CARROLLTON — Playing under scorching hot Texas temperatures, University of Texas golfer Pierceson Coody scorched the Maridoe Golf Club layout for an opening round 66 in the 116th Trans-Mississippi Golf Championship, grabbing the first round lead by three shots.
Coody, the grandson of former Masters champion Charles Coody, was second in the Trans-Miss last year, but left little doubt who was the top golfer this year, at least on a steamy Tuesday when temperatures reached nearly 100 degrees and a heat index in the triple digits.
Tied for second at 69 was Baylor University golfer Cooper Dossey, who won the prestigious North & South Amateur at Pinehurst, two week ago, and had the lowest score of the afternoon. Mid-Amateur Scott Harvey and Australian Darcy Brereton also shot 69.
Billy Tom Sargent from Western Kentucky University heads up a threesome who shot 2-under-par 70. Defending champion Hayden Springer of Fort Worth, attempting to become the first repeat champion in 48 years, shot an even par 72 and was six shots back.
Van’s Logan Lockwood, who plays for Texas State University, is tied for 36th after a 3-over 75. Pierceson Coody’s twin, Parker, is tied for 50th (4-over 76).
The field has 144 golfers.
A measure of how hard the par 72 course was playing in the morning (cooler) round alone there was 16 rounds of 80 or higher only two under 70. Dossey had the only sub-70 score in the afternoon.
A recent new Maridoe member, Coody, who lives in nearby Plano, set the new competitive course record at the Steve Smyers renovated layout, known as one of the toughest in North Texas.
“I have been playing good for a while and this is just a continuation of it,” Coody said. “I switched to a new Armlock putter last week because I was tired of putting bad and I hit it solid all day long.”
He birdied holes 2-4-6-7-11-14 and 17 with only a bogey on the No. 9. He also skimmed the side of the hole twice on the back nine for birdies which could have pushed his score even lower.
Brereton hadn’t seen or even heard about course until he landed in America three days ago.
“My host family just told me it was very exclusive and very hard,” Brereton, 24, said after coming over here to escape the Australian winter. “It’s very competitive, but in a good way. It allows you to test yourself.”
Harder was the typical Texas summer heat which Brereton said he didn’t get to see in such large doses back home.
“It’s a shock to the system for sure, but I played here (Trans-Miss) last year and I’m here for a couple of weeks, try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur before heading back home. I hope to turn pro by the end of the summer.”
He probably had the most interesting round of the day, chipping in twice for birdies including once from all the way across the 16th green and holing a massive 65-foot putt on No. 7 for eagle.
Harvey, 40, took a five-shot lead in the separate Mid-Am division, but proved he still likes playing with the amateur college kids. Harvey is coming off his second victory in the last three years in the prestigious Coleman Cup at storied Seminole Golf Club, but as a new dad and working a full-time job, he has begun to cut back on his amateur schedule.
The former U.S. Mid-Amateur champ quickly left Maridoe after his opening round to tend to family and work duties, saying he doesn’t have the time for golf he once did.
Dossey probably has as much momentum as anybody coming into the event this year, having not played since his victory at storied Pinehurst last month.
“I saw an interview with Brooks Koepka who said when he started on the Tour he was just trying to make the cut, now he is trying to win. Now that I’ve won, I know I can do it, I just want to compete every week,” Dossey said. “It’s a different mindset. I’ve chosen to love this place, not dread it.”