Joyner Defends Houston City Amateur Title

HOUSTON, TX (September 20, 2009)--Owen Joyner kind of lowered his head, shuffled his feet and tried not to laugh when asked if he was a self-taught golfer.

It was a legitimate question. The 53-year-old’s swing is a cross somewhere between those of Jim Furyk and Miller Barber. It’s just that Joyner, who comes across as the perfect Southern gentleman, didn’t really know what to say.

“You mean that nobody wants to copy my swing?’’ he finally said with a laugh.

No, but they would love the results.

For the second straight year, Joyner outlasted more than 140 of the top amateurs in the area to claim the Greater Houston City Amateur championship Sunday at Memorial Park Golf Course.

Joyner rallied from five shots back over Sunday’s final 36 holes to win the 72-hole tournament with a 6-under-par total of 278.

Last year, Joyner shot 2-over-par 282 to win the tournament.

“I think the first one was sweeter,’’ said Joyner, who was the only player to shoot under par in the final round.


“I never thought I could win a tournament this big,’’ Joyner said.

Early charge
Joyner’s morning round of 2-under 69 left him two shots behind former champion Kip Guidry and tied with good friend David Pocknall entering the final 18 holes.

By the time the trio reached No. 12, it was Joyner who was nursing a four-shot lead. Pocknall took a double-bogey on No. 7, and Guidry was on his way to a disastrous final-round 78.

“I don’t think I felt comfortable, even then,’’ Joyner said. “I have so much respect for David and Kip. I know the quality of players they are.’’

Joyner brought Pocknall and Guidry back into play when he blasted his drive to the right and then hit the trees trying to punch through to the 12th green. He wound up making a double-bogey 6.

“I don’t know what I was thinking right there,’’ Joyner said.

Pocknall was thinking it was time to make his move.

“I really thought I had a great chance after Owen made a mess of No. 12,’’ said Pocknall, who wound up second at 3-under-par 281.

But Pocknall almost topped his 3-wood approach to the par-5 13th and wound up making par on the 506-yard hole for the only time in the tournament.

“I tried to hit a 13-degree 3-wood and just couldn’t get the ball in the air,’’ Pocknall said. “Owen was in the bunker (off the tee), and I thought I had a great chance to get one more back.”

Solid down stretch
After all three players made par at 13, Joyner increased his lead to three when he was the only one to get up-and-down for par on No. 14.

The Spring resident made pars at 15, 16 and 17 before matching Pocknall’s birdie at No. 18 to win his second straight title.

“I wasn’t playing that good (coming into the tournament),’’ said Joyner, who is suffering from tendinitis in his right arm. “I am very surprised (at winning). But I will take it.’’

Guidry wound up third at even-par 284, while second-round leader Bart Worthing was fourth at 1-over-par 285.

Worthing was in command before taking an 8 on the par-3 15th hole. He hit his tee ball into the water.

“I felt the opportunity was there. I just couldn’t get it done,’’ said Pocknall, who was the only one in the group to walk all 36 holes the final day.

“It is very tiring (to play 10 hours of golf),’’ he added. “I really felt it the last six to eight holes. Maybe next year I will ride the final day.

“But give Owen credit,’’ he added. “He played very well. It is so tough to repeat.’’

Joyner believes it would be even tougher to change his swing.

“I have taken a few lessons,’’ he said. “But I abandoned that a long time ago. They wanted me to do things that I just couldn’t do.’’

Final results of the Houston City Amateur, played September 18-20, 2009 at Memorial Park Golf Course:

Owen Joyner, Spring, 73-66-69-70--278
David Pocknall, Katy, 68-71-69-73--281
Kip Guidry, Missouri City, 68-69-69-78--284
Bart Worthing, Sugar Land, 68-66-75-76--285
Bob Kearney, Houston, 73-70-70-73--286
Tim Thompson, Houston, Texas, 68-70-74-75--287
Robert Palmer, The Woodlands, 70-74-71-72--287
Chris Anthony, Houston, 73-68-74-73--288
Chad Harris, Humble, Texas, 71-73-75-71--290
Mike Booker, The Woodlands, Texas, 73-72-71-74--290
Sandy Pierce, Houston, Texas, 72-75-72-71--290
James Dalthorp, Houston, 76-70-73-71--290
David Leiss, Houston, Texas, 74-73-73-71--291
Seth Thornton, Houston, Texas, 71-70-76-75--292
Trent Booher, Sugar Land, Texas, 74-71-74-74--293
Nicholas Cristea, Cypress, Texas, 72-75-73-73--293
Hunter Nelson, Houston, 72-74-73-74--293
John Dowdall, Houston, Texas, 76-72-71-75--294
Chris Forbes, Katy, 73-74-70-77--294
Matt McEneny, Houston, 72-73-73-76--294
Aldo Novi, The Woodlands, Texas, 72-75-75-72--294
Johnathan Chen, Sugar Land, 71-72-76-76--295
Alan Ferries, Cypress, 77-71-73-74--295
Pat Youngs, League City, 76-69-74-76--295
Paul Bischof, Katy, 67-79-74-76--296
Jimmy Burke, Houston, 75-71-71-79--296
Robert Chisholm, Houston, 73-73-75-75--296
Gary Emmons, Spring, 73-75-76-72--296
Jason Williams, Houston, 72-74-72-78--296
Jeff New, The Woodlands, 69-77-75-76--297
Scott Smith, Houston, Texas, 74-72-75-76--297
Adam Valickus, Katy, 74-70-78-76--298
Fred Freeman, Sugar Land, 73-70-79-79--301
Tyler Beck, Kingwood, 73-73-78-79--303
Patrick Cooney, Cypress, 73-70-78-82--303
Daniel Howard, Cypress, 75-73-81-74--303
Paul Meredith, Houston, 75-71-78-79--303
Joe DePaula, Houston, 73-74-83-75--305
Matt Riley, Houston, 73-73-80-82--308
Scooter Jefferson, Tomball, 72-76-77-NS--NS

ABOUT THE Houston City Amateur

72-hole stroke play championship, run by the Houston Golf Association that many people consider Houston's "Major" (with the feel of a PGA Tour event, including a cut to the low 40 and ties). Players must have permanent residency in the Greater Houston area which includes the following counties: Brazoria, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Montgomery and Waller.

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