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Kern Champion at 48th Tanos Exploration II / Patterson-UTI Drilling Texas State Open

August 3rd, 2018

TYLER, Texas – Ben Kern of Georgetown, TX, and PGA head professional at Georgetown Country Club, captured the 48th Tanos Exploration II / Patterson-UTI Drilling Texas State Open by playing solid, and at times spectacular golf, with rounds of 70, 64, 62 and a final round of 70.  He finished the Championship two strokes ahead of the competition at 14-under par 266 for 72-holes. 

He held a three shot lead heading into today’s final round and managed to keep a gap between him and the field all day.  However, the gap closed to as few as two strokes after he made three bogeys and three birdies on the front nine. Kern then made nine consecutive pars on the back nine, which was enough to secure the Championship.  He noted that he was watching the leaderboard all day, and with a tap-in par putt on #18 he clinched the Championship as well as the Low PGA Professional honors for the second year in a row. With this win, Kern earns a lifetime exemption into the Texas State Open as well as a check for $42,500.

“This was the biggest tournament I have honestly ever played in, and then to win the biggest tournament I have ever played in was phenomenal,” said Kern after his round. “To have my little girl run up to me on the last hole was the best moment of my life.  To win this tournament it’s huge. I don’t have words, and its awesome to have my family here.”

Next week, Kern will be competing as one of 20 PGA club professionals in the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, MO.  

Andrew Paysse, 2017 Low Amateur from Temple, TX, carded an impressive round of 8-under 62 to make a move up to the top of the leaderboard, but it was not enough to pass Kern.  Paysse, who was playing in his first event as a professional after recently graduating from Texas A&M University, finished at 268, 12-under-par, for the Championship. 

Michael Salazar (a) of El Paso, TX, earned Low Amateur honors and finished tied for fifth place shooting 67-71-62-70—270, 10-under-par, for the Championship. Salazar is a rising junior at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ, and was one of eleven amateurs to make the cut. 

“Coming into this tournament I wasn’t really too sure what I was going to get out of what I played,” said Salazar. “[This was] my first professional tournament you can say, and after the first two rounds I knew I was in contention. Then after the third round I played really well and knew I was right there, so it’s a great feeling knowing I can keep up with these guys.”
The 72-hole stroke play event began with 156 contestants. Following 36-holes, the field was cut to the low 55 scores and ties.  59 players survived the cut, which was at even par 140. 48 professionals and 11 amateurs played the final two rounds. All four rounds were contested at The Cascades Club, a 6,882-yard, par 70 layout located in Tyler.  For the Championship, hole #10 was played as a par 4 rather than a par 5. The total purse was a record $205,000. 
Proceeds from the tournament benefited the Northern Texas PGA Junior Golf Foundation’s scholarship program with the creation of the Tanos Exploration II / Patterson-UTI Drilling Texas State Open Scholarship. Emma French from Bullard, TX was awarded this scholarship. This year, the NTPGA Junior Golf Foundation awarded $307,500 in scholarships to 44 high school seniors from North Texas.

Please note: (a) denotes amateur, and amateurs were awarded gift certificates.
Final Round results.