Historical Write-Ups ’60s
The Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament, already one of the biggest junior golf tournaments in the country, took on added prestige as golfing legend Ben Hogan agreed to appear at a clinic in connection with the 4th Annual event.
Hogan had gained the nickname ?Iceman? during his tour days because he would not talk with the galleries. The Texas great explained that he was not being unfriendly, but only concentrating so hard that he forgot they were there. But on this particular occasion, Hogan showed what a warm person he was by agreeing to put on the clinic and speak to the juniors at a banquet without being paid.
The news of Hogan’s appearance excited the entire Southwest as the number of entries double from 205 in 1959 to an unbelievable 422 in 1960. Hundreds of enthusiastic junior golfers and their parents crowed into Weeks Park to see the master stage and hour-long clinic the day before the tournament started.
After an afternoon full of tips on the game of golf, the scene shifted to Midwestern State University where Hogan addressed the banquet on the game of life. He gave an inspiring talk on courage and told his own story of recovering from a near-fatal automobile accident to rise to the top in his profession again.
The focus was back on the juniors Wednesday as Borger’s Jerry Abbott repeated as medalist in the qualifying round. His fine 69 included a record 31 on the back nine.
But for the remainder of the tournament, the spotlight was on Norman Taylor of Dallas. The 17-year-old carded a one-shot lead over Jen Elliott of Stephenville and Bobby Lockett of San Angelo.
Taylor, showing the poise of a seasoned pro, built that lead to two shots on Friday with two-under-par 69 to give him a 139 total. Only Elliott was able to stay close with a 70 that left him a 141 at the halfway point.
On Saturday, however, it was all Taylor as the junior’s golf was in a class by itself. He fired closing rounds of 70 and 67, establishing a new tournament record of 276 – nine strokes better than Borger’s Don Lackey. He was the only player to ever shoot four sub-par rounds in the tournament.
Elliott and Richard Killiar finished third at 291 – 15 shots off Taylor’s incredible pace.
The growing number of junior golfers forced the 6th Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament to be played on two courses. A record 475 junior golfers signed up to play in what was now the biggest junior golf tournament in the world.
Another golfing legend, Bryon Nelson, was the guest pro this year, and after a demonstration of shot-making accuracy, he played nine holes with the 1961 T-O Junior champ and runner-up Jeff Voss and Bill Holstead.
Holstead seemed ready to take up where he left off the previous year as he matched the golfing great with a two-over-par 38 on the front nine of Weeks Park. But the 15-year-old Holstead would not be a factor in this year’s tournament.
But the golf was still as hot as the weather. In Wednesday’s qualifying round, Amarillo’s Steve LaCrone and Conroe’s Danny Nichol, the Texas State Amateur runner-up, tied for medalist honors with 66s.
But in Thursday’s first round at Wichita Falls Country Club, it was Voss who appeared ready to defend his title. He carded a three-under-par 68 on the more difficult course to take a one-shot lead over Eugene Mitchell of Dallas and Gaylong Burk of Oklahoma City.
Voss built his lead to four shots on Friday with a even-par 71 and a 36-hole total of 139. Mitchell carded a 74 to remain in second place with a 143 total. LaCrone and Beaumont’s Randy Wolfe were six back at 145.
Voss seemed a shoo-in on Saturday as the Dallas star burned up the first 16 holes in 3-under fashion to extend his lead to eight strokes. But just when everything was going his way, he ran into trouble with a careless bogey on 17 and a double-bogey on the 18th hole.
Mitchell, playing steady golf, pared 17 and birdied 18 to cut the lead in half.
Despite a four-shot lead, Voss’ confidence had slipped away and he ballooned to a 42 on the next nine to relinquish the lead for good. Mitchell went on to win the tournament by five shots.
A promising young junior golfer named Bill Holstead nearly stole the show in the 5th Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament. The 14-year-old Wichitan began by dazzling visiting pro Earl Stewart in a nine-hole exhibition and finished by coming within a whisker of being the youngest player to ever win the tournament.
