Covington takes lead in Trans-Miss Senior, Field moves up

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HOUSTON – Tommy Brennan from Covington, La., shot a second consecutive 71 on Wednesday at Houston Country Club and holds the 36-hole Trans-Miss Senior Championship lead at even-par 142. Mike Booker from The Woodlands, Texas, is two shots back after a pair of 72s brought his total to 144. The final round begins Thursday at 8 a.m. 

In the Legends Division for amateurs aged 70 years and older, Jim Martin from Dallas closed hard with an even-par 71 to win the 36-hole championship for the second straight year. He finished at 6-over 148 overall and defeated Trans-Miss Golf Association President Phil Patterson by four shots.


“This is special because I played my first Trans-Miss event right here at Houston Country Club for the 1982 Four-Ball,” said Martin, a 71-year-old CPA. “I’ve been playing in Trans-Miss events for 30 years now. I just think the Trans-Miss is the first-class operation of amateur golf, especially for seniors. I like giving back to the game through contributions. For our age group, I think that’s important.”


Martin made two birdies in his final round and said keeping his ball in the fairway off the tees was the key.


“Playing from the fairway on this course is what opens everything up,” said Martin, who also won the Trans-Miss Four-Ball in 1987 with Travis Thompson from Dallas. “I also made some good, par-saving two-putts today.”


Brennan, a 55-year-old who has worked for Merrill Lynch for 28 years, was the runner-up at the 1994 U.S. Mid-Amateur and has teed it up in 28 USGA national championships. He’s the reigning Louisiana Senior Amateur Champion and said the classic nature of Houston Country Club’s thought-provoking, tree-lined fairways and tricky, pushed-up greens make him more than just a little comfortable.


“This course reminds me a lot of home,” Brennan said. “I grew up playing New Orleans Country Club. All the oak trees, the temperature and humidity here and the overall feel of this place is very familiar.”


Brennan started his round on No. 10 and finished his first nine holes in a flurry. He made birdies on the 15th, 17th and 18th holes before turning to the front nine. He admittedly suffered some hiccups coming in; he made bogeys on his last two holes.


“I made a couple loose swings yesterday that cost me,” he said. “I made a couple more today. Overall, I’m driving the ball well. That works here.”


Booker also drove the ball in the fairway Wednesday. The 61-year-old founder and president of a Houston-based financial planning firm said he had a much better ball-striking day than on Tuesday. Booker won the 2015 Texas Senior Amateur at Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio and said Houston Country Club shares some characteristics with Oak Hills.


“If you make mistakes on this course, you get caught off balance,” said Booker, a winner of nine Texas Golf Association championships and a 14-time USGA national championship contestant. “But it’s such a good driving course. It’s challenging. There are four or five short par 4s, so you think those are birdie holes. Actually, those are some of the toughest on the course.”


Alone in third place in the Senior Division is Trans-Miss Board Member John McClure, who shot the round of the day, a bogey-free 67 that he described as “stress-free.” Paired with his first round 78, McClure is tied with Chuck Palmer from Dallas at 3-over 145, three strokes behind Brennan. Palmer, one of three overnight leaders, shot a second round 3-over 74.


“I hit every green except the last one, and I hit every fairway except one,” said McClure, who lives in Los Angeles and grew up in Lubbock, Texas. “That’s what you have to do on this golf course.”


Winner of the Southern California Mid-Amateur in 2005, McClure started his round on the 10th hole and promptly missed a 3-footer for birdie. That was about the only thing that went wrong all day, however. He rolled in a downhill, 25-foot birdie on No. 14 and poured in another from 6 feet on No. 15. When McClure made the turn to the front side, he added birdies on the first and fourth holes. The par-4 first hole has been playing more than a half-stroke over par and had yielded only two other birdies all week.


Tied for fifth place at 5-over 147 are defending champion Jeff New from Scottsdale, Ariz., and Ramiro Romo from Burlington, Wis. Romo used a hole-out from a bunker on No. 4 and a subsequent 8-foot birdie on No. 5 to post 1-under 70.


An original Robert Trent Jones design from 1956, Houston Country Club played to a stroke average of 78.28 in the first two rounds for the Senior Division.


In the Super Senior Division (65 years and older), Gary Kirwan from McKinney, Texas, leads with 7-over 149. He backed up his 74 on Tuesday with a 75 in the second round. Kirwan is one shot ahead of Jody Vasquez from Aledo, Texas, who has fired rounds of 74-76 to get to 8-over 150. Vasquez, a former ball shagger for nine-time major champion Ben Hogan, won the 2014 Texas Super Senior Amateur at the Hawk’s home club of Shady Oaks Country Club in Fort Worth.


Five-time Trans-Miss Senior champ Chris Maletis from Portland, Ore., shares third place in the Super Senior Division with Mickey McDonald from Shreveport, La. They’re both 9-over 151.


Five players in the field have an extra advantage over the rest in that they’re playing their home course. Houston Country Club members Jimmy Burke is tied for eighth place at 6-over 148; Hunter Nelson shares part of 18th place at 11-over 153; Tracy Stephens is tied for 34th at 16-over 158; and Bob Palmquist shares 38th at 18-over 160. Loren Singletary is the lone Houston Country Club member in the Super Seniors Division. He currently sits in fifth place at 10-over 152.



