Gary Durbin Wins the 84th Texas Senior Amateur
HOUSTON – Gary Durbin won his second Texas Senior Amateur on Sunday at Westwood Golf Club, a one-shot victory in the 84th edition of the major championship. He played the classic parkland course at even-par 216 for 54 holes.
This one was quite a bit different from his 2019 win at Deerwood Club in Kingwood. Durbin stormed back from a six-shot deficit in the final round to win the 82nd Texas Senior Amateur. This time around, the Houstonian entered the last day with a two-shot lead and had to scrap and claw to hold on to victory.
“I was nervous,” said Durbin, who has also won the Greater Houston City Amateur twice (1989, ’91). “It was excitement and nervousness coming down 18. This is the biggest tournament we have for senior amateurs in Texas. Winning it twice is really special.”
Durbin credited his solid putting for his steady play all week at Westwood. He made a birdie right out of the gate Sunday to grab momentum. He walked off the first green at with a three-shot lead at 3-under par overall. He gave the shot back with a bogey on the difficult par-4 second hole, but pars on the next three holes led to a brief four-shot lead.
The field kept the heat on Durbin, however. TGA Director Lee Sandlin from Dallas birdied the sixth and eight holes to stay close; former TGA Executive Director Rob Addington from Dallas applied early pressure on Durbin as well.
After a bogey on the par-4 10th hole that saw Durbin’s lead shrink to one shot, he rolled in birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. He nearly made a third in a row on No. 13. From there, Durbin played the final five holes at 2-over to capture the one-shot victory over Kyle Kelting from Amarillo.
“This means a lot to me,” Durbin said. “I’m 64 now, so maybe it means more if you can win when you’re older, not just at 55 or 56. I’ve worked really, really hard on my swing the past two years. I have a great family and a wife who supports my golf, which is huge. I have friends at work with and really everyone in my life has been very supportive. It’s pretty cool. I feel very blessed.”
Kelting, the runner-up, shot a final round 71 to finish at 1-over 217. He’s a two-time winner of the Texas Father-Son; he and his son Derick won in 2020 and again earlier this summer. Kelting also finished fourth at the 80th Texas Senior Amateur in 2017 at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas.
“I played pretty good,” Kelting said. “I’m getting accustomed to Bermudagrass greens a little bit. We don’t have Bermuda in Amarillo; everything is bentgrass. All in all, the ball-striking was good. I enjoyed the guys I played with. The tournament was fantastic. I just wish it was a different outcome.”
Sandlin, along with Hollis Sullivan, a TGA Director from Westworth Village, and Texarkana’s Chuck Gardner, tied for third place at 2-over 218. Outside of Durbin, Mansfield’s Lewis Stephenson might have that the most impressive showing this weekend. After shooting an uncharacteristic 80 in the first round, the two-time Texas Senior Amateur champ went 70-70 in the final two rounds to earn a share of sixth place at 4-over 220. Jed Shreve from The Woodlands also tied for sixth with Stephenson.
The TGA extends its most sincere gratitude to Westwood Golf Club, including its staff and members, for all their hard work in creating such a welcoming atmosphere and memorable championship week. Special thanks are due to General Manager Ricky Lyons, Clubhouse Manager/Director of Membership Sales Jennifer Gonzalez, Head Golf Professional Andrew Riddle, Golf Course Superintendent Wesley Curtis and Chef Joseph Tyler. Each of them played an essential role in making the 84th Texas Senior Amateur a success.
By every measure, Westwood knocked it out of the park with its first TGA major championship. In addition to the wonderful food and the attentive and professional staff, Westwood’s golf course thoroughly challenged the best senior amateurs in the state, a testament to the conditioning and preparation by the club’s grounds crew.
It also speaks the thought-provoking routing and course design, originally done by the famed John Bredemus in 1928 when Westwood was founded as a nine-hole course. Ralph Plummer in 1957 transformed the venue into an 18-hole championship course. More recently, Keith Foster completed a comprehensive renovation in 2002, and Kevin Hargrave added new tee boxes, greens, and bunkers in 2018.