After 400 youngsters attended the Dallas professional’s clinic, Stewart played the front nine of Weeks Park with defending champion Norman Taylor, Jay Cole of Fredrick, Okla., J.W. Hawkins of Jacksboro and Holstead.
Holstead not only beat Taylor and the other two juniors, but came within a stroke of tying the amazed pro.
A trio of Texans, Mike Fry, Mike Cervin, and Jay Cole shared medalist honors on Wednesday with two-under-par 69s, but a problem of sheer numbers created havoc at Weeks Park.
The number of junior golfers had grown again from the previous year, numbering close to 450, and it was close to impossible to accommodate that many golfers on one golf course. Despite starting the first players at dawn, some were forced to finish in darkness.
Times sports writer Buddy Works reported that dozens of spectators helped out by shining their headlights on fairways and greens to enable the golfers to play the final holes.
City fans, still hoping for a local boy to win, had something to cheer about Thursday when Doug Holmes carded to three-under-par 68 to grab the first round lead.
Holmes, the younger brother of three-time runner-up Jerry Holmes, led the field by two shots after a flawless round including 15 pars and 3 birdies. Dave Eichelberger of Waco and Mike Madlock of Marshall were the only other players to break par with one-under-par 70.
But Holmes stumbled in Saturday’s second round as a cold putter and some bad bounces resulted in a 79 that dropped him back to a third-place tie. Eichelberger’s 73 was good for a two-shot lead. Hadlock managed a 75 to remain alone in second place and Jeff Voss of Dallas carded a one-under-par 70 to tie Holmes at 147.
Almost unnoticed in the scramble for the lead was young Holstead who also fired a 70 on Friday after a first-round 79. But he would make his presence know soon enough.
On Saturday morning, Holstead moved into a share of the lead with a sizzling five-under-parr 66 that deadlocked him with Voss. Eichelberger was a stroke off the pace after scrambling for another 73. But in the afternoon round, it turned into a two-man tournament as Voss and Holstead outdistanced the rest with their sub-par golf.
Paired together for the final 18 holes, the two battled head-to-head. The 17-year-old Dallas youth gained the upper hand on the back nine and lead by two going into the par 3 17th hole. But Holstead canned a 35-foot birdie putt, and when Voss bogied, they were tied again with just one hole left to play.
After good drives, both players missed the green with their second shots. Holstead was away and hit his chip to within six inches of the cup. The pressure shifted off Voss, but he responded with another fine shot that stopped just a foot away. Voss holed his putt, and with a playoff almost assured. Holstead missed an apparent tap in to give the Dallas golfer the title in the most exciting T-O Junior to date.
Young Bill Holstead, still hoping to bring the first Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament title home, was the city’s main hope in the 7th Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament.
But the tournament itself was in jeopardy. Tournament sponsors were finding it more difficult each year to house and feed 400-plus young golfers wanting to enter. But Wichitans again responded by opening their homes to the youngsters and every participant had a place to stay during the tournament.
The host pro for this year’s event was Texan Don January. The lean tour pro, at the height of his PGA career, showed junior golfers how he hit those low, screaming irons and some of the finer points of the short game.
Juniors set out the next day in 100-degree-plus weather and Don Furguson of Dallas sizzled to a three-under-par 68 to take the medalist honors.
In first round action, no one shattered par, but the trio of Rick Proctor of Dallas, Robert McKinney of Lubbock, and Robert Holmes of Oklahoma City posted 72s. Holstead could only manage a 78.
No one seemed to want the lead in the second round as Proctor finally claimed it with a two-over par 73 for 145 total and a one shot lead. Holmes and Kenny Brown of Denton were next at 146.
But Saturday it was Holstead, again, who came on with a flurry of birdies and pars to move into contention. His two-under par 69 enabled him to move six strokes back to within two of the lead. But another golfer also moved into contention. Houston’s Bob Diamond matched Holstead’s 69 to tie Proctor for the lead at 218 with young Bill two back going into the final 18 holes.
It turned into a two-man duel reminiscent of two years before as Proctor faded out of the picture and Diamond and Holstead battled it out.
