Texas Mid-Amateur: Bills, Fulmer, Vinar All Share the Lead after Round One
Gant Bills of Plano, Kendrick Vinar of Richardson, and Austen Fulmer of Cedar Park share the lead at the 40th Texas Mid-Amateur after round one. On Friday, they each fired impressive 3-under 69’s amidst windy conditions at Midland Country Club. A stacked leaderboard that includes 38 players within five shots of the lead are hot on their heels.

“Pretty dang lucky,” Fulmer said of his first round. “I didn’t get in any crap (Midland CC’s native grass) in the practice round and then today I got in some crap and was able to save bogey like three times. I got out of the crap, learned about the crap, and then saved bogey.”

Vinar jumped out to a hot start in route to his 69 as the leader of the morning wave. He made the turn at 3-under before finishing with a clean even par back nine.

“I was very pleased. My ball striking today was awesome,” Vinar said. “I hit 16 greens and kept the ball in front of me. It was fun to be out here. Got my dad on the bag, which probably hasn’t happened since high school golf. It was fun. I had a blast.”

Bills, the third co-leader, rolled in five birdies in Friday's first round and made a clutch up and down on his final hole to finish 3-under. Bills and Fulmer also lead the way in the race for low mid-master (players 40+ years old).

Sitting one shot back of the leaders are five players in a tie for fourth at 2-under. Two Midland Country Club members are included in the log jam. Lane Branum and past champion Terence Begnel had impressive showings on their home course. Each of them had four birdies and will look to continue their strong play this weekend.

“It’s fantastic and what I was hoping for,” Branum said of how he felt after the round. “Didn’t play the back side like I wanted to but kept the round together. The front side was fantastic. I couldn’t ask for a better start.”

Also included in the group tied for fourth are Seminole’s Brady Shivers, El Paso’s Hee Beom Kim, and Argyle’s Marcus Jones.

Two shots back of the lead in a five-way tie for ninth are Dallas’ Scott Maurer, Abilene’s Trey Todd, Tyler’s Clay Hodge, Fort Worth’s Cole Wiederkehr, and Ryan Zamorano of Dallas. Hodge, who won the 2013 Texas Mid-Am, was 3-over through eight holes but fought back to go 4-under in his final ten holes. An eagle on the par-5 12th hole highlighted his round.

Six more players sit in a tie for 14th after rounds of even-par including two-time champion (2017 & 2018) Colby Harwell.

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ABOUT THE Texas Mid-Amateur

Eligibility: Entries are open to male golfers with a USGA Handicap index of 8.4 or less, and who are 25 years of age or older by the first day of championship qualifying.

Format/Field Size: 54 holes of stroke play. At the completion of 36 holes the field is cut to the low 54 players and ties. The field is limited to 132 players.

Mid-Master Recognition: In addition to the overall champion, an award will be given to the low Mid- Master finisher. (Mid-Master – any player 40+ years of age)

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