The 50th Texas State Open gets underway today, and fans will be allowed to attend free of charge, Matt Cohen, General Manager of The Cascades Golf & Country Club, said.

There are precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

“We will not be opening the clubhouse facilities to the general public however, only players, caddies, staff and club members will have access to the inside portion of the clubhouse,” Cohen said. “We will have ample restrooms, refreshments available through our Snack Bar, and a place for people to get some shade or a quick spot of air conditioning in the snack bar and restroom facility located adjacent to the snack bar.

“We only ask that people respect others and socially distance when viewing the tournament outside, or bring a mask for the odd occasion where social distancing may not be possible outside.”

Cohen encouraged folks to bring plenty of water, a hat, sunscreen, and some money for food and snacks.

The $120,000 tournament gets underway today with morning tee times from 7:30-9:30 a.m. off Nos. 1 and 10 and in the afternoon from 12:30-2:30 p.m.

The tournament is presented by Joyce Crane and Veritex Bank. The Cascades is located at 4511 Briarwood Drive in Tyler (75709).

Last year, fans were treated to watching six-time major champion and former Texas State Open two-time winner Lee Trevino and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, but due to the COVID-19 they will not participate this year, Cohen said.

“The field in 2020 may be the strongest we have hosted in the past three years, since the Texas State Open returned to The Cascades and Tyler in 2018,” Cohen said. “Not only do we have the past two champions in Ben Kern (2018) and Kyle Pritchard (2019), but also returning in 2020 will be Blake Elliott from Bullard, who finished third in 2019, as well as three-time former champion (2002, 2005, 2006) and PGA Tour player Kelly Grunewald.”

Elliott recently won the 83rd Meadowbrook Invitational in Kilgore.

Other past champions in the field include Brax McCarthy (2017), Juan Fernandez (2016), Anthony Broussard (2014), Nate Tyler (2012), Robert Gwin (2010), Mikel Martinson (2009), Mark Walker (2004) and Casey Devoll (2003).

Other area players in the field include: Quitman amateur Jeremy Bates, Van amateur Logan Lockwood, Sulphur Springs amateur Alex Motes, Paris’ Tanner Napier, Texarkana’s Trumann Nugent and Athens’ Clifton Van Cleave.