Grant Schroeder Takes The 2018 Greater Houston City Amateur Championship
By Richard Dean
Make it six for the Schroeder family. Even though Grant Schroeder has a ways to go to match his father Ron’s affinity to winning Houston’s most prestigious amateur golf tournament.
Ron Schroeder is a five-time winner of the Greater Houston City Amateur Championship, conducted by the Houston Golf Association.
On Sunday at Memorial Park Golf Course, Grant Schroeder showcased his golf game. And now the son can be called a Houston city amateur champion and have his name on the trophy like his father.
Grant Schroeder, a resident of Montgomery, shot a final-round bogey-free 4-under 67 on to win the tournament, shortened to 54 holes due to rain, by two shots over Justin Kaplan of Houston, who finished second for the second straight year and third time overall.
“My dad’s won it quite a bit and it feels good to win something he’s won, to follow in his footsteps a bit,” said Schroeder, whose previous best finish at the city amateur was third in 2016.
The 26-year-old Schroeder completed the three-day, three-round event at 7-under 206. Defending champion Devaughn Robinson of Houston was third at 4-under 209. Kaplan and Robinson began the final round tied atop the leaderboard at 4 under, after Saturday’s second round was suspended due to adverse weather and that round completed Sunday morning.
John Hunter of The Woodlands and the 2014 winner, was fourth at 2-under 211. Katy’s Todd Albert, who led after Friday’s first round by two shots after shooting a 5-under 66, finished fifth at even-par 213.
Schroeder, who played college golf at Sam Houston State after graduating from Montgomery High School, said he never was pressured by his father to win this tournament that the elder Schroeder won in 1992, ’93, ’95, 2000 and 2005.
“My parents have been great telling me about going out and having a great time and having a good attitude,” Schroeder said. “You’ll get the wins if you put the work in. I myself put a little bit of pressure on me just because it’s something that my dad’s won quite a bit so I want to get a win too and get my name on a trophy that his is on. I’m proud of that.”
Schroeder was too young to remember his father’s early success in the Houston city amateur. And his father has never been pushy about specifically giving his son tips on how to the play Memorial Park golf course or what it takes to be the best amateur in the Houston area.
“Not really here, but just in general he’s given me a lot of advice on my golf game,” said Schroeder, who plays out of High Meadow Ranch Golf Club. “He’s coached me since I started playing a little later than most (serious golfers). We all grew up playing baseball. But once I started playing golf in middle school, he’s my biggest fan.
“And that goes a long way. But as far as this tournament in particular, he doesn’t say much. It’s the same as every one of them. Go out there and play well.”
Play well Schroeder did all weekend, and in crunch time. In the final round, Schroeder birdied holes 1, 8, 14 and 16, distancing himself from Kaplan and Robinson.
“I know how good a player Grant is,” Robinson said. “He’s quiet and his game is steady. When I play in tournaments, every time I look at a leaderboard, he’s near the top.”
Prior to his superb closing round, Schroeder carded rounds of 68-71.
“I was real solid,” said Schroeder, who drove the ball remarkable well and was sound with his iron play. “I felt good where I was at. I like this course, it sets up longer players. It was really long for being so wet.
“I feel I can always win when I come out. That’s the mindset I like to have. I played well already in this tournament, so I felt like I could do it.”
Kaplan and Robinson also played great golf, but fell a little short to the talented Schroeder. Even though he has not set up a schedule, Schroeder said he is planning on becoming a professional golfer with thoughts of starting out on the Adams Tour.
Robinson, who beat Kaplan in a one-hole playoff to win the Houston city amateur last year, led for several holes on Sunday, finishing with a final-round even-par 71 following rounds of 70-68.
“I beat myself,” said Robinson, easily one of the premier amateur players in the Houston area. “Every time I made a move, I made simple mistakes.”
Robinson, who played college golf at Texas Southern, teamed with Craig Lurie to win the Champions Cup Invitational at Champions Golf Club in April.
Kaplan, the 2017 Carlton Woods Invitational winner, had rounds of 70-68-70.
“It was a great week, but I didn’t have my best stuff all week,” said Kaplan. “I had to rely on my putter.”
Kaplan birdied the par-5 16th hole by making a 30-foot putt to close within a shot of Schroeder, who was in the next-to-last pairing with Hunter, just ahead of Kaplan and Robinson.
On 17, Kaplan just missed a birdie attempt on the low side that would have tied for the lead if the putt had dropped. On the final home, and needing a birdie-3 to force a playoff with Schroeder, Kaplan pushed his tee shot in the right rough. That negated any realistic opportunity for birdie and the ever-improving Kaplan had to settle for another second-place finish.
“I gave it a try,” said Kaplan, who played collegiately at Minnesota and the University of Houston.
Bart Worthing, of Weston Lakes and the 2012 Houston city amateur champion, tied for sixth at 1-over 214. Sharing sixth with Worthing, who shot 69-73-72, were 2011 champion James Bartell (Houston), Hunter Bott (Montgomery) and Wilfredo Sanchez (Spring).