Durbin wins Texas Senior Amateur in a comeback
Gary Durbin (TGA/Twitter photo)
Gary Durbin (TGA/Twitter photo)

Gary Durbin of Houston won the 82nd Texas Senior Amateur on Sunday after he started the final round six strokes behind the 36-hole leader. The 2012 Greater Houston Men’s Senior Amateur Champion adds his first TGA Major Championship to his decorated amateur career after rounds of 73-71-73 for 1-over-par 217 to win by two strokes at Deerwood Club.

“With all the great golfers who play in Texas, it’s truly an honor,” Durbin said. “I take great pride playing in the Texas Golf Association tournaments, and of course winning the tournament is kind of unbelievable.”

Durbin arrived to Deerwood early Sunday morning. Due to suspension of play late Saturday evening, he had six holes left to play in Round 2. Durbin was 1-under on the round and even par for the championship when play resumed on the par-3 fourth. He made four straight pars out of the gates followed by a birdie on the par-3 eighth. He closed out his second round with a bogey on the par-4 ninth to card a 1-under 71.

The former Penn State University standout was even-par and six strokes behind John Dowdall of Fulshear to begin Sunday afternoon’s Final Round.

Dowdall, the 36-hole leader, had shown no signs of weakness after rounds of 67-71. However, the former PGA Tour professional started his final round with a bogey on the par-4 first and never regained his confidence.

Dowdall carded five bogeys, a double-bogey on the par-5 10th and a quadruple-bogey on the par-4 13th en route to an 11-over 83. His playing competitor, Craig Hurlbert of Magnolia, started Sunday’s Final Round just three shots off the lead at 3-under par. He also struggled to find his rhythm from his first 36 holes and carded a 7-over 79.

As the leaders let more of the field back into the championship, Durbin remained steady. He carded seven straight pars to begin his round followed by a birdie on the par-3 eighth. His bogey-free 35 on the front nine left him within two shots off the lead with nine holes to play.

“I never looked at the leaderboard,” Durbin said. “I just tried to stay focus and play my best on every hole.”

Durbin showed patience as the field continued to struggle. Despite consecutive bogeys on the par-4 13th and par-4 14th, his closing 1-over 73 was enough to clinch the championship.

“We just had to stay patient,” Durbin said. “I’m shocked and almost at a loss for words.”

Kip Estep of Rockwall and John Pierce of San Antonio finished in a tie for second at 3-over 219 for the championship. Hurlbert and Mike Lohner of Southlake rounded out the top-5 at 4-over 220.

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ABOUT THE Texas Senior Amateur

The State Senior Amateur is the second oldest event of all the TGA tournaments, having first been played in 1937.

Eligibility: Entries are open to male amateur golfers with a GHIN Handicap Index of 6.4 or less and who are 55 years of age or older as of the tournament start date (first round of tournament play). All players will be competing in one division from the same tees and yardage.

Format/Field Size: Play will be contested over 54 holes of stroke play. All players will be competing in one division from the same tees and yardage. The field is limited to 144 players. At the completion of the 36 holes the field will be cut to the low 54 players and ties.

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