Lewis Stephenson after first Texas Golf Association title
HORSESHOE BAY, TX (September 11, 2016) -- Lewis
Stephenson from Mansfield rolled in a 15-foot birdie
on the final hole Sunday afternoon to win the 2016
Texas Senior Amateur Championship by two shots
over John Pierce from San Antonio. Stephenson was
rock solid in the final round with a 2-under-par 69
and posted 4-under 209 for the 54-hole
championship at spectacular Escondido Golf & Lake
Club. It was his first statewide Texas Golf Association
“I literally cannot believe it,” an emotional
Stephenson said moments after the victory. A late
arrival to tournament golf, the 56-year-old dentist
played baseball in college. He started playing
competitive golf in his late 30s. “I’ve just worked so
hard over time. I know all the guys I’m playing with
every time I go out, and I respect and appreciate
them. People ask me how you play tournament golf,
and I say, ‘You go out and get your brains beat out
for about 10 years.’ But I was too stubborn to quit. I
can’t believe it all came together.”
It was Stephenson applying the beatings this
time around. He grabbed the 36-hole lead after an
impressive 2-under 69 in the second round, part of
which was played in a quick-arriving storm that
brought rain and 25-30 mph wind gusts. He played
even-par golf during the squall, while most of the
field took their lumps in the form of bogeys and
double-bogeys. Stephenson, who finished fifth in the
2015 Texas Senior Amateur, said his resiliency in
Saturday’s tough weather conditions was a key to his
“It was such an odd thing,” he said of the storm.
“Whenever you come out of it, you think, ‘That
could’ve been really bad.’ I just hung in there. That’s
what golf is: you can’t complain. The elements are
part of it.”
Stephenson started the final round with a one-
shot advantage over Ed Brooks, the 1997 Texas
Amateur and Southern Amateur champion.
Stephenson led by two over Texas Golf Hall of Famer
and 2010 Texas Senior Amateur winner John Grace
from Fort Worth. Stephenson and Brooks birdied the
first hole. For the next 90 minutes, Stephenson kept
Brooks and Grace at arm’s length with a succession
of clutch par saves. A change in his putting game
proved to be a major difference maker.
During Thursday’s practice round, Stephenson
switched to a left-hand low putting grip. He said the
new look and feel of the grip provided a great deal of
comfort. Over the years, he’s gone back and forth
between a left-hand low and conventional putting
“My putting was really good,” he said. “I made
some critical five- and six-footers for par today. I
was steady with those five- and six-footers putts and
didn’t let them derail me.”
San Antonio’s Pierce, playing a group ahead,
turned 55 years old on Friday. It was the last day
possible to be eligible for the tournament, reserved
for senior amateurs aged 55 and older. Pierce
promptly took a lost ball after his first competitive
shot in senior amateur play. He rallied and made
three birdies on the front nine. Pierce made the turn
at 2-under overall to jump into contention.
Meanwhile, Brooks made a double-bogey on the
par-4 seventh hole to disrupt his momentum.
Stephenson made it a three-shot swing with a birdie
on the hole. He looked to be in trouble on the eighth,
however. Stephenson drove the ball into a fairway
bunker, and then hit his second shot under the lip of
a bunker in front of the green. Undeterred,
Stephenson blasted out to seven feet and calmly
rolled in the putt to save par.
A birdie on the par-5 ninth hole gave
Stephenson a two-shot lead over Pierce. Brooks and
Grace failed to make up ground on the back nine,
and Stephenson ultimately made enough pars down
the stretch to hold off Pierce. Both players birdied
the final hole.
“All week long I putted fantastic,” said Pierce,
who finished alone in second place at 2-under 211.
“On the first hole, I thought I was staring at a bogey.
Then I holed a 40-footer for par. I started rolling it,
and I hit a lot of good shots. I missed my share
coming in, but this is really cool for my first senior
Brooks and Grace both shot 1-over 72s in the
final round. Brooks took third place at even-par 213.
Grace was fourth with 1-over 214. Jerry Hudgins
from Tyler came in fifth place with a final score of 2-
Stephenson was greeted with a tearful hug from
his wife Janice immediately after the final putt
dropped. Also in Stephenson’s gallery were his
longtime friend who often caddies for him, Steve
Henry and his wife Fran. All three walked every hole
in support of Stephenson.
View results for Texas Senior Amateur
ABOUT THE Texas Senior Amateur
The State Senior Amateur is the second oldest
event of all the TGA tournaments, having first
been played in 1937.
Eligibility: Entries are open to male amateur golfers
GHIN Handicap Index of 6.4 or less and who are 55
of age or older as of the tournament start date (first
of tournament play). All players will be competing in
division from the same tees and yardage.
Format/Field Size: Play will be contested over 54
stroke play. All players will be competing in one
from the same tees and yardage. The field is limited
144 players. At the completion of the 36 holes the
be cut to the low 54 players and ties.
View Complete Tournament Information