HOUSTON, TX (May 26, 2016) - It’s true there’s no
place like home, but for Tommy Brennan, five hours
west of where he hangs his hat isn’t too bad, either.
Brennan, who lives in Covington, La., and grew up in
New Orleans, won the 17th Trans-Mississippi Senior
Championship on Thursday at Houston Country Club,
course and club that gave him nostalgic vibes from
moment he stepped on property Sunday morning.
A model of consistency, Brennan shot rounds of
71-70 to finish at 1-under-par 212. He won by four
shots over Mike Booker from The Woodlands and
Miss Director John McClure, who tied for second
3-over 216. Brennan commented early in the week
Houston Country Club reminded him of New Orleans
Country Club, on which he grew up playing. The oak
tree-lined fairways, tricky doglegs and pushed-up
greens all felt familiar, as did the heat and humidity
players experienced throughout the week.
If those weren’t enough to strike sentimental
chords with Brennan, he had to look no further than
Houston Country Club’s Head Professional Gordon
Johnson for a friendly, welcoming face. Johnson was
head pro at New Orleans Country Club from 1988-92.
“I really like this place,” said Brennan, 55, who
the 2015 Louisiana Senior Amateur and was runner-
at the 1994 U.S. Mid-Amateur. “I told my caddie as
soon as we got here: This reminds me of home. We
in a lot of work on Sunday and Monday in practice
rounds, and everything just felt comfortable. The
did a great job getting this course in shape for
Brennan led the championship after 36 holes
thanks to consecutive even-par rounds to start the
tournament. In the final round, three birdies and
two bogeys allowed him to sign for a red number, a
under 70. Out of more than 50 players in the Senior
Division, Lee Sandlin from Dallas posted the only
under-par round Thursday; Sandlin shot 1-under to
score a top-25 finish. Both scores are even more
impressive considering Houston Country Club played
a stroke average of 77.58 for the final round.
“Any time you win a national event like this one,
means something,” Brennan said. “This isn’t like a
championship. This is a big-time national
drove the ball pretty well all week and was proud of
Booker, the reigning Texas Senior Amateur
champion and winner of nine Texas Golf Association
events, played alongside Brennan in the final round.
“He was very consistent,” Booker said of
“Fairways and greens all day. He played really
John Dowdall from Fulshear, Texas, took fourth
place at 6-over 219. Eddie Lyons from Shreveport,
and Chuck Palmer from Dallas shared fifth place with
Gary Kirwan from McKinney, Texas, won the
Senior Division for players 65 years and older. The
steady Kirwan shot rounds of 74-75-75 to win with
over 224, two better than five-time Trans-Miss
champion Chris Maletis from Portland, Ore.
“Other than two holes, I kept it in play all
said the 67-year-old Kirwan, who was the Society of
Seniors’ 2015 Super Senior Player of the Year after
eight top-5 finishes last year. “It’s an honor to win a
Trans-Miss event because it’s a big deal. This is a
course, a historical course. And it’s a great course to
win on, that’s for sure.”
Jody Vasquez from Aledo, Texas, claimed third
place at 14-over 227. Houston Country Club member
Hunter Nelson shared fifth place with Bob Hullender
from San Antonio. Nelson and Hullender finished at
The Trans-Miss Senior Championship features
age divisions, one of which completed play
In the Legends Division for amateurs aged 70 and
players compete over 36 holes. Jim Martin from
successfully defended his 2016 Legends Division title
with a score of 6-over 148. Phil Patterson, the
Trans-Miss Golf Association President, finished in
place in the Legends Division at 10-over 152.
It was a special victory for Martin, who began
30-year Trans-Miss playing career at Houston
Club in 1982 at the Four-Ball Championship. Martin
won the 1987 Trans-Miss Four-Ball with partner
Thompson from Dallas.
Houston Country Club is one of the most storied
institutions in Texas. Founded in 1908, the club
originally was located in southeast Houston and
featured a course designed by Tom McNamara. In
the club relocated to Houston’s upscale Tanglewood
area. The current course is an original Robert Trent
Jones design, an old school gem that challenges
with narrow, tree-lined fairways and devious green
complexes. The 7,009-yard, par-71 layout rests
adjacent to Buffalo Bayou, which comes into play on
handful of holes.
A longtime Trans-Miss Golf Association Member
Club, Houston Country Club previously hosted the
Four-Ball Championship, won by John Jennings, Jr.
John Paul Cain. The 17th Trans-Miss Senior was the
third championship contested in the Houston area in
association’s 115-year history. Houston Country Club
also was the site of a 1964 match between Ben
and Sam Snead that was televised to more than 3
million viewers on “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf.”.
Hogan beat Snead by three shots.