After all, it’s an important golf tournament with professionals conducting themselves, well, professionally.
And this is not the Masters with the famous Tiger roar.
But the historic Texas State Open is as good as it gets for pro golf in East Texas, and Shawn Stefani’s closing act on Saturday was beyond reproach.
“Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about shooting 60,” he said. “I was just really trying to hit a good putt.”
By shooting 5 under on his last five holes, Stefani went to bed Saturday night with a three-shot lead as the 29-year-old tries to win his first TSO Championship.
Stefani is one of the better players on the mini-tours, but this was his first 60. He had shot 10-under one other time in a pro event. Stefani’s round on the par-70 Cascades included eight birdies, no bogeys and the closing eagle.
“The whole thing about it is run, to me, as close to a PGA Tour event as you could get. The hospitality from everyone here at the club to the Northern Texas PGA, it’s second to none.”
Stefani’s 60 was not quite second to none.
Stefani needed every bit of that 60. Randy Lowry, the co-leader after Friday, put up a 65 and recent Rice graduate Michael Whitehead had a 64 to join Stefani in double figures under par after three rounds.
“I wouldn’t say I have the experience of going into the final round leading a lot, but I have played in the final group a lot,” said Stefani, who will tee off with Lowry in the lead pairing today at 11:51 a.m. “I can’t worry about how big of a lead I’ve got or who’s behind me.”
Asked if there was a particular shot that put him “in the zone,” Stefani said, “I can probably say I was in the zone before I teed off.”
Trailing by two to start the day, Stefani wasn’t thinking of shooting a 60. His goal did not include a number, “but to focus on one shot a time.”
However, he is human and may have let the moment get to him when putting for a 29 on No. 9. He was only eight feet away, maybe closer, but hit a poor putt and “settled” for a 30, which he duplicated on the back nine.
“When you’re out there and you’re playing well, you try so hard on not focusing on the wrong things,” said the former Lamar standout, adding that he was mentally “out of it” in the first round.