CARROLLTON – Jace Moore and Jordan Woolf had a simple strategy for the 2018 Texas Four-Ball Championship at Maridoe Golf Club, one of the most intimidating and difficult courses in the state. They wanted to play aggressively from the first hole to the last one, and it was that mindset that led to their victory in the first Texas Golf Association Major Championship of the season.
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Moore and Woolf combined to shoot rounds of 70-71-71 to post 4-under-par 212, which was good for a two-shot victory over Maridoe members Marcus Jones and Thomas Tyler. Saturday’s final round became a three-team race between Moore and Woolf, Jones and Tyler and Will Osborne, who played the final round alone because his partner Josh Irving was attending a family member’s funeral.
Through the first 36 holes, Osborne and Irving build a one-shot lead over Jones and Thomas and a two-shot margin ahead of Moore and Woolf. It quickly turned into a shootout. At different points throughout the early part of the final round, each team took a turn holding the lead. Several times all three teams were tied.
Moore and Woolf said the turning point was the 431-yard, par-4 13th hole, an uphill dogleg left with cavernous bunkers dotted along the left side of the hole. “We don’t like to lay up much,” Woolf said early in the week, and they backed it up when both Moore and Woolf blasted drivers over the bunkers and into the rough instead of trying to drive their tee shots into the fairway.
Both drives came to rest in good spots less than 100 yards from the green. Their aggressive lines effectively took about 75 yards off the hole’s total yardage. Woolf hit his approach first and stuck it to 4 feet. Then Moore hit a lob wedge even closer – to just 2 feet for a kick-in birdie that gave them a two-shot lead at the time.
“The birdie we made on 13 was pretty good,” Woolf said. “We both hit driver, which is pretty high-risk. That one helped us quite a bit.”
Osborne, for his effort, put up a valiant fight on his own ball. He missed a couple 10-foot par putts early in the day, but finally got one to fall when he made a 15-foot birdie on the sixth hole. After falling behind a couple shots, he battled back and grabbed a share of the lead after he poured in an 80-foot birdie on the 10th hole.
His undoing was a tragic quadruple-bogey 7 on the par-3 14th. After his 7-iron came up short of the green and finished inside the hazard line of a lake – but dry – Osborne’s second shot spun back into the water.
“It was tough out there today,” said Osborne, the 2017 North Texas Player of the Year. “I hung in there a little bit, but then it was unfortunate there on the par-3. I really had a good chance to be a couple under going into that hole, but a couple putts didn’t fall.”
Osborne and Irving finished tied for fifth place at 3-over 219.
Jones and Thomas, the host club members, had their time in the lead, as well. They were even-par on the front nine – and 4-under for the championship – before a pair of back nine bogeys derailed their chances. They represented Maridoe well, however, with their second place finish at 2-under 214.
Luke Antonelli and Braden Graham finished in third place at 1-under 215. Clint Frost and Chase Chapman took fourth place with 1-over 217. Fifth place was shared between Osborne and Irving, CJ Brock and Rick Sulzer and Christopher Wheeler and Derek Abel. They all finished at 3-over 219.
Ultimately, it was Moore and Woolf and their “No Laying Up” attitude that prevailed. They played the final six holes at 1-under par to seal the victory.
“It’s definitely cool just to get to play TGA events, there are just so many good players,” Woolf said. “Any time you get a chance to win, it’s kind of surreal. In amateur golf, we just have so many good players in Texas, especially in north Texas.”
In the Senior division, John Pierce and Craig Hall won in a two-hole playoff over Bobby Baugh and John Stark. The two teams tied after 54 holes at 3-over 219. They tied again on the first playoff hole – the par-4 ninth hole – with pars. The playoff moved the uphill par-4 10th hole, and Hall rolled in a 6-footer for par to win the Senior division championship.
"The playoff was tough,” Hall said. “Today was a tough day. It didn’t come as easily today as it did yesterday. So we grinded it out and made it to the end of the playoff. We made a couple of tough pars and pulled it out.”
Pierce, one of the best seniors in the state, said he was proud of Hall for sinking the winning putt and hanging tough on a difficult course for three days. Hall couldn’t have been more happy with the outcome.
“For me, this is a big deal,” Hall said. “John has played a lot of high-level competitive golf, and as he said, we have known each other for a long time. I play a little bit here and there, so this is a really big deal for me. I am thrilled to be standing here next to my good friend John with the trophy.”
In the Super Senior division, the final round on Saturday was more of a coronation than anything else. Veterans John Grace, a Texas Golf Hall of Fame inductee, and Bill Holstead started the day with a six-shot lead. They won their division was a whopping 13 shots after rounds of 73-71-70 for a total of 2-under 214.
“It’s great because we’ve been playing together for 30, 40 years,” Grace said. “We’re 70 years old and it’s a lot of fun to still be playing and to get to win something.”
The TGA extends its sincere appreciation to Maridoe Golf Club, its generous owner Albert Huddleston, the welcoming membership and hard-working staff, as well as our volunteers, for all their dedication and efforts in making the 2018 Texas Four-Ball Championship a memorable event. For more information on this event, including complete scoring, click here.