News from Around the Green

The latest golf-related news, notes, and feature stories from the TGA.

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.