LEWISVILLE — Tyler’s Bobby Massa, showing again flashes of brilliance, shot a 6-under par 66 Friday morning to get back into the hunt at the Bright Realty Texas State Open at The Lakes at Castle Hills. The hot round on a hot day could have been even better but for a double bogey six on the par-4 ninth hole, Massa’s final hole of the day.
The 66 by Massa left him three shots off the pace set by Scott Kelly of Austin, a left hander who posted a second-round 68 to go with his opening 67 for a 9-under 135 through two rounds of the 72-hole event. Sitting just one back of Kelly is Casey Clendenon of Katy with a 69 Friday. First round leader Michael Bradham slumped to a 78 to leave him at even par 144, just good enough to make the cut for the weekend.
Joining Massa in a tie for third at 138 were Anthony Broussard of Addison, Chris Parra of Dallas and Scott McVarish of Magnolia. Another stroke back at 139 was a group of three led by Clark Dennis of Fort Worth. It was Dennis, a former tour player now 47 and playing himself back into shape for a possible Champions Tour career in a few years, who edged Massa last week at the East Texas Open in Center.
The three other contestants from Tyler did not fare as well. After an opening round 70, Blaine Weiterman shot 75 in the second round to miss the cut by a single shot. Also missing the 36-hole cut were Cody Massa, Bobby’s older brother, at 146 and Stetson McMillan at 149.
After a lackluster first round, Massa started his second round on the 10th hole and got off to a good start with pars on the first three holes before carding a birdie on the 13th, a 242-yard par-3. He then birdied the shorter par-3 16th and added another one at the par-5 18th to make the turn in 33 strokes, three under par.
Gifted with enormous power off the tee, Massa actually drove over the green at the short, dogleg par-4 first hole but managed to escape with a par. He then made par at the 11th before a torrid stretch where he went birdie-eagle-birdie on holes three through five. On the par-5 fourth hole, he reached in two and canned an eagle putt.
The Grand Prairie native, who has called The Cascades home for several years, reached 8 under par for his round with another birdie on the par-5 eighth hole. He then pulled his drive on the par-4 ninth and after playing safely out into the fairway, left his approach in the fringe and took three putts for the disappointing double bogey.
Afterwards, Massa, a near winner of this event in 2009 at The Cascades, was still upbeat about getting back into contention.
“I putted well today and that kept me in the round,” Massa said. “I think I was missing some fairways and that caught up with me on the double on the last hole. But my timing is still a little off and I am going to hit some balls and work that out.”
Kelly, a recent graduate of Sam Houston State in Huntsville, continued his good play with another strong round. For two days, he has posted only two bogeys more than offset with 11 birdies.
“I was hitting the ball well and making some putts,” Kelly said of his round. “I actually got to 10-under but stumbled just a little coming in and finished at 9-under. I know it will take four good rounds to win here so I will just try to play my best and see what happens.”
Playing in the afternoon heat that reached well over 100 degrees, the seasoned Dennis continued his good play of late with a 71 that included two bogeys on his back nine.
“The heat was getting to me some there on the back nine,” Dennis said. “I felt a little woozy and have a headache right now.”
A winner in 1992 who shot a 59 in the state open in 2009 at The Cascades, Dennis will join Kelly, Massa and the other low 50 scores and ties for the weekend play Saturday and Sunday.