[MAY 25-27 | San Antonio] After an opening-round 76 that left her a full eight shots off the lead and behind almost a dozen other players, Boerne junior and U of H commit Delaney Martin looked to be out of the running at the annual Texas Masters event at Brackenridge Park. But the Thanksgiving Showdown champion was just getting warmed up, and blitzed the entire field over the next two days, shooting a whopping 9-under-par over the final two rounds to put herself in position to capture her second title of the season.
It took a par on the par-3 18th hole, with the pin tucked on the far left side of the green, just over the water, to claim victory, and she rolled it in with calm confidence to secure a one-shot victory over Houston’s Denise Pan, who had herself birdied the final hole of the tournament to put the pressure on Martin.
Martin started the final round four shots back of Hankamer junior Cari Denson, but tore up the front nine to the tune of four birdies and no bogeys, almost entirely closing the gap with just 9 holes to play. Standing in her way was Pan, who rolled in an eagle on the par-5 ninth hole to take the lead in the tournament going into the back nine. Martin would not be denied, however, and rolled in birdies at 11 and 16 to take the lead, and finished par-par on 17 and 18 to secure the championship when Pan stumbled with a few bogeys on the back nine.
Rounding out the top 3 was Denson, who opened with rounds of 69-69 and finished with a 76, leaving her three shots out of the lead at 2-under par for the tournament.
In the Boys Division, Katy’s Byungho Lee, who claimed victory at the Holiday Classic at Kingwood in December, got out to a hot start on Day 1. Playing in the first group off in Round 1, Lee birdied the first hole, setting the tone for the entire tournament, and carded four more birdies on his way to a 4-under 67 in Round 1, giving him the lead. From there he was on cruise control, shooting a 2-under-par 69 in Round 2 and another 4-under 67 in the final round to secure a five-shot victory.
Lee was on point all weekend, never making more than two bogeys in a round – and no doubles – and constantly finding the correct side of fairways and correct portions of the green. His 10-under-par total was only the second time a player has reached double-digit under par in this tournament in the last 10 years.
Behind Lee, there was a fierce battle for the remaining spots in the Top 5, with four players tying for second place at 5-under-par when the tournament ended. Finishing in that giant tie were Oak Ridge freshman Carson Cooper (who shot a 5-under 66 in the final round that included a hole-in-one on the par-3 8th), New Braunfels sophomore Carson Gallaher, Klein Cain freshman Matthew Spaulding and Lake Travis sophomore Jack Lawlor (who made an albatross on the par-5 13th in the final round). All four went into a playoff that lasted more than an hour, with Lawlor finally capturing the runner-up spot with a par on the 5th playoff hole.
With Lawlor taking second, rounding out the Top 5 was Spaulding in third, Cooper in fourth and Gallaher in fifth.
The Texas Masters also served as the annual IMG World Qualifier for both boys and girls. The following players earned entry into the IMG Academy Junior World Championship in July:
Boys 11-12 – Levi Keith
Boys 13-14 – Byungho Lee
Boys 15-18 – Jack Lawlor
Girls 11-12 – Raleygh Simpson
Girls 13-14 – Maelynn Kim
Girls 15-18 – Delaney Martin