The lead changed hands several times with Holstead one ahead at the turn. Diamond birdied 10 to tie things up and the pair was still tied going into the 17th, but Holstead muffed a short pitch shot on the par 3 to enable Diamond to take the lead and the Houston golfer wrapped things up on 18 with a par.
Holstead became the second golfer to finish runner-up more than once in the T-O Junior. Still no golfer had won the tournament more than once.
Another rising star appeared on the horizon in the 8th Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament. The name of Massengale was already familiar to the golf world in the person of Don. But the PGA tour pro was going to have to share the spotlight with his brother in the near future. And Ricky gave evidence of that fact in Wichita Falls that year.
The T-O Junior drew over 400 entries for the fifth year in a row as young golfers flocked into the city Tuesday to see Texas A&M golf coach Henry Ranson and tee it up under the hot Texas sun.
Ranson, a tour pro before taking the Aggie coaching job, gave youngsters tips on how to play Texas-type golf, shots like the punch shot into the wind and a low draw off the tee. The emphasis was on the kind of shots young golfers needed when playing courses in the Southwest.
Panhandle golfers dominated qualifying on Wednesday as Buddy Hamilton of Amarillo and Richard Ellis of Pampa tied for medalist honors with even-par 71s. Hamilton birdied three of the last four holes while local favorite Bill Holstead faltered to lose his shot at the medal. Holstead double-bogied the 13th and 18th holes on the back nine to card a 72 and finish third. The difference was a missed 4-foot putt on the last hole.
Another Amarillo junior, James Herring, grabbed the first round lead with a one-under-par 70 Thursday at Wichita Falls Country Club. Close behind was Lubbock's Robert McKinney who was two-under going into 16, but bogied two out of the last three holes. Three golfers were tied for third place with 73s and Holstead was four strokes back with a 74.
McKinney took charge in Friday’s second round with a one-under-par 72 that spotted him to a four-shot lead over Dallas’ Tom Wright. Another Dallas junior, Ras Ellis, was six back. Almost unnoticed was Massengale, seven shots off the pace.
Action moved back to Weeks Park Saturday and McKinney continued his consistent par-shooting to card another 72 and maintain his four-stroke lead with 18 holes left to play.
Wright matched that score, but Massengale had begun to make his move. The long-hitting 16-year-old fired a two-under-par 69 to tie Wright for second.
The sweet swinging McKinney saw his lead disappear quickly on the front nine as putting problems enabled Massengale and Wright to close in and make it a three-man race to the wire. With nine holes left, Massengale had pulled even and Wright was just one back.
It looked like the Jacksboro youth’s charge might end on the par three 10th hole when he double-bogied. Wright pulled even with a par as McKinney bogied.
But the bad hole only served to inspire Massengale to a scrambling par on 11 and a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 12 to take the lead.
McKinney, three back after Massengale’s stroke dropped on 12, rallied to birdie 13 and 14 to pull within one, but Massengale slammed the door on his opponents with birdies on 14,15, and 16.
Wichita Falls was still without a local champion in the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament and Bill Bolstead, playing some of the best golf of his life, hoped to change that. Although he would win the Texas-Oklahoma Senior Tournament the same summer, the junior title would elude him in his final attempt.
The tournament favorite was Jacksboro’s Rik Massengale, the defending champion seeking to be the first to successfully defend his title. But Oklahomans also had a score to settle. A golfer from north of the Red River hadn’t won since Pete Hatchett nabbed the title in 1959. A 15-year-old Oklahoma City junior named Mark Hayes was the favorite to end the Lone Star State’s domination.
The visiting professional for the 9th annual tournament was Oklahoma State University golf coach Labron Harris. Harris had gained a reputation as one of the finest coaches in history at OSU since he began building a program there in 1946.
Harris both informed and entertained his young audience by giving advice on shot making while telling stories about the various golfing greats he knew through the years.
It was Dallas junior Tom Wright, third place finisher the previous year, who took the medal on Wednesday. He carded a four-under-par 67, recovering from a rough start to play the last 12 holes six-under par. Jay Dunbar of Memphis was only one back with a 68.