Trans-Mississippi Golf Association
17th Trans-Miss Senior Championship
Houston Country Club
Houston, Texas
May 24, 2016
Second Round Results


Senior Division

Tommy Brennan, Covington, La. – 71-71–142

Mike Booker, The Woodlands, Texas – 72-72–144

Chuck Palmer, Dallas, Texas – 71-74–145

John McClure, Austin, Texas – 78-67–145

Jeff New, Scottsdale, Ariz. – 75-72–147

John Dowdall, Fulshear, Texas – 74-73–147

Ramiro Romo, Burlington, Wis. – 77-70–147

George Zahringer, New York, N.Y. – 71-77–148

Jimmy Burke, Houston, Texas – 73-75–148

Scott Smith, Houston, Texas – 73-75–148

Eddie Lyons, Shreveport, La. – 75-74–149

Larry Nunez, Austin, Texas – 73-76–149

Lawrence Field, Tulsa, Okla. – 76-73–149

Steve Moran, Houston, Texas – 74-75–149

Charlie Jabbia, Orange, Texas – 73-77–150

Mike Peck, Irving, Texas – 73-77–150

David Ortego, Spring, Texas – 76-75–151

Alan Fadel, North Palm Beach, Fla. – 76-77–153

Bob Kearney, Houston, Texas – 77-76–153

Herb Fisher, The Woodlands, Texas – 75-78–153

Hunter Nelson, Houston, Texas – 80-73–153

Jon Valuck, Oklahoma City, Okla. – 73-80–153

Michael Zarcaro, Houston, Texas – 77-76–153

Craig Rumora, Katy, Texas – 78-76–154

Ed Turner, Richardson, Texas – 76-78–154

Nick Sidorakis, Tulsa, Okla. – 80-74–154

Trip Long, Wichita Falls, Texas – 74-80–154

Daniel Cook, The Woodlands, Texas – 79-76–155

Jack Slayton, Albuquerque, N.M. – 82-74–156

Randy Vautravers, Andover, Kan. – 78-78–156

Dan Pouliot, Burbank, Calif. – 81-76–157

David Ujihara, Brea, Calif. – 81-76–157

Mac McGee, Midland, Texas – 84-73–157

Bill Jackson, Oklahoma City, Okla. – 80-78–158

James Peebles, Fort Worth, Texas – 79-79–158

Tracy Stephens, Houston, Texas – 80-78–158

Rick Doebler, Fullerton, Calif. – 78-81–159

Bob Palmquist, Houston, Texas – 83-77–160

Mike Root, Omaha, Neb. – 78-82–160

Lee Sandlin, Dallas, Texas – 78-83–161

Ron Kilby, Briarcliff, Texas – 84-77–161

Jeff Dillard, Fort Worth, Texas – 82-80–162

Rick Goolsby, Fullerton, Calif. – 83-79–162

Bob Bret, Dallas, Texas – 79-84–163

Brent Cooper, Dallas, Texas – 81-82–163

Robert De Witt, East Amherst, N.Y. – 83-80–163

Alan Fama, Houston, Texas – 84-80–164

Billy McBee, Dallas, Texas – 86-78–164

Tom Melcher, Mansfield, Texas – 79-87–166

Brad Forrester, La Quinta, Calif. – 89-80–169

Les Devitt, Scottsdale, Ariz. – 88-81–169

John Juntilla, Spring Park, Minn. – 87-83–170

Michael Andrews, Los Angeles, Calif. – 86-84–170

Pat Manning, Irving, Texas – 81-91–172

George Adams, Houston, Texas – 87-88–175

Dale White, Fort Worth, Texas – 89-WD–WD

Gary Durbin, Houston, Texas – 83-WD–WD

John Aspinwall, Dallas, Texas – 83-DQ–DQ

John Bailey, Nashville, Tenn. – 88-WD–WD

Bruce Smith, Longview, Texas – WD

Hollis Sullivan, Wichita Falls, Texas – WD

Jonathan Shipley, Katy, Texas – WD


Super Senior Division

Gary Kirwan, McKinney, Texas – 74-75–149

Jody Vasquez, Aledo, Texas – 74-76–150

Chris Maletis, Portland, Ore. – 78-73–151

Mickey McDonald, Shreveport, La. – 75-76–151

Loren Singletary, Houston, Texas – 75-77–152

Bob Hullender, San Antonio, Texas – 78-76–154

Chris Larsen, Houston, Texas – 78-77–155

Corliss Nelson, Dallas, Texas – 78-78–156

Jim Lipe, Shreveport, La. – 81-75–156

John Goode, Killeen, Texas – 76-80–156

Mike Arnold, San Antonio, Texas – 75-81–156

James Saivar, San Diego, Calif. – 84-73–157

Denny Alexander, Fort Worth, Texas – 79-81–160

Jim Mathews, Houston, Texas – 84-78–162

Sam Boyd, Horseshoe Bay, Texas – 81-82–163

Beau Miller, La Quinta, Calif. – 81-83–164

Pat Hare, Fort Worth, Texas – 84-81–165

Doug Tambara, Huntington Beach, Calif. – 80-86–166

Bill Huckin, Dallas, Texas – 81-86–167

Martin Park, Wichita, Kan. – 86-81–167

Robert Lloyd, Plano, Texas – 84-85–169

Bob Walley, Los Lunas, N.M. – 81-89–170

Bobby Gray, Houston, Texas – WD

Craig Campbell, Midland, Texas – DQ

John Tatum, Dallas, Texas – WD

Steve Creekmore, Fort Smith, Ark. – WD


Legends Division – Final Results

Jim Martin, Dallas, Texas – 77-71–148

Phil Patterson, La Jolla, Calif. – 77-75–152

Bob Fouke, Broken Arrow, Okla. – 81-74–155

Joe Rogers, Belmont, Calif. – 80-75–155

Bob Twaddell, Houston, Texas – 77-81–158

Larry Walsh, Mountain City, Texas – 78-81–159

Gordon Norwood, Cypress, Texas – 81-79–160

Richard De Witt, Plano, Texas – 81-79–160

Douglas Smith, San Antonio, Texas – 81-81–162

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