with no cut, the West Texas Amateur is open to players who reside in either North or South Texas regions and sports three divisions: Open, Senior (age 55+) and Super Senior (age 65+).
All applicants must be male amateur golfers, belong to a club that is a current member of the Texas Golf Association and have a GHIN Handicap Index of 10.0 or less. Senior players must meet the stipulated age requirements as of July 15, 2011.