Gary Durbin wins the 84th Texas Senior Amateur
Courtesy of Texas Golf Association
Courtesy of Texas Golf Association

Gary Durbin won his second Texas Senior Amateur on Sunday at Westwood Golf Club, a one-shot victory in the 84th edition of the major championship. He played the classic parkland course at even-par 216 for 54 holes.

This one was quite a bit different from his 2019 win at Deerwood Club in Kingwood. Durbin stormed back from a six-shot deficit in the final round to win the 82nd Texas Senior Amateur. This time around, the Houstonian entered the last day with a two-shot lead and had to scrap and claw to hold on to victory.

“I was nervous,” said Durbin, who has also won the Greater Houston City Amateur twice (1989, ’91). “It was excitement and nervousness coming down 18. This is the biggest tournament we have for senior amateurs in Texas. Winning it twice is really special.”

Durbin credited his solid putting for his steady play all week at Westwood. He made a birdie right out of the gate Sunday to grab momentum. He walked off the first green at with a three-shot lead at 3-under par overall. He gave the shot back with a bogey on the difficult par-4 second hole, but pars on the next three holes led to a brief four-shot lead.

The field kept the heat on Durbin, however. TGA Director Lee Sandlin from Dallas birdied the sixth and eight holes to stay close; former TGA Executive Director Rob Addington from Dallas applied early pressure on Durbin as well.

After a bogey on the par-4 10th hole that saw Durbin’s lead shrink to one shot, he rolled in birdies on the 11th and 12th holes. He nearly made a third in a row on No. 13. From there, Durbin played the final five holes at 2-over to capture the one-shot victory over Kyle Kelting from Amarillo.

“This means a lot to me,” Durbin said. “I’m 64 now, so maybe it means more if you can win when you’re older, not just at 55 or 56. I’ve worked really, really hard on my swing the past two years. I have a great family and a wife who supports my golf, which is huge. I have friends at work with and really everyone in my life has been very supportive. It’s pretty cool. I feel very blessed.”

Kelting, the runner-up, shot a final round 71 to finish at 1-over 217. He’s a two-time winner of the Texas Father-Son; he and his son Derick won in 2020 and again earlier this summer. Kelting also finished fourth at the 80th Texas Senior Amateur in 2017 at Royal Oaks Country Club in Dallas.

“I played pretty good,” Kelting said. “I’m getting accustomed to Bermudagrass greens a little bit. We don’t have Bermuda in Amarillo; everything is bentgrass. All in all, the ball-striking was good. I enjoyed the guys I played with. The tournament was fantastic. I just wish it was a different outcome.”

Sandlin, along with Hollis Sullivan, a TGA Director from Westworth Village, and Texarkana’s Chuck Gardner, tied for third place at 2-over 218. Outside of Durbin, Mansfield’s Lewis Stephenson might have that the most impressive showing this weekend. After shooting an uncharacteristic 80 in the first round, the two-time Texas Senior Amateur champ went 70-70 in the final two rounds to earn a share of sixth place at 4-over 220. Jed Shreve from The Woodlands also tied for sixth with Stephenson.

By every measure, Westwood knocked it out of the park with its first TGA major championship. In addition to the wonderful food and the attentive and professional staff, Westwood’s golf course thoroughly challenged the best senior amateurs in the state, a testament to the conditioning and preparation by the club’s grounds crew.

It also speaks the thought-provoking routing and course design, originally done by the famed John Bredemus in 1928 when Westwood was founded as a nine-hole course. Ralph Plummer in 1957 transformed the venue into an 18-hole championship course. More recently, Keith Foster completed a comprehensive renovation in 2002, and Kevin Hargrave added new tee boxes, greens, and bunkers in 2018.

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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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