But the Sooner hope, Hayes, grabbed the headlines and first round lead on Thursday with a one-under-par 70 at Wichita Falls Country Club to lead by two. Five golfers were tied at 72 including Wright and Massengale.
On Friday, Massengale gave notice that he planned to make it two titles in a row as he fired a one-under-par 70 to move into a share of the lead with Brook Simmons of Fort Worth. Hayes slipped to a 73 to trail by a single shot and Wright carded another 72 to remain two off the lead.
Saturday’s 36-hole finals at Weeks Park proved to be a seesaw battle as first one and then another golfer took the lead only to fall back.
Massengale started off confidently, but a ball out-of-bounds on No. 2 was the beginning of the end. He soon slipped out of contention on his was to an 80.
Amarillo’s Buddy Hamilton, two strokes back when Saturday’s first round began, toured the first 18 in three-under-par figures to take a three-shot lead over Hayes. But putting problems crept up on him in the afternoon round.
Hayes, almost unnoticed, began to make his move after a 73 in the morning round. He cut Hamilton’s advantage to one at the end of 63 holes and drew even at 10 with a par.
The Oklahoma Junior took the lead for good at 13 with another par and birdies at 14 and 16 iced the second title for Oklahoma in the tournament’s history.
The 10th Annual Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament would not be remembered as the best-played tournament. But it would not go down in the record books since ten-over-par won. But it would be dear to Wichitan's hearts since it produced the first city champion in the tournament's history.
What fine junior golfers like Jerry and Bill Holstead could not accomplish, a former Rider golf star would. But not before one of the most exciting finishes ever.
Texas golf professional Ernie Vossler, the guest pro, commented that the city could be proud of having the finest junior golf tournament in the world. And the golfers again proved that with fierce, close competition.
Ted Goin of Seminole easily won the medal Wednesday with a three-under-par 68. But like so many past medalist winners, he was not a factor in the tournament.
Watered fairways and tough pin placements caused scores to soar in Thursday's first round at Wichita Falls Country Club. Only one golfer, Richard Ellis of Pampa, matched par 71. Defending champion Hayes struggled to 76, and Goin shot 82, 14 shots higher than his 68 the day before at Weeks Park.
In second place, one stroke back, were Mike Mosser of Garland and Jim Deaton of Oklahoma City.
The higher scores continued to roll in on Friday as Terry Jastrow of Midland took the lead with a one-over-par 143 total. Deaton and Fred Smith of Lubbock were a stroke back at 144, Ellis ballooned to an 81.
But as had happened more than once in the past, a golfer came from far off the pace of challenge in Saturday's 36-hole final.
Mike Castles, opening round 76 had left him back in the pack, but a 72 on Friday had improved his standing. He crept up slowly on the leaders Saturday, despite a modest two-over-par 73 in the morning round.
But while Castles was moving up Deaton had taken a commanding three-stroke lead at the end of 54 holes. Deaton had been the picture of consistency, with scores of 72, 72, and 73. Four golfers, Jastrow, Tom Evans of Dallas, Joe Dills of Muskogee, and Mike Doyle of Haltom City were deadlock at 220.
Deaton made a mistake on the last round that would come back to haunt him. He began to play conservatively and lost the edge that had enabled him to gain the lead. Evans, playing steadily, was in a position to take charge when he took the lead going into the final nine holes. But late bogies frustrated him in the end.
While Deaton and Evans played each other instead of the course, Castles continued to sneak up on the leaders as he completed play with another 73. Evans' bogey on 17 dropped him two behind Deaton, but the Oklahoma junior needed a par to beat out the Wichitan who was watching from behind 18 green.
He hit the green with his second shot, but his approach putt came up seven-feet short. When his par attempt rimmed out, a surprised Castles learned he was in a playoff for the championship.
The golfers played sudden-death holes in the failing light, but could not break the deadlock. So they agreed on an 18-hole playoff the next day to settle things.
