Bryan, TX – A muggy and overcast morning gave way to hot temperatures and sunny skies as players headed into the final round of the State Senior Amateur Championship which was held at Miramont Country Club. The Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course lived up to its reputation as it handed the players a fair but stern test all week. Eighty-four men, fifty-nine in the senior division and twenty-five in the super senior division, entered the final round looking to claim the honor as the best senior in Texas. As if the previous two rounds had not set a grand stage already, exciting play in both divisions coming down the stretch made the Championship one to remember. Leading that charge of stellar play down the stretch was Dallas’ Chuck Palmer. Palmer headed into today’s final round trailing leader Bob Kearney by two shots and in a four-way tie for second place. Quick out of the gates, Palmer tore into the deficit on the very first hole when he birdied the 537 yard par five. His deflating double bogey on the third and additional bogey on the 5th would have put most players mentally out of contention, but Palmer fought back. Turning at with a two over par, 38, Palmer regained momentum when he birdied the par five, tenth hole. Looking to own the par 5’s, he then added another birdie on the fourteenth. With a severe bottleneck at the top of the leaderboard, Palmer knew he needed more birdies coming in in order to match the group of players behind him. Hitting a great approach to fifteen feet on the final hole, Palmer stepped over his putt and confidently rolled in his birdie putt giving him a three day total of two under par, 214. Now as leader in the clubhouse, Palmer had to sit and wait as the final group made its way down the par five eighteenth. The final group which consisted of Owen Joyner, Gary Hardin, and second round leader Bob Kearney all witnessed Palmers birdie on the final hole and new that things were going to be tight at the top. The Woodlands’ Owen Joyner played solid all day but coming down the stretch had found some trouble with bogeys on holes #12 and #15. Ending his tournament on a joyous note, Joyner rolled in a twenty-five foot birdie putt on eighteen giving him a two day total of one under par, 215. Just one shot shy of Palmer. Both Hardin and Kearney played well but couldn’t find the birdies as often as they had during the previous two rounds. Both finished in a tie for fifth place with Hunter Nelson and David Pocknall, carding a one over par total of 217. Perhaps making the biggest run of the day was Mike Booker of The Woodlands. Booker caught fire during the middle portion of his round and at one point birdied four out of six holes which included three straight on holes #9, #10, and #11. Unfortunately, the tides turned and Booker, who had been sitting atop the leaderboard with just a few holes to play, found back to back bogeys on holes #15 and #16. Booker finished with a three day total of even par, 216, and in a tie for third with Houston’s Gary Durbin. Once the final flag had been placed in the hole, no one was able to catch Chuck Palmer, who claims the honor of being the 2012 State Senior Amateur Champion. In the Super Senior division, second round leader Michael Hopson looked to maintain his lead and carry that throughout today’s final round. Hopson, who had played brilliantly the first two rounds, struggled today as he carded a final round 78 which included two birdies and eight bogeys. His three day total of four over par, 220, was still strong enough to hold off Peter Kirchner of Spring and claim the 2012 Super Senior honors. Kirchner, who was looking as if he was going to give Hopson a late run for the title, also found trouble coming down the stretch and closed his round with a four over par, 40, giving him a final round of 76 and a three day total of six over par, 222. Rounding out the top three in the Super Senior division was Bob Smith of Houston. His final round 79 gave him a tournament total of nine over par, 225.
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