Three golfers with local ties earned spots in the 49th Tanos Exploration II/Patterson-UTI Drilling Texas State Open during a Second Chance Qualifying Tournament on Wednesday in Garland.
Former Tyler resident Brian Wilson, the Rose City’s Trey Brooks and Bullard’s Jaxson Bellar all secured bids to the TSO, which begins Tuesday at The Cascades Golf & Country Club in Tyler. Some 16 golfers and 14 alternates were determined from the 156-player field of the 18-hole event on the Bridges Course at Firewheel Golf Park.
Jeremy Freedman, an amateur from Dallas, and England’s George Toone, now of Plano, tied for the top spot with a 5-under 67.
Wilson, now of Fort Worth who played at Bullard High School, placed third at 4-under 68. Bellar, an amateur, and Brooks tied for eighth at 2-under 70.
Other qualifiers were: T4, Alex Gutesha, Dallas, 69; Mason Horner, Argyle, 69; Jake McCrory, Deer Park, 69; Colin Kober (amateur), Southlake, 69; T8, Joshua Aguilar, Rockwall, 70; Todd Rossetti, Sachse, 70; Jesse Speirs, Fort Worth, 70; Chase Traughber, Argyle, 70; Steven Chervony, Boca Raton, Florida, 70; Kalena Preus, Austin, 70; and T16, Jackson Markham (amateur), Dallas, 71.
Wilson birdied five holes on the back nine to shoot up to third.
Alternates for the TSO include: Hallsville’s Lake Juban (71) and Tyler’s Davis Northcutt (72), both amateurs. Juban is the third in line, while Northcutt is 13th.
Other alternates (in order) include: 1, Luke Wynne-Smith, Fredericksburg, 71; 2, Jake Hendrix, Austin, 71; 4, Mike Flanagan (amateur), Wyle, 71; 5, Casey Barbee, Denton, 71; 6, Alden Fortner, Plano, 71; 7, Dawson Lewis (amateur), Flower Mound, 71; 8, Jake Ezell, Dripping Springs, 71; 9, Jonathan Lindsey, Adkins, 71; 10, Ryan Alford, Shreveport, Louisiana, 71; 11, Jared Bray, Katy, 72; 12, Chris Brown Garland, 72; and 14, Mark Czaus, Garland, 72.
Other East Texans who attempted to qualify were: T27, Jordan Bates, Quitman, 72; T50, Chapman Herwood, Tyler, 74; T72, Robert Shields, Tyler, 76; T89, Jackson Smith, Tyler, 77; T96, Jacob Cole (amateur), Tyler, 78; T96, BJ Waters, Tyler, 78; T107, Ryan Myers, Flint, 79; T107, Jay Cox, Paris, 79; T116, Ryan Esparza (amateur), Hideaway, 80; T122, Jonathan Shelton (amateur), Brownsboro, 81; T126, Kas Smith, Tyler, 82; T131, Dannon Pate, Rusk, 83; T147, Jonathan Pollard (amateur), Quitman, 93.
The Texas State Open will be a 72-hole stroke play event consisting of 156 professionals and amateurs competing for a $200,000 projected purse. The field will play 36 holes before being cut to the low 55 scores and ties. All four rounds will be contested at The Cascades Club from Tuesday, July 30 through Friday, Aug. 2.
Defending champion and PGA Professional Ben Kern, who had an historic run at the 2018 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club near St. Louis, is back to compete. Kern, the pro from Georgetown Country Club, was the top club professional at the tournament. He won $33,281 at Bellerive.
He played so well that Kern set a PGA Championship record for club pros. He finished at 277, breaking by two shots the score Jimmy Wright shot in 1969 at NCR Country Club in Ohio. Wright finished fourth that year.
In the TSO last year, Kern won by two shots and collected $42,500.
Michael Salazar, who now plays at Grand Canyon University, was the low amateur in 2018. Salazar is in the field this year.
Past champions in the field this year include: Casey Devoll (2003), Mark Walker (2004), Mikel Martinson (2009), Nathan Tyler (2012), Chris Ward (2013), Anthony Broussard (2014), Dustin Morris (2015), Brax McCarthy (2017) and Kern.
This year’s sponsor exemptions were granted to Kyle Westmoreland, Bobby Massa, Stratton Nolen, Rick Maxey and Bryan Baker (a).
Also receiving an exemption into the event this year is former Dallas Cowboy and CBS color analyst Tony Romo.
There is no admission charge to attend the tournament.