ABILENE, Texas (July 20, 2012) -- Warm temperatures and surprisingly calm winds welcomed the players to the 84th Annual West Texas Amateur which is being held at Diamondback Golf Club. Hosting this championship for the first time, Diamondback Golf Club is putting its best foot forward. Immaculate course conditions combined with smooth undulating greens are providing an enjoyable yet testing championship.
A total of 144 players making up three divisions (Open, Senior, and Super Senior) head into this week’s 54-hole championship all vying to hoist the coveted trophy and claim West Texas Amateur honors.
Dylan Anthony set the pace in the Open division by posting a seven under par, 64. Anthony got hot early and stayed that way through most of his round. His opening nine, 31, included birdies at #1, #2, #4, #6, and #8. He continued the birdie streak when he carded a two on the par 3, 11th, and then another at the par 4, 13th. His one blemish came with a bogey on #14. Determined not to end on a sour note, Anthony drained one final birdie on the par 4, 16th. His opening round 64 is good enough for a two shot lead on Colby Harwell.
Sitting alone in third two shots back of Anthony is Mike Calef. Defending champion, Beau Davis, finds himself six shots back heading into the weekend. Davis’ one under par 70 was good enough for an eleven way tie for eighth. In all 18 players opened their 2012 West Texas with under par rounds.
The Senior division is led by past West Texas Champion, John Grace. Grace started his round steady making three pars early before carding birdies on holes #4 and #6. His lone bogey of the day came on the par 3, 8th hole, giving him a front nine total of one under par, 35. Grace caught fire on the back and quickly found himself atop the leaderboard. Three consecutive birdies on holes #10, #11, and #12 followed by another birdie on #16 vaulted Grace to an opening round of five under par. His 66 gives him a one shot lead over Phil Austin heading into tomorrow’s second round.
Austin’s first round 67 was full of ups and downs. After making birdie on the 10th, his opening hole of the day, Austin quickly gave it back on the par 3, 11th. Another bogey followed by two back to back birdies on #16 and #17 put Austin one under making the turn. Similar to Grace, Austin got in the groove making birdies on holes #1 and# 5 with a hole-in-one thrown in the middle. Austin’s approach on the 173 yard #3 hit and spun in giving him a quick boost up the leaderboard. His three under par back nine gave Austin a opening round total of 67.
Rounding out the top three in the Senior division is Tim Carlton. Tim was smooth the entire day carding 4 birdies and just a single bogey on his way to an opening round total of three under par, 68. Sitting just three shots back of Grace’s early lead are Joe Hawkins, Jack Medick, and Aaron Billings who all posted 69.
Things are stacked in the Super Senior division as four players find themselves tied heading into tomorrow’s second round. Don Grider, Coy Jones, Dale Fell, and Mike Gooden all posted opening rounds of one over par, 72. Sitting in a four- way tie for fourth are Jerry Ransom, Craig Carlisle, Patrick Cooper, and Doug Smith who find themselves just one shot back of the opening round leaders.