Maybe it helps if your name is Brooks and you are a Texan, but for the second time in the long history of the Southern Amateur a man named Brooks prevailed as Ed Brooks of Georgetown wound up 1st in age and score and won the 1997 Southern Amateur Championship. In a field top-heavy with college golfers, this 48 year-old real estate developer won the 91st edition of this storied championship at Mira Vista Country Club in Ft. Worth, Texas. Coincidentally, the other Brooks, Mark, who currently plays on the tour and who won the 1981 championship at Innisbrook in Tarpon Springs, Florida, happens to be a member at Mira Vista.

Brooks, the first and third round co-leader, birdied the 16th and 17th holes the final day for a one under par 70 and a nine under 275, winning by two strokes on Mira Vista's gorgeous and beautifully manicured layout of 6,859 yards.

Tied for second at 277 were Texas collegians Jeff Burns of Dallas and the University of Houston and Roland Thatcher of The Woodlands and Auburn University. Burns closed with 69, Thatcher a 70.

Knox Milligan of Manakin Sabot, Virginia and Elon College in Burlington, North Carolina, co-leader after the second and third rounds, was in the lead with three holes to play. He surrendered his lead with three-putt bogies at the 16th and 18th holes and finished fourth. Milligan did receive the Sam Perry Medal as the 36-hole medalist by besting Edward Loar, the NCAA Freshman of the Year at Oklahoma State, with whom he was tied for the second round lead at 137, with a tie-breaking third round score of 68 to Loar's 71.

"This is sweet," said Brooks, winner of the Texas State Amateur Championship in May at Midland Country Club. "There are so many good players in Texas, and winning your state amateur is something you think about since you are a kid. I'm just tickled to death to win both the State Amateur and the Southern Amateur at 48 years of age."

As a note of interest, the course record of 67, set by Shane Bertsch of Texas A&M during the 1991 Southwest Conference Championship, was broken five times and equaled on eight other occasions. Posting 66's were Brooks and Clarke Rheney of Houston in the first round, Burns and Morris in the second, and and Michael Connell, Richardson, Texas and Mississippi State in the third.

It was a bittersweet week for golf in central Texas as Texans Justin Leonard, the last player to win the Southern Amateur in consecutive years, 1992 & 1993, arrived home in nearby Dallas early in the week after capturing the British Open and fellow Texan and Ft. Worth native Ben Hogan died toward the end of the week. Interestingly, the head professional at Mira Vista, Lindy Miller, also a native of Ft. Worth and former tour player of note, won the Southern Amateur twenty years earlier (1977) at Snee Farm Country Club in Charleston, South Carolina.

The top 40 and ties:
Ed Brooks, Georgetown, TX 66-72-67-70--275
Jeff Burns, Dallas, TX 72-66-70-69--277
Roland Thatcher, the Woodlands, TX 71-69-67-70--277
Knox Milligan, Manakin Sabot, VA 70-67-68-73--278
Michael Connell, Richardson, TX 74-71-66-69--280
Edward Stedman, Sydney, Australia 69-71-70-70--280
Chad Wellhausen, Abilene, TX 70-72-68-70--280
John Coles, Moody, AL 74-68-68-70--280
Edward Loar, Rockwall, TX 69-68-71-72--280
Ryan Dillon, Winter Garden, FL 69-71-71-70--281
Jeff McPherson, Orlando, FL 71-68-71-71--281
Jeff Klauk, Ponte Vedra Bch, FL 70-75-70-67--282
Jay Knight, Owensboro, KY 72-69-72-69--282
Bob Kearney, Houston, TX 71-68-71-72--282
Dean Overturf, Dallas, TX 73-72-69-69--283
Chris Morris, Houston, TX 72-66-74-71--283
Chad Starliper, Knoxville, TN 73-69-67-74--283
Chris Bedore, Richmond, KY 69-71-73-71--284
Matt Lewis, Dallas, TX 73-72-70-70--285
Todd Rossetti, Garland, TX 70-70-74-71--285
Dan Dunkelberg, Ft. Worth, TX 72-72-70-71--285
Doug Farr, Monroe, LA 74-70-71-71--286
Chris Paul, Tulsa, OK 70-76-72-68--286
Clarke Rheney, Houston, TX 66-73-69-78--286
Ryan Donovan, Yorba Linda, CA 73-71-73-70--287
Hunter Haas, Ft. Worth, TX 76-67-72-73--288
Bev Hargraves, Helena, AR 69-72-72-75--288
Richard Barbles, Houston, TX 70-76-71-72--289
Michael Kirk, Dothan, AL 71-69-74-75--289
Nathan Rogers, Gulfport, MS 70-72-71-76--289
Chris Parra, Irving, TX 76-71-71-71--289
Ryan Loghry, Nicholasville, KY 74-69-74-73--290
Jim Spagnolo, Ft. Worth, TX 73-74-74-69--290
Chris Nickens, Austin, TX 73-73-74-70--290
Drew Scott, Pinehurst, NC 73-71-75-71--290
John Lawrence, Houston, TX 72-73-72-73--290
Mike Anderson, Baton Rouge, LA 74-68-71-77--290
John Grace, Ft. Worth, TX 71-72-74-74--291
Adam Hayes, Rockledge, FL 74-71-72-74--291
Chris Forbes, Houston, TX 73-72-72-74--291
Marc Grinberg, Boca Raton, FL 73-73-76-69--291
T.J. Nance, Stillwater, OK 74-73-69-75--291
Gary Hardin, Ft. Worth, TX 74-72-75-70--291
Chris Loupe, Baton Rouge, LA 71-76-72-72--291
B.J. Staten, Dallas, TX 74-72-72-73--291

A traditional part of the Southern Amateur, and of great import to the players, is the Team Championship, in which the four best 36 hole scores from each state represent that state as a team. The team with the lowest cumulative score earns the Bob Jones Team Trophy for each player. In the 1997 Championship, Texas was the State Team Champion, represented by the following players:

Edward Loar, Rockwall 137 Ed Brooks, Georgetown 138
Jeff Burns, Dallas 138 Chris Morris, Houston 138