SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Steady play from Mike Booker at the 78th Texas Senior Amateur Championship earned him his eighth Texas Golf Association championship — a four-shot win at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio.
The parkland-style course, designed by the renowned A.W. Tillinghast, displayed challenging rough all week, but Booker tamed it to post 3-over 213 during the 54-hole tournament to win the Texas Senior title in his sixth try.
"You could go out one day and catch a couple good lies in the rough, miss the fairway but basically drive the ball really well, and you could shoot low," the 61-year-old Booker said of the rough at Oak Hills. "But then next day you could go out there and drive it about the same, miss maybe three more fairways and under and over-club a few shots, and all the sudden you're shooting 78."
"It's a very difficult golf course around the greens," he added.
Booker didn't lead during the tournament until the final day, as he trailed first-round leader Mac McGee by four on Friday, and sat a stroke behind second-round leader Ivan Larson on Saturday. He joined Larson and Bruce Niles in Sunday's final group, and wound up with a four-shot win, and another championship in his illustrious Texas Golf Association career.
"It just feels so great to be able to bring it home," Booker said. "Winning a statewide event is special. Anytime you win a TGA event it's special thing."
Booker now has four statewide titles under his belt, having most recently won the 2014 Texas Senior Four-Ball with partner Mike Peck. His other victories include the 2013 Texas Mid-Amateur Match Play, which was also won at Oak Hills, and 2003 Texas Mid-Amateur. But his eight overall TGA wins also include four Texas South regional championships.
"Notching another win, it makes you feel like you're still relevant," Booker said. "The work that you're doing on your game doesn't always pay off, but when it does, it's a great thing."
Booker's final-round 72 was a bit of a wild one, consisting of an 11-hole stretch where he made zero pars. Beginning at the par-5 5th hole, where he made birdie, Booker didn't make a par until the par-4 16th, spotting a mixture of birdies, bogeys, and one double-bogey before parring the final three holes.
John Grace fired 70 on the final day to secure a tie for second place alongside Niles, whose four third-round double-bogeys pushed him out of contention.
Both Booker and Grace will be present later this month at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Hidden Creek Golf Club in New Jersey.
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