The Firecracker Qualifier 2 took place on Monday, June 20th at Lions Municipal Golf Course. There were 41 spots available. In what has become an increasingly competitive field, it took 73 or better to secure one of the coveted spots in the second qualifier.
The first qualifier, held on June the 18th, took a score of 74 or better to qualify. Along with those that qualified, there is a group of exempt players that complete the field.
It is truly interesting that a local golf tournament can attract a field of such high quality players that include the best mid-amateurs from the local area as well as collegiate, high school players and mid-amateurs from across the state as well as a few out of state players. And this is on a golf course that is very short by modern standards. What is it that motivates this level of interest and support?
Several factors are obvious attractions to play in the Firecracker Open. It has a great history and tradition. Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Omar Uristi won this event and went on to have successful careers in professional golf. The list of winners spans decades of the best players in Austin Amateur golf. Names like Puett, McCall, Kruger, Gainer, Rhodes, Nelle, Clagett, Wilson, Cooper, Noonan and many others grace the trophy.
In recent years the names are younger and represent collegiate players from Austin such as Straton Nolen, who recently won the Big Twelve Individual Championship. Defending champion Nick Cristea has also won the Harvey Penick and other local titles. The story lines are many and varied and everyone in the field is capable of contending for the title.
Add to that the fact that the University of Texas System has indicated that it will not renew the lease for Lions Muny after 2019 and there is an added sense of urgency to playing in the tournament.
Another attractive factor is that the field has been reduced to a more manageable number of players who are paired in threesomes at ten minute intervals. That, coupled with the quality of the field, has resulted in an average of four hour rounds. Practically unheard of in competition these days.
And on top of all this, it is a social reunion of the golfing community and all their families and friends.
All in all, why would you not want to play in the Firecracker Open.
The full field results of the second qualifier are shown below.