Kerrville’s Scott Schreiner Municipal Golf Course will host the ‘Heart of the Hills’ invitational golf tournament for the 70 time Tuesday through Friday. Beginning in 1939, ‘the Heart’ has been played at Scott Schreiner annually, except for breaks during World War II and course renovation in 1999.
Being one of only two remaining 72-hole amateur tournaments in Texas, ‘the Heart’ draws amateur golfers from all areas of the country, including from as far away as the state of Washington this year. Using a two-man partnership format, flighted by handicap, the tournament gives golfers of all skill levels a fair chance to compete. “We are very excited about a very competitive tournament. This is probably as strong a field as we’ve had in those first three flights in a long time”, said Scott McDonough, Scott Schreiner’s head professional.
The Championship Flight features several of the Hill Country’s best players, along with stiff competition from afar. Due to injury, Gary Phillips, who teamed with Philip Earnest to win last year’s tournament, will not participate, so Earnest join with Trevor Hyde this year. They have teamed before, and will be hard to beat. Beau Mains and Brendan Kingery, last year’s runners-up, are back, along with several other very formidable teams. The Arredondo brothers (Ralph and Joe), “know the golf course better than anybody, and won’t make mistakes,” McDonough said. Also returning are Ingram Tom Moore graduates, twin brothers Chris and David McMillon, who finished 3rd last year. “They know each other’s game very well, and play well together,” McDonough noted. Another tough team will be youngsters Preston Hardin, recent Firecracker winner, and Joey Thomas. “Several players in the championship flight are fully capable of winning,” McDonough said.
The first and second flights contain several single-digit handicap players who are equally capable of posting low scores. Last year’s first flight champions BB Holden and C.E. Boyd are back to defend their title, but will face some stiff competition. Zach Martin and Frank Loria finished 2nd last year, and are determined to overtake Holden and Boyd. “Zack and Frank both know the course very well,” McDonough said. Randy and Brandon Caldwell, last year’s 3rd place team, are also back. Frost Readel, second flight winner last year, has moved up to the first flight, and teamed with Brian Scheffler to challenge seek the title.
Lloyd Tibbitts and Bert Brocker have formed a strong second flight team. Tibbitts, who competed in the championship flight last year, is moving down to the second flight with his new partner, so they will obviously be a threat, according to McDonough. The teams of C.Y Brown and Eric Lantz, and Ned Brown and Jaime Hernandez, tied for 3rd last year, and are both returning. Locals Mike Duncan and former champion Dale Cloud are also a solid team.
Thanks to the spring rains, and the hard work of golf course superintendent Danny Cullins and his staff, the golf course is in magnificent condition. The fairways are plush, the rough is challenging and the greens are smooth.
“In the middle of all this high pressure we are under, the course is going to play fast. With very little moisture in the air in the mornings, the course will play fast in both morning and afternoon waves. By Thursday and Friday, the greens will be extremely dry. We verticut the greens twice this week to get a lot of the thatch out, we’ll roll the greens a couple of times once the event starts, and we won’t put much water on them, so the greens will roll very true with a lot of pace. The setup will be forgiving the first days, then provide a good solid test the last day”, McDonough said.
Prizes are awarded in the form of ‘Kerr Bucks” redeemable at any of the many Kerrville-area sponsoring businesses. Each day, the best scores in each flight receive Kerr Bucks, with the largest prizes going to the tournament champions.
To get the week off to a fun start, there will be a nine-hole team (3- or 4-man teams depending on the number of entries) alternate shot ‘shootout’ Monday afternoon. A ‘shootout’ means that teams are eliminated on each hole until there are two teams left on the ninth hole, winner take all. Tournament play begins Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.