CENTER, Tx -- With two past champions among the field of 67 golfers at this year's pro-am golf tournament here at the Center Country Club this past weekend, the 53rd Annual East Texas Open turned into a classic.
But with the tough field battling the heat and each other late into the final day, and temperatures and scores on the rise, Brian Rowell was able to birdie three of the last four holes to win the Open, topping Zack Reeves by one stroke, as Rowell shot a three-round score of 8-under-par 208.
Finishing second was Reeves with a three-day total of 7-under-par 209. Taking third was two-time champion Perry Moss, with a score of 6-under-par 210.
After the first round on Friday, Shawn Stafani, fresh off a big win in Tyler (Texas Open) last week, was the odds-on favorite coming into this Saturday's play. Stafani held a one-shot advantage, turning in a low round of 67. Right on his heels was Bobby Mesa with a 68, Brian Rowell at 69 and past champ Perry Moss with a 70.
Golfers faced the second round on Saturday with a high temps and some high scores. With the pins placed in very tough positions the scores did rise. Day 1 leader Stafani finished with a two-over 74, which brought a number of golfers into contention.
Zack Reeves and Jeremy Frye tied for the low round of the day, as they posted identical 68s to move into the final group on Sunday. Also in the final group was Moss and Brian Rowell.
With the weather a slight factor on Sunday, Rowell was able to birdie three of the last four holes, including a birdie on 18 to break a two-way tie with Reeves. Rowell shot 70 and was able to hold off Reeves, who again posted a 68, to claim his first East Texas Open championship.
As for the local golfers that enter the event, Brett Scarber posted scores of 74, 74 and a final round of 80 for a three-day total of 228. Stacey Pledger posted rounds of 78, 82 and 83, to finish with a 243.
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