The Austin Men’s City Championship kicks off tomorrow Aug. 4 and continues through Aug. 7. The four-round tournament will host 130 amateur golfers at four different courses around the Austin area – Lions Municipal, Morris Williams, Grey Rock, and Jimmy Clay.
Jay Reynolds, 2015 men’s city champion, returns to defend his title. This year, Reynolds has had success on the local level. He is looking to the Men’s City Championship as another opportunity to improve his game and take it to the next level.
“I’ve won a couple tournaments [on the local level] and placed fairly high in pretty much all of them,” Reynolds said. “I’ve been trying to get myself into the national amateur spotlight and trying to get my game good enough to win a U.S. Amateur or the U.S. Mid-Amateur.”
Reynolds substantially leads the Austin Amateur ranking by a margin of 1,982 points and has a combined total of 3,344 points. Chris Benestante follows in second place with a combined 1,362 points. Reynolds competed in and won the Chester Cup at Great Hills Country Club last weekend. He entered the tournament last minute as an opportunity to practice for upcoming tournaments and a busy fall season.
“I entered [the Chester Cup] sort of last minute to get myself some competitive reps,” Reynolds said, “because there’s really not anything that tells you about your own game better than playing in a tournament. I think you’ve got to play to really learn.”
Although Reynolds has been successful this year, he has struggled with his drive.
“I really haven’t driven the ball well this year, so I’ve been working on that,” Reynolds said. “The rest of my game is generally pretty good – putting, chipping, wedge and iron play. I feel like when I drive well I’m pretty hard to beat. So I’d say that’s been the main focus of what I’ve been working on and there’s definitely been some improvements and I’m hoping that continues.”
Reynolds will have to play well this weekend in order to pull another win. Steve Paterson, who finished second in last years Men’s City Championship is returning, as well as Jake Ezell who tied for third.
Competitors won’t only have to face tough competition on four different courses, but deal with the Austin summer heat as well. Reynolds said the heat would be a huge factor throughout the weekend.
“With it being so hot you have to have your endurance and be in good shape,” Reynolds said. “That’s one of the things I think makes a big difference…if you can’t handle the heat for four days, you’re going to crumble.”
Reynolds approaches the weekend with confidence, but says he’s going to play as if he’s behind throughout the four rounds.
“It’s hard to be the defending champion because you start with this inflated expectation just because you’ve won before,” Reynolds said. “I’m going to try to play as if I’m two shots behinds…like I’m chasing rather than leading. I’m just going to try to keep it simple like that.”
Golf enthusiasts in the area will have many opportunities to catch some competitive golf this weekend.
A list of tee times and pairings as well as a schedule for the weekend can be found on the Austin Parks and Recreation website.