If there was such a thing as a homecourt advantage, Castles used it the following day. After he fell behind by three shots in the first six holes, he was aided by a huge cheering gallery and battled back. He moved within one shot at the turn and took the lead briefly on the second nine. However, when the 18 holes were completed the pair was still tied.
So again the scene shifted to the first hole and a sudden-death playoff. Deaton hit first and put his tee shot on the fringe of the green. Castles' drive was about 10 yards off the right side. When his chip finished 20 feet short, the advantage shifted to Deaton. He putted seven feet past and appeared ready to frustrate the city's hopes for a title. But Castles cooly rammed in his 20-footer to put the pressure back on his opponent.
With the tables turned, Deaton missed his seven-footer and Wichita Falls had its first local champion.
No junior golfer had won the Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament more than once in the tournament history. And no player had ever captured medalist honors and gone on to win the title. In the 11th annual tournament, a young Oklahoman did both.
Mark Hayes had impressed golf fans two years before when the 15-year-old had shot even-par golf to become the youngest champion to date. Now 17, Hayes had matured into an even better player and that was bad news for his competition.
Wichita Falls Country Club Pro Bill Garrett, host for the golf clinic, was heard to remark that the best junior golfers in the country were at this tournament. He found out how right he was when three of them, Hayes, Mike Zinnai, a local favorite, and Mike Faulks of Oklahoma City, tied him in a nine-hole exhibition.
The following day, Hayes gave everyone an idea of what to expect with three-under-par 68 at Weeks Park to nab medalist honors by two shots. Hayes had moved to Stillwater the year before and was working under Labron Harris. His game showed it – solid from driver down to putter.
But Thursday the Oklahoma junior star had problems, struggling to a 40 on the front nine at Wichita Falls Country Club. He recovered on the back nine with an even-par 35, but was seven shots off the pace.
Joe Dills of Muskogee, Oklahoma took the first-round lead with a 68. Dills used a pair of eagles on the front nine to blaze a three-under 33 and held par on the back side.
Wichitan Don Brown, hoping to be the 2nd city player in a row to win the championship, was a stroke back at 69. He was joined there by Austin star Tom Kite and Arlington junior Gary Wolfe.
It began to look like a two-man tournament in the second round as Dills maintained his lead with an even-par 71 and Kite matched that score to stay one back. Hayes fashioned a two-under-par 69 to move within five strokes of the lead. Brown struggled to 76 to stay in fourth place.
On Friday, golf fans got a preview of the ability of two future PGA stars. It was Kite and Hayes in the battle of the birdies. While Kite was fashioning a three-under-par 68 to take the lead from Dills. Hayes was burning a five-under-par 66 to move within two. That set the stage for the dramatic 18 hole finish.
Hayes pulled even with Kite on the first hole when the Texan's drive found the water. Hayes rolled in a birdie putt to account for the two-stroke swing.
The lead changed hands two more times on the front nine, but Kite regained a one-shot advantage at the turn. Hayes lost another stroke with a bogey on 10, but a bogey on 11 by Kite closed the gap. Another bogey by Kite on the 14th squared things up again.
After both golfers pared 15, Hayes unleashed a 350 yard tee shot on the par 5 15th hole in front of stunned spectators. That left him only a 4-iron, to the green, and he put it on the front about 50 feet from the hole.
The pressure shifted to Kite who missed the green with his third shot and was unable to salvage par. Although Hayes three-putted, he held the lead by one.
Both golfers pared the 17th hole, to set up the dramatic climax on No. 18. After good tee shots just short of the creek, Hayes hit the green about 30 feet from the hole. Now it was Kite's turn to put the pressure on the Oklahoman with an 8-iron to just seven feet of the hole.
Hayes hit a nice lag and tapped in for par. Kite, in a do-or-die situation, saw his put dip just below the cup to end one of the greatest golf duels ever played at Weeks Park.
The memory of Mark Hayes' thrilling come-from behind win in the 1967 Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament had haunted Tom Kite for a year. But the Austin junior had one more chance to shoot at the important junior title and he planned to make the most of it.
