Thornton, 26, of Denton, wins golf tourney on first attempt

Trailing the leader by three strokes entering the final round, Seth Thornton, 26, a first-time participant in the Heart of Texas Dr. Harry C. Priess Memorial Day Golf Classic, roared into the lead with a red-hot seven-under par 64 to win the 43rd annual event here last Monday. Thornton’s 54-hole score was 204, nine-under par. Runner-up was David Pearson, Jr. of San Antonio, who carded an eight-under par 205. The three-day tournament was played at the Brady Municipal Golf Course under near perfect conditions with the exception of Monday when gusty winds played havoc with many golfers. The son of a former Bradyite, Butch Thornton of West Columbia, Seth, a Dallas Theological Seminary student, birdied four holes on the front side Monday then played the back side in three-under to win by a shot over second-day leader Pearson, a 30-year-old computer programmer from San Antonio. He is a second cousin of Brady pharmacist Albert Pearson and his sister, Nancy Pearson Patterson. Albert Bosmans of McCamey fired a four-under par 67 on Saturday morning to take the first-day lead in the championship flight of the tournament, but he took himself out of the picture with a 79 on Sunday. Pearson, who had been two strokes off the lead after the first day, took charge with a 68 on Sunday to move into a three shot lead over Thornton, who had opened with an even-par 71 on Saturday. The diminutive Thornton, who is on staff at Denton Bible College after receiving his degree from the University of North Texas, carded a two-under 69 on Sunday to close within three of Pearson. The San Antonio native made the turn in two-under 34 on Monday’s final round, but Thornton’s four-under 32 brought him within a shot of the lead. Thornton eagled the 10th hole with a three to take the lead by a stroke, but Pearson birdied the difficult 203-yard 12th hole with a two to knot it again. The pair continued their battle, each birdied the par 5 14th hole, but Pearson bogeyed the par 3 15th hole to fall back two strokes. The pair halved 16 and 17, but the torrid match was not over. Thornton drove in the right rough on the 430-yard par 4 18th hole while Pearson was in the fairway. Thornton’s approach fell short into the right bunker while Pearson’s outstanding shot ended only about four feet from the hole. All of a sudden it appeared that there could be a two-shot swing tying up the match if Thornton couldn’t get up and down with a par 4. He did just that, hitting a perfect sand wedge to within a foot of the hole. Pearson drained his putt for a birdie, but Thornton held on to the one-shot advantage with his short putt for a par. Golf course superintendent J.T. Epley said Thornton’s seven-under par 64 and the nine-under par 204 54-hole total were a couple of the lowest competitive rounds and scores in recent years. That is true. The championship flight changed to medal play (from match play) in 1994. The lowest score registered was turned in by Scot Tyson of Inks Dam in 1996, a 61-65-71’198, 15-under par. Thornton, who attended high school in Llano and Brownwood, said it was great to win in his first outing in Brady. He said he plans to work with Bible students after he completes his work in seminary, “and share the love of God” with them. Three-time HOT champion, Richard V. Roper of Brady, was third in the championship. He shot a one-under par 70 on Monday to complete his 54-hole total in 75-67-70’212. Another former champ, Carl Crawley of Plano, tied for fourth at 216 with Del Rio’s Aaron Billings. Others in the championship flight and their scores were Charles Criswell 222, Bosmans 225 and Michael Solis 229. The other seven flights played medal play on Monday after match play their previous two rounds. Richard N. Roper, a former HOT golf champion, of Stephenville, won the President’s Flight title with a one-over par 72. Barry Jackson of Brady was second, a single stroke behind at 73. Jack Needham, also of Brady, was third at 79 while another Bradyite, Jimmie Fore was fourth at 85. In the consolation division, Pete Ledezma of McAllen won first place with a 76. He was followed by Jim Criswell of Coppell at 79, and Mike Mabrey of Lewisville and Julius Scott of Kerrville, each at 81. In the First Flight, the championship went to San Saba’s Rick Baskins, who won by two strokes over Stanton’s Boyd Finch, 77 to 79. Greg Eubank of Kerrville was third at 83. Brady’s Ted Archer did not finish. In the consolation bracket of the First Flight, the winner was Bill Gerron of Granbury, who shot 76. Brady’s Ray Hawkins was second at 78 while Marty Woodul of San Angelo was third at 89. Kenneth Anderson of West Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., did not finish. Barry Owens, a former Brady High track and football star, won the Second Flight with a four-over par 75. Greg Nebel of Del Rio was second with a 79 while former BHS football coach Paul Jette, of Pleasanton, was third at 80. James Torres of Brady was fourth at 82. In the consolation phase of the Second Flight, the victor was Nathan Herzer of Lamesa. He shot 80. Second went to Johnny Lewis of Brady with an 86. Bo Rose of McCamey was third at 89 and Joel Robinett was fourth at 90. Winning the Third Flight was Tony Smith of Robert Lee. He carded an 84. There was a three-way tie for second at 89 with Donald Owens of Brady, Don Ellis of Del Rio and Larry Smith of Brady, finishing in that order after a scorecard playoff. The consolation bracket winner in the Third Flight was Jim Gay of Irving, who fired an 84. Second went to Johnny Finch of Kerrville, who shot 85. Abel Ledezma of Brady was third at 86 and John Peacock of Spring was fourth with an 89. Chad Snowden of West won the Fourth Flight with an 82, a shot better than Brady’s Charlie Bush, who turned in an 83. Third place went to Richard Journeay of Brady, who also had an 83 while Craig Steffens of Brady was fourth at 85. Fernando Torres of Brady won the Fourth Flight consolation trophy with an 83. Brady City Councilman Billy Patterson was second at 85 while Georgetown’s Richie Carlson was third at 87. Al Cates of Kerrville was fourth at 88. Tommy Feller of Kerrville copped the Fifth Flight title, shooting an 88 on the final day. Second went to Richie Journeay of Hobbs, N. Mex., at 89. Third was won by Roy Sullivan of Lampasas, who shot 90. Jeff Alexander of Stephenville was fourth at 95. Jay Williamson of New Braunfels took the Fifth Flight consolation with an 81 while Mike Snowden of West was second at 86. Vance Jackson of Brady was third at 86 and Scott Going of Dallas took fourth with a 93. Sixth flight winner was Brady’s David Daniel, who fired a final day score of 89. Second went to Joe Millsaps of Brady at 92. Dax Millsap of Azel was third at 96 and Tom Hartley of Clovis, N. Mex., was fourth with a 96. Consolation bracket winner was Doug Roberts of Brady, who shot 91. Second went to Jim Quinn of Brady who had a 94. Another Bradyite, Roy Short, was third at 98 and Roddy Boggus of Grand Prairie took fourth at 99.

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