The 2008 Valero Texas Open

This year, the Open was held from Oct. 9 to 12. I kept score as a volunteer on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday (Oct. 9, 11, and 12).

Next year, the Valero Texas Open moves to a Prime mid-May date, and is part of the FedEx Cup, and the newly planned Texas Swing of the PGA Tour. This should get a lot more of the Top-25 golfers and I would expect it to have a bigger turnout as well.

Thursday: kept score for Bob Estes, Harrison Frazar, and Kent Jones. Bob finished 2 under, "Harry" was 1 under, and Kent was 1 over par. (On Friday, Bob was again -2, to qualify at 4 under. Harrison was also again -1 to qualify at 2 under. Kent shot +4 on Friday, to finish at +5, and did not make the cut.)

Saturday: kept score for Bob Tway, and Vaughn Taylor. Both started the day at -2 (after making the cut, which was -1). Bob was pretty hot and shot a -6 to end the day at -8. At the end of his round, he was tied for 2nd place, but we started pretty early, and by the end of the day, he was tied for 13th. The leader was at -14.

Vaughn crushed the ball pretty well off the tee, but had trouble with his putter. Bob was pretty consistent throughout the day. On 18, both players hit their tee shots into a fairway bunker. Bob's 2nd shot was to the rough 30 or 40 yards from the green, and Vaughn hit his to within 3 feet, and birdied 18. Bob bogeyed.

The weather was cloudy all day, which made it cooler, but much more humid than Thursday.

Sunday: I got upgraded, and kept score for Jason Gore and Scott Verplank. Scott started the day at -6, and Jason was at -5. Jason was on my list of Tour Pros I wanted to keep score for, so this was a big day!

Scott was hot and cold - for example, he eagles #1, and then follows it up with double bogey on 2, for a net gain of squat! Later he followed a birdie with a bogey. He ended the day unchanged at -6.

Jason on the other hand, 3 putted #1 for bogey, and ended the front at +1 for the day. The back 9 was completely different. 5 birdies ended his day at -4 for the day, and -9 for the tournament.

Jason Gore quotables: - Par 3 #13 "If it goes 1 more f*&#$$ yard, it rolls all the way to the GD hole!"

- #14 - short par 5 (527 yds.) Jason was way right, in fact the ball was OB, under a bush. He took a drop, to native area, and smashed an iron shot to within 11 ft of the hole. He holed for a birdie, including a penalty stroke for the drop. On the next hole, Jason said "That was probably the best shot of my life!" We hope they got it on The Golf Channel.

Saturday's guys did ok overall. Bob Tway had rounds of 66, 72, 64, and . Vaughn Taylor followed rounds of 70, 68 and 67 with a 73. He was in the group ahead of me on Sunday, and on #10, he hit 3 shots off the tee. Apparently, his 1st was lost, as was his provisional, so he had to go back to the tee and hit a 3rd. He carded a 7 on the par 4 hole.

Thursday's guys didn't do too badly. Harrison Frazar had rounds of 69, 69, 65, and 66 to finish at 11 under, and in 6th place (tied with 4 others). And Bob Estes followed his 68 with 68, 69, and 70 finish to close at 5 under, and in 5th place alone.

As for the tournament, 2007 Masters Tournament winner Zach Johnson won the tournament with a total of 19 under par. He won by 2 strokes over the next group of 3 players. This was his 1st tour win since the Masters. It was also his 1st time playing the Valero Texas Open.

Moneywise, the 6 pros that I scored for that finished, won a total of just over $263,000. Not bad for a weekend's work.

Highlights: Keeping score for Jason Gore was definitely the highlight of my 3 rounds at the Open.
Lowlights: not really any this year. I hadn't necessarily wanted to work 3 days, and I could have done without keeping score on Saturday, but all in all, a great tournament, and nothing but great hopes for the new date in 2009!