TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Looking to improve on last year’s third place finish, East Texan Blake Elliott got rolling on the back nine Tuesday in round one of the Texas State Open at The Cascades Country Club.
The Bullard resident made six birdies on the day, with four of them coming after the turn.
Elliott finished with a 5-under 65 and is tied for fifth after 18 holes, two shots behind the leader.
“It was kind of a slow start but kind of started hitting the irons pretty good on the back-nine and rolled in some putts. And didn’t really make a birdie til eight. But there’s a lot of putts especially on seven and eight that kind of are tricky, and you kind of have to play the course a few times to really get the reads on them. And just knowing the golf course just helps a whole lot,” said Elliott.
Whitehouse alum Bryan Baker, a member at The Cascades also had a strong outing. Baker had four birdies on the day for a 68. Baker is tied for 25th at 2-under, five shots behind the lead.
Baker had a tremendous third and fourth round in the 2019 Texas State Open to finish tied for 31st.
After Round One of the 50th Texas State Open, Grady Brame Jr. of Hammond, Louisiana sits atop the leaderboard after firing an opening round of 63, 7-under par. Brame carded three birdies on the front nine and four on the back. He will tee off of hole #10 tomorrow at 2:27 p.m.
“The last time I played in the Texas State Open was in 2016 at Castle Hills, so it’s good to be back. It feels pretty good to start off in the lead but there are still three rounds left so there isn’t any true sense of satisfaction just yet,” Brame stated after the round. “Today I just took advantage of the birdies when they came. I’ve been struggling up to this point this summer but hopefully this will be a turnaround and I can do something special this week.”
Three players sit one stroke behind Brame at 6-under-par including Jun Min Lee (a) of Bryan, Texas. Lee currently leads the field of 32 amateurs after today’s first round. Low Amateur honors will be awarded at the conclusion of the 50th Texas State Open.
Again in 2020, the Low PGA Club Professional will be recognized at the 50th Texas State Open. Seventeen PGA Professionals are in the field with Ben Kern, 2018 Texas State Open Champion and PGA head professional at Georgetown Country Club, leading. After shooting a 4-under par, 66, Kern has a one stroke lead over Spencer Dillard, PGA assistant professional at Preston Trail Golf Club in Dallas.
Kyle Pritchard, of Castroville, Texas and defending champion of the Texas State Open, currently is T14 at 3 under, 67. “It always feels good to come back as a champion,” Pritchard said after his round. “There’s a little more pressure, though, because everyone is always watching you. But this course is great and I love coming out here. It’s really just exciting to be back out [competing in the Texas State Open].”
Christian Barber (a), of Spring, Texas, made a hole-in-one today on hole #9. He hit a 7-iron from 209 yards for his ace.
The 72-hole stroke play event consists of 156 players with 123 professionals and 32 amateurs competing. The field will play 36-holes before being cut to the low 55 scores and ties. All four rounds will be contested at The Cascades Club, a 6,882-yard, par 70 layout. For the Championship, hole #10 is being played as a par 4 rather than a par 5.
The purse for the 50th Texas State Open is $150,000,and the champion will take home $30,000.
The Championship is presented by Joyce Crane and Veritex Bank and is supported by Ameriprise Financial Group, Cavender’s, Dobb’s & Porter, Energy Weldfab, Jucy’s Hamburgers, Patterson Tyler, The Plato Group and The Property Shoppe. Proceeds from the championship will benefit the Northern Texas PGA Foundation.
Round Two will commence on Wednesday, July 29 at 7:30 a.m. After tomorrow’s round, a cut to the low 55 and ties will occur. Currently, 66 players are at even par or better.
(a) denotes amateur.