SAN ANTONIO, Texas — On a demanding course
that taxed the nerves of most of the 144 players
the 78th Texas Senior Amateur, Mac McGee on
Friday shot a beautiful 4-under-par 67 to stake a
three-shot lead after the first round of the 54-
The 61-year-old from Midland kept his game
simple at historic Oak Hills Country Club, site of
inaugural PGA Tour Championship back in 1987
that was won by eight-time major champion Tom
Watson. With its mercury-fast Champions
Bermuda grass greens, thick rough and century-
oaks flanking the fairways, Oak Hills requires
the type of exactness from tee to green one
expect in a major amateur championship.
“You really, really have to keep the course in
front of you,” said McGee, who owns an oil and
production company in Midland. “You have to hit
every fairway. I missed two fairways and
McGee made three bogeys in all, but they were
offset by seven birdies. In last year’s Texas
Am, McGee finished tied for 22nd at Shady Oaks
CC in Fort Worth. In 2012, he won the Senior
Cup at Niagara Falls Country Club in Lewiston,
N.Y., and the Tower Invitational at Miramont
Club in Bryan.
“I just got off to a good start today,” McGee
said. “I birdied No. 10, my first hole, and then I
in for birdie on 12. From there, I just tried to
stay positive and hit good shots.”
Mission accomplished. McGee was the only
player in the 72-player morning wave to finish
and only one of two to post red numbers on the
Ivan Lawson from Cypress was the other who
claimed an under-par score. He’s in second place
under 70. Lawson rolled in four birdies on the
front nine but stumbled a bit with bogeys on two
last three holes of the day.
“I’m very happy,” said Lawson, whose best finish
in a TGA championship was the 2013 Texas
Amateur at Willow Brook CC in Tyler when he
finished tied for 43rd. “I just hope I can keep it
fairway tomorrow. That’s what I did today.”
The seniors played the par-71 Oak Hills CC at
6,590 yards in the first round. The scoring
80.01 or 9-over par – was indicative of the
challenges the course presented to the field of
senior amateurs (55 years and older) in Texas.
Holes 11-13 ranked as the toughest; the 198-
par-3 13th was the most difficult and played to
an average of 3.91.
McGee, not by coincidence, played that stretch
of the course at 1-under par.
Mike Booker from the Woodlands made a valiant
run a red numbers in the afternoon, but a three-
putt bogey on his final hole left him at even-par
71, four shots behind McGee and in third place.
Dallas resident Ken Coutant, the runner-up in
last year’s Texas Senior Amateur won by Rob
from McAllen, and Mickey Jones from Odessa
are tied for fourth place at 1-over 72.
Booker, 60, won the 2013 Texas Mid-Amateur
Match Play Championship at Oak Hills CC and
supreme respect for the venue.
“It’s a brilliant design. I’ve never played a course
that was more of a thinking man’s course, that’s
for sure,” said Booker, who had three birdies
and as many bogeys Friday. “You can’t fake it
here, and that’s the ultimate compliment for a
championship golf course.”
Built in 1921 by the great A.W. Tillinghast, Oak
Hills CC played host to the 2001 U.S. Amateur
the PGA Tour’s Texas Open from 1964-94. It also
hosted the Champions Tour’s AT&T Championship
The Texas Senior Amateur is the third of four
annual TGA major championships. It also carries
most weight in terms of TGA Senior Player of
the Year points. On Thursday, the eve before the
round, Booker picked up his 2014 Senior Player
of the Year award.
As he does most years, Booker racked up a bevy
of impressive results in 2014. He teamed with
Irving’s Mike Peck to win the Senior Division of
the Texas Four-Ball; Booker took fifth place and
Low Senior at the Texas Mid-Amateur; he
finished second at the South Texas Senior
tied for sixth at last year’s Texas Senior
Amateur at Shady Oaks CC in Fort Worth.
“It’s a wonderful feeling (to win the Player of the
Year),” Booker said. “The TGA provides a great
format for us to compete for something like
that. Not every golfer gets to do that, and we
it for granted.”
Booker, who also won the TGA’s 2012 Senior
Player of the Year, recently played in the Senior
Amateur at Royal County Down in Newcastle,
Northern Ireland. He also qualified for the U.S.
Amateur, set for Sept. 26-Oct. 1 at Hidden Creek
GC in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.
Katy’s Craig Rumora made a hole-in-one on the
182-yard 18th hole with a 7-iron. It was his sixth
career ace, but his first in competition.
There are four Oak Hills CC members in the
field, including Bobby Baugh, the reigning Senior
Champion. He shot 3-over 74 to share a piece of
ninth place. The other members are: Bruce Niles
(6-over 77, tied for 33rd), Sam Cangelosi (7-
over 78, tied for 43rd) and Mark Haugejorde (9-
80, tied for 69th).
The second round of the Texas Senior Amateur
begins Saturday at 8 a.m.
View results for Texas Senior Amateur Golf Championship