LEWISVILLE — By canning a 90-foot chip shot for an eagle on the par-5 finishing hole, Chris Ward of McKinney closed the door on playing partner Stuart Deane and claimed the Bright Realty Texas State Open Sunday afternoon at The Lakes at Castle Hills.
By winning the 43rd playing of the state open that is sponsored by the Northern Texas Section of the PGA, Ward becomes the third player in tournament history to have won both the state open and the state amateur. Ward won the state am in 2010 at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas.
The win certainly didn’t come easy for the former Texas Tech golfer, who let a three-stroke lead on the back slip away with bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes and then had to make an 8-foot par putt on the par-4 17th to stay at 12 under and tied with Deane and John Kimbell of San Antonio, who was already in the clubhouse after firing a final round 67.
With Deane already some 12 feet away for a birdie, Ward chipped from the back right side of the green and saw his shot gradually pick up speed as it trundled down the slope and then went straight into the hole for a stunning end to play.
“I don’t know why but I just felt real good over the ball,” an elated Ward said immediately afterwards. “It was nice to come back that way.”
Ward’s winning total on a fast and well-conditioned course was 274, 14 under, and his efforts earned him the winner’s check of $25,000. For the second year in a row, low amateur honors went to Kolton Crawford of Mansfield, a University of Arkansas golfer who finished in a tie for sixth with Chris Parra of Dallas at 9-under 279.
Tyler’s Bobby Massa had another good round in what was a roller coaster ride of a tournament. The long hitter shot 69 after making an uncharacteristic bogey on the par-5 final hole.
“It’s frustrating,” Massa said after signing his scorecard. “I shot three under but it could have easily been four or five shots better. I hit some good putts that just didn’t go in.”
Massa’s 6-under total of 282 placed him a tie for 21st and a disappointment since he was in good position after a second round 66 that included a double bogey on his final hole of that round. His third round of 75, 3-over par, effectively ended his chances to win the tournament but another round in the 60s no doubts buoys his confidence for the rest of the season.
“I will take a week off from the Adams Tour and then play an event in Kansas and then the Oklahoma State Open later this month,” Massa said.
Ward joins World Golf Hall of Famer Ben Crenshaw of Austin and former University of Houston golfer Terry Snodgrass of Arlington as players who have won both the state open and the state amateur.
“That state amateur was a big highlight of my amateur career and this is definitely the highlight thus far of my pro career,” Ward said.
“To have my name go on that trophy with the other names on it is quite an honor.”
Deane and Kimbell did not go home empty handed. They share a new award presented by the Northern Texas Section of the PGA, the low club pro award.