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GOLF: Odessa College teammates push each other on first day of West Texas Amateur - Odessa American: Sports

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GOLF: Odessa College teammates push each other on first day of West Texas Amateur

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Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 4:09 pm

MIDLAND As teammates at Odessa College, Bryce Waters and Tripp Wallace were always competing for the top spot on the team at a tournament.

Entering the opening round of the 91st West Texas Amateur Friday at Midland Country Club, both players were again locked into competition once again, this time as individuals.

Waters and Wallace were in back-to-back groups and that helped get both players energized for what was to come.

“It’s definitely a cool thing,” said Waters after shooting an opening-round 75. “You end up playing two years with these guys and you get really close. It’s always a nice thought in the back of your head and I was kind of wondering what he was doing.”

Turns out, Wallace was consistent from start to finish.

The rising sophomore started the round with 16 straight pars and after three-putting for bogey on No. 17, the Lubbock native stuck his approach shot on the 18th hole to within three inches for a tap-in birdie and an even-par round of 72.

That was the low round of the championship flight after the morning flight.

“I thought I played really well today,” Wallace said. “The pins were in some tough spots that made it hard to go score but overall I feel good.”

Wallace added that he was looking ahead to see how his teammate was faring ahead of him.

 “I love it,” he said. “I get to watch what he’s doing ahead of me.”

He also added a joke about his teammate.

“I have to make sure that he’s not too good and that I can make sure I can go and get him.”

Both players enter the weekend looking to get a good result and springboard on to the next step, which is where the path splits for both Waters and Wallace.

Waters earned a qualifying spot for the U.S. Amateur last week at a qualifier at Odessa Country Club and after that will head to Wyoming to continue his collegiate career.

“It feels good to get some tournament rounds in before the U.S. Amateur,” Waters said. “It helps you figure out what your tendencies are and how act under the gun when things matter.”

Wallace is continuing his career at Kansas State this fall after winning the NJCAA Student-Athlete of the Year award this past season. But he’s also motivated to win the title this year after losing in a playoff to David Bolen in last year’s West Texas Amateur in Amarillo.

“That’s all I’ve been thinking about for a year,” Wallace said. “I have to go back and improve my place by one this year.”

Both players are in the mix for that title as the afternoon wave of golfers was finishing their opening rounds.

But as each player gets set to move on to the next chapter of their careers, they both agree that battling it out against each other over the last two seasons has helped shape them for the better.

“There’s just a lot of competitiveness at the junior college level,” Waters said. “Everyone is really good and just fighting for spots. Tripp and I fought for spots all year long and you’re always trying to get better and beat your teammates.”

Wallace agreed with that sentiment.

“When you go out and finish in the Top 10 at a junior college tournament, that’s when you know you can play,” he said. “Bryce and I had to always compete hard just to be in that top five on our team. It’s a great stepping stone and it’s getting me ready for that next level.”

>> OTHER RESULTS: Chuck Palmer of Dallas got off to a strong start Friday, firing a two-under-par 70 to lead the Senior Flight by two shots over Trey Womack of Midland and Kip Estep of Rockwall.

In the Super Senior Flight, Doug Hopton-Jones of Mansfield leads by two shots over three golfers as well after firing a one-over-par 73 to open the tournament. Marshall Morgan of Odessa is four back of the lead after opening with a 75.

>>Follow Tony Venegas on Twitter at @OA_TVenegas

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