WICHITA FALLS – Josh Irving and Will Osborne blistered Wichita Falls Country Club on Friday with an 8-under-par 63 in the second round of the 2019 Texas Four-Ball Championship. The stellar score moved them to 10-under 132 overall, good for a one-shot lead with 18 holes to play.
Irving, a Dallas resident who was the Texas Player of the Year in 2014 and ’15, caught fire on the duo’s back nine. He poured in four birdies over a seven-hole stretch. Wichita Falls’ Osborne, who grew up playing on this golf course, added a pair of late birdies on the team’s inward nine, on which they shot a bogey-free 29.
“Man, Josh played awesome. He really hit it good. I was kind of just along for the ride,” said Osborne, the 2017 North Texas Player of the Year. “I made a couple clutch birdies coming down the stretch, but I wasn’t playing my best today. Josh really picked it up for us and played really well.”
Irving and Osborne will play in the final group for Saturday’s final round with 18-hole leaders Braden Graham and Luke Antonelli from San Antonio. Graham and Antonelli followed up their opening round 66 with a 4-under 67 in Friday’s second round.
Like Irving and Osborne, Graham and Antonelli did most of their damage on the second nine. They combined for four birdies and a bogey-free 31.
“We started off kind of slow on the front side, just kind of fought off pars,”Antonelli said. “We caught a little heat on the back nine and made some birdies.”
Graham and Antonelli finished in third place at the 2018 Texas Four-Ball Championship and came in looking to take home the title this year. Similar to this year, Irving and Osborne held a one-shot lead through 36 holes in 2018. Irving wasn’t able to play in the final round last year, however, as he attended a family funeral. Osborne valiantly went out on his own ball in the final round last year at Maridoe Golf Club, but the team ultimately finished in fifth place.
They’re looking for something different this time.
“The goal tomorrow is to win,” Irving said.
Two shots behind the leaders are Chad Meeks of San Angelo and Justin Holcomb from Holliday. They combined for eight birdies and a 6-under 65 in the second round. Meeks and Holcomb sit at 8-under 134 overall.
Tied for fourth place at 5-under 137 are defending champions Jace Moore from Keller and Fort Worth’s Jordan Woolf, as well as Tate Allred from Perryton and Luke Kane of Amarillo.
Woolf and Moore have more four-ball business to attend to regardless of their results in Saturday’s final round. They qualified for the 2019 U.S. Four-Ball Championship at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort (May 25-29 in coastal Oregon). Woolf and Moore won their U.S. Four-Ball qualifier last October at Gentle Creek with a 9-under 63.
In the Texas Four-Ball Senior Division for amateurs ages 55 and older, defending champions John Pierce and Craig Hall from San Antonio hold a three-shot lead through 36 holes. They collectively made seven birdies on their way to a second round 65 that got them to 8-under 134 overall.
After Thursday’s brutally tough conditions – it was cold, overcast and wet with 20-25 mph winds – Friday was a little bit gentler. The temperatures were slightly colder in the upper 40s, but the winds were closer to 10-15 mph for the most part. Friday’s sporadic sunshine also made the day feel warmer.
“I thought it was playing a little bit easier,” said Pierce, the 2017 Texas Senior Player of the Year. “The wind wasn’t blowing quite as hard, and I don’t think it was quite as cold. The greens were a little bit quicker. They were perfect.”
Three shots behind Pierce and Hall at 5-under 137 is the team of Mike Booker from Houston and San Antonio’s Pat Youngs. They combined for a bogey-free 3-under 68 in the second round. Tied for third place in the Senior Division at 3-under 139 are Ken Coutant from Dallas and McKinney’s Bill Jackson, as well as Lee Sandlin of Dallas and Fort Worth’s Hollis Sullivan.
Coutant and Jackson shot a 3-under 68 on Friday’ Sandlin and Sullivan came in at 1-under 70.
In the Super Seniors Divisions (ages 65 and older), Jim Martin from Dallas and San Antonio’s Bob Hullender built an eight-shot lead after shooting a 2-under 69 in the second round. With four birdies on the day, they sit at even-par 142 overall.
Ron Trevino from Fair Oaks Ranch and Boerne’s Rob Hubbard posted a 5-over 76 in the second round to push their two-day total to 8-over 150.
For Wichita Falls CC, this is the 10th time it has played host to a TGA major championship. Through the years, the 104-year-old facility has hosted three Texas Amateurs, four Texas Senior Amateurs and a pair of Texas Mid-Amateurs. It’s the first time Wichita Falls CC has been the site of a Texas Four-Ball Championship.
The old school parkland-style track is a perfect venue for team golf, however. Narrow sightlines off tee boxes, plenty of thought-provoking doglegs, pure-rolling bentgrass putting surfaces and challenging green complexes all combine to make Wichita Falls CC an ideal risk-reward course. Architects D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolford did a masterful job with their 2008 renovation; all the players in the field this week have commented on the course’s beauty and condition.
They’ll get one more loop around the tree-lined track in Saturday’s final round, which begins at 8 a.m. For more information on the 2019 Texas Four-Ball Championship, click here.