Several players throughout the week told TGA staff members how impressed they were with the golf course and hospitable atmosphere of the club.
The TGA also is grateful for our volunteers, who donated their time and expertise to ensure another first-class championship experience. For information on the 84th Texas Senior Amateur, click here.
Gary Durbin Leads 84th Texas Senior Amateur after 36 Holes
HOUSTON – Gary Durbin is 18 holes away from winning the 84th Texas Senior Amateur. The Houston resident fired a tidy 2-under-par 70 in Saturday’s second round at Westwood Golf Club and leads Lee Sandlin from Dallas by two shots headed into Sunday’s final round.
Durbin, who rolled in three birdies Saturday against a lone bogey, also won the 82nd playing of the Texas Senior Amateur, a two-shot victory at Deerwood Club in Kingwood in 2019. Through 36 holes this time around, he sits at 3-under 141. The accomplished amateur has made winning a habit in his hometown.
Durbin won the Greater Houston City Amateur twice (1989, ’91), and he captured the Greater Houston City Senior Amateur in 2012. He’d love to further validate his 2019 Texas Senior Am championship with a victory tomorrow.
“To win a tournament as prestigious as this one a second time, it would be awesome,” he said.
Durbin hit 16 greens in regulation for the second straight day, which is easier to do at Westwood from the fairway. The rough at the classic parkland course in Southwest Houston is thick and unpredictable, as several players have noted.
“I’m driving the ball well, which is important with the high rough out here,” Durbin said. “I made two long putts for birdie, but I had about four or five putts under 15 feet that I didn’t make. The greens are tough. The golf course is set up fair, but it’s tough.”
Sitting two shots back is Sandlin, a TGA Director and longtime supporter of amateur golf in Texas. Sandlin shot 1-under 71 on Saturday. He’s posted 1-under 143 through 36 holes.
“I hit 15 greens yesterday,” Sandlin said. “I was all over the place today and just managed to get the ball in the hole, which is probably what I do best. I struggled off the tee; the rough is really tough. You have to play for a flyer, but it’s a guessing game a lot of the time.”
Chuck Gardner from Texarkana and former TGA Executive Director Rob Addington are one shot behind Sandlin and three behind Durbin at even-par 144. Gardner made three birdies on his way to a 1-under 71 in the second round.
Addington, meanwhile, shot an even-par 72 Saturday that also included three birdies. He was the TGA’s Executive Director from 2001-18. In addition to growing the TGA into one of the strongest Allied Golf Associations in the country, Addington conducted numerous championships over the years, including several Texas Senior Amateurs.
He said it’s a lot of fun to be on the other side of the ropes as a competitor this week.
“It’s been a blast to play,” Addington said. “The staff does such an amazing job. It’s very enjoyable. I probably haven’t played in an individual tournament in 20 years. It’s a lot of fun to compete. To play well is just a bonus.”
Richmond’s Michael Guerrette holds fifth place alone at 1-over 145. He posted 3-over 74 on Saturday. Six players share a piece of sixth place at 2-over 146, including defending champion John Derrick from Waco.
Saturday blessed the competitors with another sun-kissed day of near-perfect scoring conditions. After a cool morning, the temperature rose to the mid-80s and stayed there all day with little wind.
Sixty-three players advanced through Saturday’s 36-hole cut at 9-over 153.
Although he missed the cut, Beaumont’s Charlie Jabbia provided some fireworks Saturday morning. He aced the 168-yard, 15th hole with a 6-iron.
“It was into the sun,” he said. “I hit it good, but I couldn’t see it go in. I looked with my rangefinder and couldn’t see it, so I thought I might’ve hit it over the green. But then the guys on the next tee box were hooting and hollering, so I knew it went in.”
It was Jabbia’s second hole-in-one, both which have come during competitions.
The second round of the 84th Texas Senior Amateur starts Sunday at 8 a.m. For more information, click here.
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.