Pottsboro's Reily wins 112th Texas Amateur golf title

Herald Democrat
Pottsboro native and University of Houston golfer Austyn Reily won the 112th Texas Amateur Tournament by a stroke at Midland Country Club.

MIDLAND — Minutes after Austyn Reily calmly tapped in a three-foot par putt to win the 112th Texas Amateur by a single shot, he didn’t credit supreme ball-striking, accuracy off the tee or a deft putting stroke for the historic victory.

Reily, a University of Houston junior from Pottsboro, displayed all of those characteristics on his way to posting the winning score of 10-under-par 278. But it was something else, he said, that carried him at Midland Country Club.

“Patience and humbleness,” Reily said. “You can’t get too out in front of yourself, and you can’t get too high on a pedestal. You have to stay level-headed, as low to the ground as possible and control what you can control. And just do your best from there.”

His best led a crowded field at the top of the leaderboard to earn the victory and have his name etched on the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy alongside the likes of Ben Crenshaw, Charles Coody, Scott Verplank and Will Zalatoris.

“It’s so surreal,” Reily said. “It hasn’t even settled in yet. Just to put my name on that trophy with so many great names, too many to count, just to put my name up there with theirs is very special to me and my family.”

This was the fourth time the Texas Amateur was held at Midland Country Club and Reily was the just the lastest to have success here. In 1965, it was won by Houston Cougar Randy Petri. In 1971, Bruce Lietzke, another UH alum, added his name to the H.L. Edwards Trophy in Midland. Ed Brooks did the same in 1997. The proud club also welcomed the 1963 and 2001 editions of the Women’s Texas Amateurs, won by Sandra Palmer and Denis Flores, respectively.

Reily started the final round tied for the lead with Hutto’s Jake Doggett, and despite the best efforts from a bevy of pursuers, in the end it came down to those two.

“I kind of had a feeling going into 15, the par 5, that it was just two,” Reily said. “Once we got to 17, I knew it was definitely between us. I was one up on Jake going into 16, and then we flip-flopped and basically all square going into 17.”

The final few holes had a distinct match play feel as Reily and Doggett separated themselves by a couple shots. Up by a shot, Reily airmailed the par-3 16th and made bogey. Doggett, a fifth-year senior at Midwestern State, made par. They were tied at 10-under with two holes to play.

Doggett then overshot the par-4 17th and made bogey, while Reily made a routine two-putt par to go back up by a shot. Doggett had a chance to force extra holes on the par-4 18th, but his birdie effort came up short. Reily shot 2-under 70 in the final round. Doggett posted 1-under 71.

Reily’s mom Melissa was on the bag. The two shared a tearful embrace on the 18th green. Reily said it meant the world to him to have his mom by his side; he called her his best friend.

“It was amazing,” Melissa Reily said. “It was such an honor to caddie for Austyn these past few days. I just love watching him play. I’m just so proud of him.”

Doggett finished alone in second at 9-under 279. He and Reily were the only ones in the field to post all four rounds under par.

Third place belonged to JT Pittman, a UNLV junior from Monahans. Starting at even-par for the day, he rolled in a 35-foot birdie on the par-4 first hole, then ran one in from 15 feet on the par-4 fifth hole.

Then Pittman found something in his iron game and has six straight birdies from homes 11 through 16.

He tied Midland Country Club’s competitive course record with an 8-under 64, matching Tyler’s Clay Hodge from the opening round.

Clayton King from Uvalde took fourth place after he shot 69-68 on the weekend to finish at 7-under 281. Michael Heidelbaugh from Dallas and Chris Berzina from Fort Worth tied for fifth place at 6-under 282. The Top 15 finishers earned exemptions into 113th Texas Amateur next June at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler.

Last year’s champion, Trey Bosco of Austin, tied for ninth at 4-under.