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Bret Gray Leads 114th Texas Amateur with 18 Holes to Play

HOCKLEY – Eighteen holes separate San Antonio’s Bret Gray from etching his name into Texas golf history at The Clubs at Houston Oaks. After a second consecutive 4-under-par 67 on Saturday in the third round of the 114th Texas Amateur, the Sam Houston State junior holds a two-shot lead at 13-under 200 overall.

“Today was a grind,” said Gray, the 2022-23 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year. “On the front nine, I made nine straight pars. I didn’t really get any putts to go in, but I made some good pars. On the back nine, the putter started to heat up, and I made a few putts coming in.”

Gray made five birdies on his back nine, including four on the final six holes. He recorded six top-10s for the Bearkats last season, topped off by a victory at the Bayou City Classic in February. Gray also won the All-American Intercollege in 2022 as a freshman. He said he’ll draw on those college wins for confidence during Sunday’s final round.

“The course set up the past two days definitely has felt like a college tournament,” Gray said. “The guys I’m playing with are guys I see in college events, so it has a college feel to it, for sure. One thing I can pull from is really taking it one shot at a time and making golf almost easy. Just hit the fairway, hit the green, and two-putt. If you make a putt, awesome. But just playing simple golf, and that’s how I’ve gotten my two wins. Hopefully we can get a third.”

To make that a reality, he’ll have to fend off Oklahoma sophomore Jase Summy from Keller one more time. Summy, also a collegiate winner, shot a 3-under 68 on Saturday. Through three rounds, he sits at 11-under 202, just two shots behind Gray.

“The round today was OK,” said Summy, who drained a 20-foot birdie on 18 to inch a little closer to Gray. “It was clean, not a lot of bogeys. I’m right there. I’ll have a good day tomorrow and see what happens.”

Gray and Summy two have separated themselves from the pack with their tremendous play. The next closest chasers are Baylor junior Luke Dossey and former TCU standout Travis Woolf, who are tied for third place at 5-under 208. Dossey posted the low round of the day, a stellar 5-under 66.

“I think I’ll need a little bit of help, but another day like today with more putts dropping and hopefully I’ll put myself in a position tomorrow,” Dossey said.

With Gray and Summy respectively eight- and six-shots clear of the field, Sunday might have a match play feel to it. The operative word there is “might,” because there is a host of talented amateurs who could make things interesting before it’s over. That group includes Woolf, Dossey, and University of Houston redshirt junior Jacob Borow, who shot 2-under 69 on Saturday to climb into solo fifth place at 2-under 211.

Four more players are tied for sixth place at even-par 213, including Houston Oaks member Kade Stewart, 111th Texas Amateur champion Trey Bosco from Austin, Plano’s Ethan Fang, and Houston’s Jeffery Zatorski.

The National Weather Service’s Extreme Heat Warning remained in effect on Saturday for South Texas. A bit of cloud cover in the morning helped ease the effects of the heat, but it burned off by about 10 a.m. The heat index reached 100 degrees by noon, while the actual temperature hovering around 90 degrees.

Despite the soaring temperatures, all the players remaining in the field, as well as the Houston Oaks staff, the TGA Championships team, and the spectators enjoying the display of elite golf have been mindful to stay hydrated and soak up as much shade as possible. Thankfully, there have been no instances of anyone overheating this week.

The final round of the 114th Texas Amateur begins Sunday at 8 a.m. at Houston Oaks. For more information, including complete scoring, click here.

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Gray Maintains Lead through 36 Holes at 114th Texas Amateur

HOCKLEY – Bret Gray from San Antonio fired a 4-under-par 67 on Friday at The Clubs at Houston Oaks in the second round of the 114th Texas Amateur. He maintained a one-shot lead at the halfway point of the state’s most celebrated amateur championship.

The Sam Houston State junior sits at 9-under 133 overall, one stroke in front of Keller’s Jase Summy, who lit up Houston Oaks on Friday morning for a course-record 7-under 64.

“Yeah, I saw (the 64) as I was about to tee off,” said Gray, a two-time collegiate winner and the 2022-23 Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year. “I didn’t really think about it too much, but I knew the number I needed to get to if I wanted to stay in the lead, obviously. I knew this afternoon wave was going to hard. The wind is blowing, it’s hot as heck. I had a number in my head, but I didn’t think about it too much. I just kept playing my game.”

Gray said Thursday he likes to keep things simple: fairways, greens, no three-putts. He stuck to the program again Friday. He rolled in five birdies and chipped one in from off the green for par on No. 15 after a loose tee shot. He suffered just one bogey on the day.

“It was hot out there,” he said. “I was most proud of myself for staying in it all day, taking it one shot at a time, and not letting the heat get to me or making an excuse for that. I stayed even keeled. I was proud of that.”

Summy displayed a similar approach to his round earlier in the day. He poured in nine birdies on his way to breaking the competitive course record at The Clubs at Houston Oaks with his electric 64. The University of Oklahoma sophomore birdied three of his first five holes, then four of his first five on his second nine.

Only a lipped out par putt from 4 feet on his final hole kept him from sharing the lead headed into Saturday’s third round.

“I normally make a lot of birdies, so if I can clean it up and not make any big numbers, I’ll shoot pretty good normally,” said Summy, who won the 2023 Boilermaker Invitational in April and was a Big 12 All-Conference selection last season. “I had one three-putt today – I try not to have any of those; it’s always a goal – and I just thought I played a really clean round of golf. It could’ve been better, but it was just really clean.”

Gray and Summy separated themselves a bit from the rest of the field of top amateurs in the state. Third place belongs to Austin’s Sean-Karl Dobson, who shot a 3-under 68 in the second round to get to 4-under 138 overall. The incoming Stanford freshman is five shots back of Gray.

