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Two Tied for Lead at Texas State Open

on 03 August 2012.

LEWISVILLE—With temperatures soaring as high as 109 degrees for the first round of the Bright Realty Texas State Open at the immaculate The Lakes at Castle Hills, a local golfer and a Floridian remained the coolest.

Mark Walker, the 2004 State Open champ, is two shots off the lead at 2-under par.Mark Walker, the 2004 State Open champ, is two shots off the lead at 2-under par.Garland’s Chris Brown and Tom Murray of Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., navigated the oppressive heat, as well as Castle Hills’ fast fairways and firm greens, to each post 4-under-par 68. Brown turned in a clean scorecard with four birdies, and Murray made six birdies against two bogeys.

The two pros own a one-shot lead over three players in the 42nd playing of the 72-hole, stroke play championship. The field consists of 144 players competing for a $125,000 purse. First place wins a healthy check for $25,000.

Murray, a 28-year-old playing in his first Bright Realty Texas State Open, played Castle Hills’ closing seven-hole stretch at 4-under par. The run included consecutive birdies on the 14th, 15th and 16th holes. The only blemishes on Murray’s card came on second and 10th holes, where he made bogeys.

“From 10 on, I played really well,” said Murray, who attended the same junior college as Masters champion Bubba Watson. Murray won a JUCO team national championship as a freshman at Faulkner State in Bay Minette, Ala., in 2003. Watson played at Faulkner State in the late 1990s.

“During that little birdie run, they had told us to pick up the pace a little,” said Murray, a third-year pro who has won two mini-tour events. “I wasn’t really thinking about anything, just trying to hit it as few times as possible.”

Brown, a 24-year-old who has seven top 25s and two tops 10s this year on the Adams Pro Tour Series, made his birdies on the second, eighth, 17th and 18th holes.

Among the group of players a shot back at 3-under 69 is League City’s Will Dusenbury, a senior on the University of Houston golf team and one of 14 amateurs in the field. Another seven players are tied for sixth place and are two shots back of Murray at 2-under 70, including Montgomery’s Robert Gwin and Hurst’s Mark Walker. Gwin won the 2010 Bright Realty Texas State Open, and Walker won it in 2004.

Castle Hills, playing host to the championship for the first year, stood up nicely against the field in the first round. With a scoring average of 75.59, only 19 of the 144 players broke par in the first round.

The Cascades Club in Tyler played host to the Bright Realty Texas Open from 2006-11. Prior to that, the championship was held at White Bluff Resort in Lake Whitney from 2003-05.

The Lakes at Castle Hills will play host to the Bright Realty Texas Open through 2014. The club also hosted the 2012 Texas Women’s Open in July. Judy Fleming from Australia won the 36-hole tournament at 6-under 138.

The second round begins at 7:30 a.m. Friday. Once play concludes in the second round, the field will be cut to the low 50 scores and ties. Follow all the action with live scoring by clicking here.