The 12th Annual T-O Junior was played on three courses with the difficult Sheppard Air Force Base course being added to Weeks Park and Wichita Falls Country Club. Hot, windy weather and the long course would make the T-O Junior a more difficult test for that year's crop of players.
Visiting pro Ross Collins, host for the annual clinic, had a habit of doing things backwards compared to most golfers. But the Dallas professional, the left-handed national champion, was just as effective from the left side as his peers were from the right. He had useful tips for juniors and played a nine-hole exhibition to kick things off on Monday.
Hayes was not back to challenge Kite again this year, but another fine junior named Joey Dills was. Dills, of Moskogee, Okla., finished third behind Hayes and Kite in 1967, and this year he claimed the medalist honors with a fine 68 over the Weeks Park layout. The round included a blistering 32 on the back nine. But the rest of the tournament belonged to Kite. The 17-year-old junior played steady, consistent golf under difficult conditions to outclass the field while leading from wire-to-wire.
Play opened at Sheppard on Wednesday, and Kite's 1 -under-par 71 gave him a three-shot lead. The Sheppard course put a premium on long iron play because of its length, and Kite's iron game was superb. He kept his cool while high winds tore his competitors' games apart. Three golfers. Bobby Cox of Amarillo, Bill Powell of Jacksboro and Marc Welch of Dallas, managed 74s to stay within three after the first round.
Kite extended his lead to six on Thursday after an even-par 71 at Wichita Falls Country Club as tough pin placements and more wind added to the difficulty of the Country Club course. Cox carded his second straight 74 to stay in second place while Powell and Dills shared third nine shots off the pace.
Saturday was a cake walk for the Texan who was never challenged, cruising through the 36 hole final at Weeks Park with a 72-73 effort to win by 11 strokes – the biggest margin of victory in the tournamentÕs history. Cox edged out Dills for second and Wichitan Bill VanDeventer took fourth place.
The Texas-Oklahoma Junior Golf Tournament had only one local champion in its first 12 years, but some promising young Wichitans hoped to change that in the 13th Annual Tournament.
Guest pro Eldridge Miles not only put on an interesting clinic for nearly 400 youngsters, but demonstrated some excellent golf himself in the exhibition match. The Dallas pro carded a 3-under-par 33 at Weeks Park and quipped that he should have hit the tour that week instead of coming to Wichita Falls.
But the juniors were ready to display some red-hot golf themselves. With the T-O Junior continuing to grow, the tournament expanded to all four city courses this year with championship flight players scheduled to play each course once in the 72-hole total this year.
Tuesday's opening round gave the large galleries something to cheer about as two Wichitans stole the show. Notre Dame High School junior Bobby Harwell carded a four-under-par 67 to grab both the medal and the first round lead and Wichita Falls High School star John Kable carded a fine 2-under-par 69 to hold second place.
The action shifted to Skyline Wednesday and Kable's one-over-par 71 moved him into a tie with Harwell who slipped to 73. But two other golfers closed in with sub-70 rounds. Fort Worth's Steve Robinson fired a two-under-par 68 to move within two strokes in third place and Oklahoma City's Bruce Scott carded a 69 to move into fourth place three off the lead.
The entire field took a beating Thursday at Sheppard as Harwell ballooned to a five-over-par 77, but still maintained a one-shot lead. Kable fell four shots back with an 81, but Scott and two other players closed to within one stroke of Harwell.
Sherman's Sale Omohundro and Lubbock's John Connie moved up with 74 and 73 respectively to get back into contention while most of the field lived a golfing nightmare on the treacherous 7200 yard course.
With the four so closely bunched, the tournament would be decided by which junior could best handle Wichita Falls Country Club in Friday's final round. And that golfer turned out to be Scott who putted his way to a masterful two-under-par 69 to win by four. Scott caught Harwell early in the round and raced on past with a blistering back nine that included birdies on 10, 12, 14. and 17 to finish with a 287 total. Harwell won a playoff for second place with Mark Williams of Richardson who matched Scott's 69.