Fort Worth’s Travis Woolf is six shots behind in fourth place. The former TCU standout sits at 3-under 139 after his solid round of 2-under 69 on Friday. Houston’s Justin Kaplan rallied late with four birdies in his final seven holes to shoot 5-under 66 in the second round. He holds fifth place at 2-under 140.

Seven players are under par after two rounds at the sublime, par-71 Chet Williams-designed Houston Oaks course. Three more are at even-par 142, but they’re all looking up at Gray and Summy with two rounds to play.

With half the state of Texas under a Heat Advisory, it was another scorcher at Houston Oaks during the second round.

Friday’s weather unfortunately didn’t include the early morning cloud cover the field enjoyed on Thursday, which created a steamy environment almost from the start of the day. It was much breezier in the morning, too, with 15-20 mph gusts whipping through Houston Oaks by as early as 9 a.m.

At noon, the temperature at Houston Oaks was a toasty 93 degrees with a 103 index. The steady 20-25 mph winds helped ease the heat’s effects, but it also played havoc on plenty of competitors’ golf balls. The mercury topped out at 98 degrees from around 3-4:30 p.m. with “Feels Like” temperatures climbing to 108.

Hydration was a priority, and the 61 players who made the 36-hole cut at 8-over 150 or better can expect two more days of searing heat at one of the best golf courses in Texas. Among those who survived the cut were three past Texas Amateur winners.

Austin’s Trey Bosco, a senior at Baylor, won the 111th Texas Amateur in 2020 at Boot Ranch. He’s tied for 11th place currently at 1-over 143. Pottsboro’s Austyn Reily, a senior at the University of Houston, claimed the 112th Texas Amateur in 2021 at Midland Country Club. Reily shares apiece of 27th place at 4-over 146. Holden Wisener from Dallas, the defending champion who won the H.L. Edwards Memorial Trophy last summer at Willow Brook Country Club, is tied for 42nd place at 6-over 148.

The third round of the 114th Texas Amateur begins at 8 a.m. at Houston Oaks. For more information, including complete scoring, click here.

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Camryn Carreon Grabs Top Seed at 101st Women’s Texas Amateur

HUMBLE – Riding a wave of momentum from her first amateur victory two and half weeks ago, San Antonio’s Camryn Carreon on Tuesday fired a 4-under-par 68 in the 101st Women’s Texas Amateur Qualifying Round at the Golf Club of Houston’s Tournament Course. Carreon, a senior at the University of Texas at San Antonio, earned Medalist honors and the No. 1 seed in the Championship Match Play Bracket.

“I’ve been trying not to have any expectations,” said Carreon, who won the 2022 Women’s Stroke Play Championship on June 26 at the Traditions Club. “No matter the emotions during round from the last hole, I’m just trying to stick to the gameplan, and it helped out.”

So did a solid iron game and hot putter.

Carreon, a First-Team All-Conference USA selection who record seven Top-20 finishes for UTSA last season, made six birdies on Tuesday. None of them were from longer than 12 feet away.

“My putting was good today,” she said. “Inside 10 feet, they were dropping. It’s not going to happen all the time, but when it does, and you just know it’s going to fall, it’s the best feeling ever.”

A recent qualifier for the 122nd U.S. Women’s Amateur later this summer, Carreon will attempt to complete the TGA Women’s two-step this week by winning both the Women’s Stroke Play and Women’s Texas Amateur in succession. Only Emma McMyler has accomplished the feat; the Xavier junior won both high-profile championships last summer.

Kyle Fraser, a mid-amateur from Fort Worth, finished one shot behind Carreon at 3-under 69. The former collegiate Lacrosse standout at Stanford got off to a torrid start Tuesday with three birdies on her first five holes. Fraser added three more on the back nine on the Tournament Course to help offset one bogey and a double-bogey.

Haley Vargas from Lubbock, Delany Martin from Boerne, and Gabriela McNelly from Mico share third place at 1-under 71. Martin is one of five players in the field from University of Houston’s Women’s Golf Team, which makes their home at the Golf Club of Houston along with the Men’s Team.

Thirty-two players posted scores of 4-over 76 or better to establish the Championship Match Play Bracket. The remaining competitors were placed in one of six flights based on their Qualifying Round scores.

Fort Worth’s Mina Hardin won Senior Medalist honors with a 3-over 75. A five-time Women’s Texas Amateur champion and the 2010 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur winner, Hardin has been a consistent presence at this championship for years. A veteran of more than 50 USGA national championships, Hardin was inducted into the Texas Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.

Three juniors tied for Junior Medalist honors at even-par 72. Megan Winans from Richardson, Houston’s Ashley Yen, and Alise Knudson from Dallas also tied for sixth place.

In addition to being tested by the Tournament Course’s demanding routing and the water or wetlands hazards looming on 16 of the 18 holes, the competitors in the Qualifying Round also were challenged by the elements. The Greater Houston Area has been racked with Heat Advisory days this summer, and Tuesday was no different.

By 2 p.m., the temperature peaked at 99 degrees with a 108-degree Heat Index. The forecast projects a little more favorably: mid- to lower-90s by the end of the week.

The 101st Women’s Texas Amateur is the second TGA championship played at the Golf Club of Houston. The proud club also played host to the 2007 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play, won by San Antonio’s Jonathan Mathias. For 17 years, the club hosted the PGA Tour’s Houston Open, first played on the Member Course from 2003-05 before it moved to the Tournament Course from 2006-19.

The Rounds of 32 and 16 in the Championship Match Play Bracket will be played Wednesday, starting at 8 a.m. For more information on the 99th Women’s Texas Amateur, click here.

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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.

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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.

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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.