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Oliver Betschart wins Texas Junior Open

Oliver Betschart won the Texas Junior Open in San Antonio on Monday (Photograph supplied)

Oliver Betschart endured a physical and emotional roller-coaster to win the Texas Junior Open at the first attempt at the Golf Club of Texas in San Antonio on Monday.

The Bermudian carded an impressive one under 71, his best round of the 54-hole event, to finishthree over for the tournament, one shot clear of runner-up Grant Yerger of the United States.

“Today’s round was a bit of a physical and emotional roller-coaster with me still not feeling my best and then my opponent, who was in second place having four birdies on the first six holes and that really put some pressure on me,” Betschart told The Royal Gazette.

“But I pulled through. I got four birdies in my round today and I am happy with my results. I am proud of my achievements so far this year and this is definitely marking one of the bigger ones.”

With the result, Betschart has accumulated enough points to make him eligible for the world amateur golf ranking (WAGR) points list, which paves the way for him to now compete in even bigger tournaments.

“To get on the world amateur golf ranking points list now is amazing,” he said.

“It’s been long enough waiting for an event like this to present the opportunity, so I am happy to be the 2024 champion of the Hurricane Tour Junior Open this year.

“It’s a bit of a weird system because you have to make a certain amount of points before you can get on to the list, and the only way of doing that is to win a tournament that supports WAGR.

“This was the first tournament that I’ve won now that I could actually get on to the list and it has to be a three-day tournament as well.

“Last year I played a bunch of events in Switzerland that I got second place in and they didn’t give me enough points to get on the list initially, so those points didn’t count that I earned.

“Once I am on the list, which this tournament enabled me to do, now I can start racking up my points.”

Clubhouse leader Betschart held a two-shot advantage over the rest of the field heading into the final round and got off to a good start by playing the front nine at two under after rattling in three birdies.

He remained at two under with as many holes left to play coming in but a bogey at the par-4 17th left him with no margin for error on the last hole with the charging Yerger breathing down his neck.

“On that last hole coming up 18, my 54th hole, I left myself a three-footer for the win and if I missed it I would have forced a playoff,” Betschart said.

“I was definitely nervous over that putt but I pulled through. I pulled it together and just sunk it.”

The 15-year-old amateur managed to get the job done in trying conditions despite not feeling his best health wise.

“The conditions were pretty windy. They were tough and it was not easy playing in the cold weather still,” he added.

“I had the upper hand with playing in Bermuda knowing how to play the wind a little bit better than some of these guys out here. I am definitely proud of my result and I am just happy that I was able to pull through and win this tournament.”

American Charles Looker rounded off the top three seven shots off the lead.

Yerger and compatriot Andrew Warmbrod shot the day’s, and tournament’s, lowest round of two under, 70.

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Published February 19, 2024 at 6:53 pm (Updated February 19, 2024 at 6:54 pm)

Oliver Betschart wins Texas Junior Open

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