GOLF: Begnel, Hannah serve up low round to take Quarter Century Partnership lead

For Terrence Begnel and Austin Hannah, Friday’s performance was basically déjà vu after Thursday’s opening round at the Quarter Century Partnership at Odessa Country Club.

Only this time, they ended the day at the top of the leader board.

The duo got off to a slow start for the second straight day before finishing the round on a high note.

Finishing with birides on the final two holes, Begnell and Hannah carded a 10-under-par 62 to take a one-shot lead into today’s final round on the Links Course.

“We hammed it pretty well. Everyone else was playing well so we knew that we had to keep the gas pedal down,” Begnel said. “Austin’s been putting pretty well. We struggled on Thursday but came on pretty strong at the end and we did that again on Friday.

“We were getting tired and that made it tough but we still finished well and we’re excited with where we’re sitting.”

Begnell and Hannah sit at 17-under 127 after 36 holes, with Jeremiah Luttrell and Lane Branum (67-61—128) sit right behind Begnel and Hannah, while Brian Scherer and Blake Parks (67-62—129) are in third.

 “It’s a pretty competitive tournament,” Begnel said. “It’s an elite tournament for the Permian Basin. It’s great to be back with an opportunity to win.

“There are a lot of good teams. Of all the 26 teams, everyone has either been in the top five or played on the tour or played in college and we’re not taking anything for granted.”

Thursday’s performance took place on the Links Course while Friday’s was at the Old Course. Saturday’s round will be back at the Links Course.

“Links is a little more open with more space,” Hannah said. “The course we played today was smaller but both courses are phenomenal.

Bengel and Hannah played together in college at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. But this week’s tournament was their first time playing together in a decade. 

“We’re excited for Saturday,” Hannah said, who currently resides in Tulsa.  “We haven’t played golf together in 10 years but we’re glad to be here.

“It feels great to be back in Texas. I haven’t been to West Texas before but it feels great to be out here.”

Before Begnel and Hannah finished atop the leaderboard, Friday morning saw a close battle for the top between Luttrell-Branum and Scherer-Parks, with the teams paired after opening-round 67s.

 “It was what we planned on going into this tournament,” Branum said. “We practiced very hard and Luttrell putts lights out. I’ve never seen him putt badly. We did what we needed to get in a position to make birdies.”

In a back-and-fourth contest, Luttrell and Lane finished just one-stroke ahead of Scherer and Parks to earn a spot in the final pairing.

“It was a heck of a matchup,” Lane said. “Both of those guys are great golfers. 

“It’s fun to play against them and watching them roll putts in. We couldn’t have asked for a better paring because it was fun as heck.”

Branum felt like he and his partner had an advantage, due to the similarities between the Old Course and Midland Country Club, their home course.

“We’re used to playing MCC which is a lot tighter course,” Branum said. “Our advantage was on the Old Course because it’s tighter. You have to hit them between the trees.

“That said, it’s still a reward to hitting it down the fairway on the Links Course but we both just hit it well today and never got in major trouble.

Individually, Branum shot a 64 on Friday while Luttrell finished with a score of 67.

“We just got comfortable early and made some great putts,” Luttrell said. “We got in a groove and we’ve played with each other for four years. We’re comfortable with each other.”

Scherer and Parks finished with one eagle for the second round and had two double bogeys. But it was a stronger performance for the pair than Thursday.

“Thursday was a little bit shaky for us,” Scherer said. “Blake really settled in today. We didn’t get enough out of our round yesterday but today we played great.

“It was a really good day. Both groups fed off each other. They were rattling off birdies all day long.”

Despite sitting in third, Scherer, a past champion, has confidence going into Saturday’s final round.

“We’re back in the tournament and we’re right where we need to be.”