UH golfer Austyn Reily has won the 112th Texas Amateur. With rounds of 70-71-67-70, he became the 9th UH golfer to win a Texas Amateur championship (Hal Underwood won two Texas Am titles) and the third to do so at Midland Country Club (Randy Petri, Bruce Lietzke).
After the round, Austyn told me that a big part of his win was having his mom Melissa on the bag as his caddy. It was the first time she’d ever caddied for him and he joked that she has a job for life.
“The biggest thing was I was on my own,” Austyn said in a phone interview on the way back home while his mom drove. “I was playing the course how I saw it and she was so supportive. That plays a huge role in being successful.”
Reily started the tournament birdie-birdie-birdie on Thursday and took the early lead. “That’s the first time I’ve ever opened up a tournament with 3 straight birdies,” he said. “It just boosted my confidence.” Reily made five birdies on that opening nine and finished with an opening-round 70. On Friday, Reily made a birdie and a bogey on the front before a birdie on 12 and a bogey on 13.
Starting on the 14th Friday, Austyn played the next 38 holes in -9 and, more impressively, he did so without making a bogey. He made four straight birdies on the back nine Saturday to jump to within a shot of the lead. When he finished the round, he realized he had hit 17 of 18 greens in Saturday’s five-under 67.
“The target went from a cup to a bucket,” Austyn said. “With the opportunities I gave myself, every putt had a chance of going in.” He was so dialed-in that it wasn’t until after the final round that he figured out that he went 38 holes without a bogey.
He also had no clue he had closed to within a shot of the lead until he saw a scoreboard after his round. Minutes later, when leader Jake Doggett lipped out his par putt on 18, Reily found himself tied for the lead with 18 holes to play.
On Sunday, Austyn committed to a plan to make the day “as stressfree as possible by keeping it all in front of me, trying not to pressure myself too much.”
After birdies on the 3rd and 4th holes, Reily jumped to a two-shot lead. Doggett cut it to one, then dropped a shot, and birdied 13 to get back within one. The entire time, Austyn never deviated from his plan. After the back-to-back birdies, he made 10-straight pars to keep himself at the top of the leaderboard.
On the par-five 15th, Reily chipped it to a foot away and tapped in for the birdie. Doggett matched his birdie and then tied it up when Reily made bogey on the par-three 16th.
But Austyn steadied himself again and made par at 17 while Doggett dropped another shot. With just one hole to play, he had a one-shot lead.
“I relied on myself by staying calm,” Austyn said, “and not giving it away, not throwing away shots.”
After hitting the green and two-putting for par on the 18th, Austyn was able to smile. A big hug with his mom-caddy Melissa and he was the Texas Amateur champion. It’s the biggest tournament victory of his young life. He said winning this tournament was “another level.”
Reily’s tournament schedule is light for the rest of the summer – he’ll try to qualify for the U.S. Amateur in July in McKinney and he’s waiting to see about his status in the prestigious Western Amateur. There’s an excellent chance that many more invitations are on the way.