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Plano's Pierceson Coody makes PGA Tour debut at AT&T Byron Nelson in front of Masters champion grandfather

The 21-year-old Texas star is the No. 1 ranked amateur golfer in America.
Credit: AP
Texas junior Pierceson Coody hits from the 2nd tee box during an NCAA golf tournament on Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in San Antonio, Texas (AP Photo/Stephen Spillman)

MCKINNEY, Texas — Jordan Spieth's 55-foot eagle putt on No. 18 was the highlight from Day 1 of the 2021 AT&T Byron Nelson.

However, the Dallas icon's putt was not the best one I saw in the opening round. That honor goes to another north Texas native.

Pierceson Coody, a 21-year-old from Plano, sunk a 60-foot eagle putt on No. 9 to cap off his first round on the PGA Tour.

Pierceson is the No. 1 ranked amateur in America. He made his tour debut not far from where he grew up, thanks to a sponsor's invite. He shot +2 (T149).

It's been a chaotic couple of weeks for Pierceson.

He competed in the Walker Cup this past weekend, just days after recovering from a stomach bug. The United States won.

Days later, he played the new home of the Byron Nelson tournament with his father, Kyle, serving as the caddie.

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Pierceson and his twin brother, Parker, are college golf stars in Texas. Parker is a top 100 amateur in the world. The Longhorns followed in the footsteps of their father who also played golf at UT.

"It could not have been better," Pierceson remarked about his friends and family watching from the gallery. "It's so much fun to be able to see them. Hit a good shot, hit a bad shot -- they're laughing and cheering for you no matter what."

If you’re a longtime golf fan, the Coody name should sound familiar.

Pierceson’s grandfather is former PGA Tour pro-Charles Coody.

And guess what?

The first tournament Charles won was the 1964 Dallas Open. Four years later, the Dallas Open was renamed after golf legend Byron Nelson.

On Thursday, Charles traversed the grounds of TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas. A mere 57 years after winning the event.

Charles won just two other times in his career: the 1969 Cleveland Open.

And the 1971 Masters.

It was no fluke as Charles finished -9 to defeat Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller by two strokes.

And Charles can still recall every shot from the final round.

"In fact, if you had enough film in your camera I could probably give you a hole by hole," Charles chuckles. "We could start at #1 but I don't think you want to do that."

What the heck... let's see what he's got.

"Hole 12. Second shot." --- what I would think is an ordinary, arguably forgettable approach shot -- which it was:

"I hit a 7 iron," Charles starts. "Now they 9 irons and wedges, but I hit a 7 iron. I hit it just over the middle bunker. Just on the back edge. Just off the green. And two-putted for par."

83 years old and he's still sharp as a knife.

"Just being able to learn from him," Pierceson said of his grandfather's effect on him. "I'm sure he's going to have something to say that's encouraging. And for him to be able to watch my round today was really special."

Charles has helped escort Pierceson and Parker into the golf world. Perhaps no fonder example than the 2010 Masters Par 3 contest when the twins donned the caddie uniforms and joined their grandpa in one of golf's greatest traditions.

50 years after walking up No. 18 at Augusta, grandfather now watches grandson march his own path to the pros.

"Jonah, I don't think I could tell you how proud I am," Charles asserted. "I'm not only proud of them because [Pierceson and Parker] are fine golfers. But the biggest thing is, I'm proud of them for the people they are. They're really fine young men."