TYLER, Texas – Jack Ireland recorded a Texas State Open record and four-day total of 25-under-par to win the 51st Higginbotham Texas State Open. Ireland fired rounds of 63-64-64-64-255 at The Cascades Club to win the Championship by four shots. The previous best mark was held by Kelly Grunewald who recorded 22-under-par at the 2005 Texas State Open.
Ireland started the final round with a two-shot lead over playing competitor Dillon Board, who he was paired with all four rounds. He got off to a slow start, only one-under after seven holes. Then on the eighth hole he made an eagle before birdieing the ninth to get to 4-under-par at the turn, where he led by four shots. Ireland added two more birdies on the back nine, on holes 14 and 15 to secure his victory.
Amazingly, Ireland was bogey free on the back nine for the entire week that included 13 birdies and an eagle.
“This win is a huge confidence booster, it will hopefully get me down the road playing in a few more events and will hopefully breed better golf,” said Ireland. “I tried to just stay focused on my game, I knew if I kept continuing to play like the first three rounds it would take care of itself in the end.”
Ireland earned $42,500 from the record $210,000 purse for his win this week. Matthew Watkins (a) of Heath, Texas, earned Low Amateur honors after rounds of 67-66-66-64-263 to finish at 17-under-par.
Watkins is a rising sophomore at the University of New Mexico and he is also a former Ewing Automotive NTPGA Junior Tour member.
Watkins spoke about his week in Tyler and said, “It gave me good confidence knowing how good I can be if I really focus and try not to make many mistakes.” “[my] Short game and the ability to get up and down when I needed to was the best part of my game this week,” said Watkins.
Nic Ishee, PGA Assistant Professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas, Texas, earned Low PGA Professional honors. He was one of two PGA professionals to make the cut and fired rounds of 67-70-71-68-276 to finish the tournament at 4-under -par and in a tie for 45th place.
“This is awesome, this is the best section in the country, it is just cool to be the low PGA professional,” said Ishee.
The 51st Higginbotham Texas State Open, presented by Joyce Crane and Veritex Bank was a 72-hole stroke play event that consisted of 123 professionals and 33 amateurs competing for a purse of $210,000. 63 players survived the cut after round two.
All four rounds were contested at The Cascades Club on Tuesday, July 27 through Friday, July 30.
The Cascades Club: 6,882 yard, par 70