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BOB WEST ON GOLF — Burke looks to make more area history in Texas Amateur

With his star-spangled high school career now in the rear-view mirror, Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Jack Burke headed west on Tuesday to prepare for his most prestigious tournament in 18 years on earth.

Burke is one of 144 players in the 112th Texas Amateur being contested Thursday through Sunday at Midland Country Club. He earned his spot in an event dripping with Texas golf history by shooting a one-under-par 71 to win an April qualifier at Crown Colony Country Club in Lufkin.

This will be the fourth time for Midland CC to host the Texas Amateur and one of those produced a champion from Southeast Texas. Beaumonter Bruce Lietzke, attending the University of Houston at the time, hoisted the championship trophy.

Lietzke is one of three Texas Amateur champs to come out of the Golden Triangle. Jimmy Adams, a Beaumont resident at the time, won in 1987 at the Club at Sonterra in San Antonio. The area’s first Texas Amateur champ was Port Arthuran Marty Fleckman.

Fleckman, a few weeks after helping the University of Houston win the 1964 NCAA championship, won the Texas Amateur at Willow Brook Country Club in Tyler.

Burke, who is headed to Texas State to play his college golf, has won 151 junior and high school tournaments. He claimed the Texas 4A high school state championship as a sophomore and was recently named winner of the Babe Zaharias area Junior Golfer of the Year for the third time.

“Jack is really excited about this opportunity,” said his father and high school coach Aaron Burke. “He knows playing in the Texas Amateur is a really big deal and he knows it’s going to be a strong field. This kicks off a really busy summer for him.”

Biggest golfing name to win the Texas Amateur was Austin’s Ben Crenshaw in 1972. He’s one of nine former champions who combined for 57 wins on the PGA Tour. Crenshaw (19), Lietzke (13) and Mark Brooks (7) accounted for 39 of those.

Other Texas Amateur champs who won on the PGA Tour included Scott Verplank (5), Bob Estes (4), Charles Coody (3), Earl Stewart Jr. (3), Don Massengale (2) and Fleckman (1).

Underscoring the ongoing popularity of the tournament, the Texas Golf Association accepted a record 985 entries for the 2021 event. A total of 33 players were exempt, with the other 111 spots determined at 14 qualifying sites across the state.

The field will be cut to the low 54 and ties after 36 holes of stroke play.

CHIP SHOTS: In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of Keith Mullins, Rick Pritchett, Richard Malone and Roger Baumer won the front with minus 2. That was also the winning score on the back for the foursome of Bob West, Joe Gongora, Bob Luttrull, and Dwayne Benoit.

The Super Saturday 2 ball at Zaharias saw the team of Kenny Robbins, Rufus Reyes, Dan Harrington and Charles Perez take the front with minus 1. There was a tie on the back at minus 1 between the Robbins team and the team of Cap Hollier, Earl Richard, Adam Noel and Mike Noel.

In the Friday 2 ball at Zaharias, the team of Bob Byerly, Raymond Darbonne, Benoit and Charles Leard won the front with minus 3. On the back, the team of West, Don MacNeil, Glenn Knight and Keith Marshall prevailed with minus 1.

Minus 6 was the winning number for the team of Jim Cady, Richard, Scott Bryant and Richard Menchaca in the Thursday 2 ball. The back produced a three-way tie at minus 1 between teams captained by Mullins, West and Robbins.

The Wednesday Zaharias DogFight was played in an all-points count format. Taking first place with 34 points was the team of James Vercher, Larry Johnson, Adam Noel and a ghost player. Second with 31 points was the foursome of Gary Fontenot, Harrell Guidry, Eddie Delk and Lyndon Rojo.

Closest to the pin winners were Robbins (No. 2, 5 feet, 8 inches), Menchaca (No. 7, 8-6), Fontenot (No. 12, 10-9) and Leard (No. 15, 3-0).

Next stop on the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour is Monday, June 28 at Sunset Grove Country Club in Orange. Juniors can sign up for the tournament at stpgajuniorgolf.com.

5 Under Golf Center in Beaumont is hosting three fitting days in June. Callaway is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 16, Cobra will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 18 and Titleist will be at 5 Under from 12 noon to 5 p.m. on the 24th.

Anyone interested in setting up a fitting appointment should contact Austin Williams at 409 232-0205 or 409 291-9988.

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.