Jun. 11—Ever since he moved from El Paso to Odessa more than 30 years ago, Ed Barcena has made playing in the Quarter Century Championship an almost annual occurrence.
Barcena was glad to keep that tradition going when he teed off with partner Chas Weatherby for the 58th edition of the tournament Thursday at Odessa Country Club.
He said that's he's only missed a few years since he became eligible to play in the tournament and said that the tournament's straight forward approach and the high level of competition is what brings him back nearly every year.
"It's just one of those tournaments where it's just pure golf and there's no gimmicks," Barcena said. "I hit my ball all the way to the hole, my partner hits his ball all the way to the hole and whoever has the best score is the one we write down.
"There are a lot of guys that have been playing this event for a long time and everybody comes out and it's a lot of fun."
Barcena has been playing in the tournament with Weatherby for at least a decade and said that the relationship goes back more than 35 years.
Weatherby added that both players are able to feed off each other to try and put together a good team score.
"We just know each other's games so well," Weatherby said. "We're going to try our best and even if we don't pull it off, it's just great camaraderie and fun to be able to play with your best friend."
Barcena and Weatherby got off to a solid start by opening the tournament with a 2-under-par 70 on the Links Course.
Barcena added that he started playing better on the back nine compared to the front nine and confirmed that both he and Weatherby have a great ability to pick each other up when needed.
"He knows when to push me and I know when to push him," Barcena said. "I can notice that if he's missing a shot here or there, I'll suggest to him to make sure that he's doing this or that and he'll do it."
Another player making the most of his latest round at the Quarter Century Partnership is Mickey Jones.
The five-time champion is making his 47th appearance at the tournament and says that the way the tournament is run is what brings him back ever year.
"It's a well-run tournament," Jones said. "You meet people and sometimes this is the only time you get to see them. The people who run this tournament do a good job of putting it on."
Jones added that there's an even greater appreciation for the tournament in 2021 because of the social aspect.
Most of the dinners and off-the-course events did not take place in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic and most of those events are back on the scheduled this year.
"The pandemic was something else and it affected all of us," Jones said. "I do a lot of different things for the USGA and Texas Golf Association and everything was different last year.
"I definitely thing we're appreciating it more and it's just good to see people more than anything."
Weatherby added that taking part of the event is also something that he's gained a greater appreciation for.
"It's a staple of our community and it's the premier event and one that you want to play in every year," he said. "You just don't want to miss if you get a chance to play in it."