News from Around the Green

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Pierce and Durbin Share Lead at Texas Senior Amateur

AMARILLO – Sandy Pierce and Gary Durbin of Houston each posted rounds of 4-under 67 at Amarillo Country Club and sit atop the 86th Texas Senior Amateur field after the first round. Both players are seeking another win in the Texas Golf Association’s Senior Amateur Championship.

Pierce’s round started off hot with birdies on the par-4 first, fourth and seventh holes and finished the front nine with a four on the par-5 ninth. He added another birdie on the par-3 12th to get to 5-under, but made bogey on the par-4 12th.

“All-in-all I’m thrilled,” said Pierce following his round. “Sixty-seven on this course is a great score for me.”

Pierce is defending his win from last year’s championship, which was held at Champions Golf Club in Houston. He posted rounds of 72-71-68 to get to 2-under overall and won in a playoff.

“Coming back this year and just seeing how many good players there are competing helped me realize what an achievement it was,” said Pierce. “As far as this week goes I’m going to try and keep doing what I’m doing and at the end of the week we’ll see where I stand.”

Durbin played in the afternoon and made an eagle on the par-5 ninth to get to 4-under-par and match the low score posted on Friday.

“I hit a really good drive and had 183 yards left, hit a seven iron to five feet and rolled it in,” said Durbin regarding his eagle on his last hole of the day.

Durbin is seeking his third victory in the Texas Senior Amateur after winning in 2021 at Westwood Golf Club and in 2019 at Deerwood Club. This is his first time playing Amarillo Country Club and he spoke about the importance of keeping the ball in the fairway.

“I think it’s critical at this golf course to drive the ball well,” said Durbin. “This is my first time being up at Amarillo Country Club and it’s a really good golf course.”

In third place is Terrence Miskell, who shot 3-under 68 in his opening round. The New Braunfels native was even-par through his first ten holes but made birdie on four of his next five holes. He dropped a shot on the par-4 eighth and made par on the ninth, which was his final hole, to finish at 3-under and one stroke behind the leaders.

Bobby Baugh of San Antonio made eagle on the par-5 18th to finish at 2-under 69. Baugh was one of four players to finish in red numbers on the par-71 layout at Amarillo CC, which played to 6,685 yards in the First Round.

Amarillo’s Ralph Ellis posted a score of even-par 71 and sits tied for fifth. Burleson’s Lewis Stephenson equaled his even-par score on Friday and is a two-time champion of this event (2016 & 2018).

Five players finished tied for seventh at 1-over, while four players finished tied for 12th at 2-over heading into Saturday’s second round.

Amarillo Country Club was established in 1919 and boasts a deep tradition of hosting amateur and professional events. The club hosted the Amarillo Open in 1990, which was won by Lindy Miller from Fort Worth. The course saw a renovation in 2013 by D.A. Weibring and Steve Wolfard before hosting the 2016 Women’s Senior Stroke Play and the 2018 West Texas Amateur, which are both conducted by the Texas Golf Association.

This year’s field features 144 of the top senior golfers in the state, including 10 past champions as well as the reigning Senior Player of the Year. Players earned their way into the tournament through exemptions or competing in one of five qualifiers around the state. This was the first year, the TGA installed 18-hole qualifying for the Texas Senior Amateur.

Temperatures started in the low 60s on Friday but crept up into the mid-90s by 2:00 pm. The winds also intensified for the afternoon wave with gusts out of the north up to 35 miles per hour.

The Second Round is set to begin at 7:45 am off the No. 1 and 10 tees on Saturday, September 9. Pairings can be viewed by clicking here. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 54 players and ties heading into Sunday’s Final Round.

For more information on the 86th Texas Senior Amateur, click here. To see all the scores from the first round, click here.