Four Tied for Lead after Round 1 at 84th Texas Senior Amateur
HOUSTON – On one of the best weather days of the year in Southeast Texas, Westwood Golf Club stood tall against the best senior amateurs in the state. Four players finished at 1-under-par 71 on the classic parkland course to share the lead at the 84th Texas Senior Amateur.
Michael Guerrette from Richmond, Kenneth Coutant from Dallas, Michael Jones from Richardson and Houston’s Gary Durbin – the only players to finish under par – hold a one-shot lead over seven others headed into Saturday’s second round of the 54-hole stroke play major championship.
“It’s a tough golf course,” said Coutant, who finished as the runner-up at the 77th Texas Senior Amateur in 2014. “I hit it well and made a couple putts. If I can keep it in the fairway and out of this tough rough the next couple days, I should do OK.”
Near-perfect playing conditions greeted the competitors in the opening round. After a cool morning that saw temperatures start in the 60s, the mercury hung in the low- and mid-80s for most of the day without much breeze. Still, Westwood’s gnarly rough and tricky green complexes provided plenty of challenges.
“After playing in 100-degree weather all summer, it was so nice to have a break,” Guerrette said. “I was just trying to keep it in the fairway and out of the rough.”
Durbin, the 82nd Texas Senior Amateur champion, had it to 4-under through seven holes. He rolled in birdies on the second, fourth, fifth and seventh holes. He struggled a bit from there, but he remained upbeat and positive after he finished.
“I hit 16 greens today,” he said. “I was really striking the ball nicely. Then I had some long lag putts, and the greens kind of got me a little bit. But it was a good day. I had a lot of putts that touched the lips and could’ve gone in.”
Included in the seven-player logjam at even-par 72 were three players with strong TGA ties. Former Executive Director Rob Addington from Dallas had an impressive birdie-par-birdie-eagle-birdie stretch during the middle of his round. TGA Directors Hollis Sullivan from Westworth Village and Lee Sandlin from Dallas had five and three birdies, respectively.
Addington, Sullivan and Sandlin are tied for fifth place with Jeff Kramer from The Woodlands, Knox Wright from Houston, Bill Jackson from Van Alstyne and Bill Steen from Frisco.
Defending champion John Derrick from Waco shot a 3-over 75 in Round 1. He’s tied for 29th place.
The is the first Texas Senior Amateur and first TGA major championship held at Westwood. The well-conditioned, tree-lined course in southwest Houston has welcomed the TGA several times, however. Westwood has hosted numerous USGA championship qualifying tournaments, such as U.S. Open, U.S. Women’s Open and U.S. Amateur qualifiers.
Formerly known as Westwood Country Club when it was founded in 1928, the club holds the distinction of being Houston’s second-oldest private club that remains on its original site. Famed Texas architect John Bredemus created Westwood’s initial nine-hole routing. It was expanded to 18 holes in 1957 by Ralph Plummer, who once was an assistant under Bredemus.
There was a major renovation to the course in 2002 by Keith Foster. More recently, Kevin Hargrave completed upgrades in 2018 that included new tee boxes, greens and bunkers.
During Thursday night’s Players’ Reception, Lohner received his 2020 Texas Senior Amateur Player of the Year award. Lohner was the runner-up at the 83rd Texas Senior Amateur, losing in a playoff to John Derrick last summer at Ridgewood Country Club in Waco. Third place West Texas Amateur, T5 at 2020 Texas Four-Ball, T43 at the 2020 Mid-Amateur.
The second round of the 84th Texas Senior Amateur starts Saturday at 8 a.m. For more information, click here.