FATHERS DAY TOP TEN — Former Southeast Texas star Jack Burke scores big finish

Published 12:06 am Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Former Little Cypress-Mauriceville star Jack Burke did himself proud in the 114th Texas Amateur played last Thursday through Sunday at The Clubs at Houston Oaks in Hockley.

Burke, a junior-to-be at Texas State, tied for 10th out of a starting field of 144 players. The three-time winner of the Babe Zaharias Boys’ High School Player of the Year Award fired rounds of 73-71-70-72 for a two-over 286.

San Antonio’s Bret Gray, a junior at Sam Houston State, led wire-to-wire to win the championship with a 273 total. Gray, however, needed one hole of sudden death to wrest the trophy from Oklahoma sophomore Jase Summer.

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Burke’s steady play over four days gave his dad, Aaron, his high school coach, the dual Father’s Day treat of seeing him play well on a big stage and doing it under the watch of PGA player K.J. Choi.

Choi’s son Daniel, who plays for Duke, was paired with Jack in the final round and the two dads hung out most of the day.

Choi finished T9.

By placing in the top 10, Burke earned a berth in next year’s Texas Amateur scheduled for Trinity Forest in Dallas. It will give him a shot to become the fourth player with Southeast Texas ties to win the Lone Star State’s most prestigious amateur tourney.

Port Arthur’s Marty Fleckman was the area’s first Texas Amateur champ in an event played in 1964 at Willow Brook Country Club in Houston. Beaumonter Bruce Lietzke took home the trophy from Midland Country Club in 1971. Another Beaumonter, Jimmy Adams, prevailed in 1987 at The Club at Sonterra in San Antonio.

Texas Amateur winners who went on to success on the PGA Tour include Will Zalatoris (2014), Scott Verplank (1982, 1984, 1985), Mark Brooks (1979, 1981), Ben Crenshaw (1972) and Hal Underwood (1966, 1968).

CHIP SHOTS: Best hole-in-one story of the past week came out of South Africa. Chloe Veeran, a high school junior playing in the Isuzu Southwest Open Pro Am, won a $60,000 Isuzu D-Max Ute by sinking an ace on the 150-yard, 17th hole at Bunbury Golf Club.

Veeran, a 1 handicap, saw her 7-iron shot roll into the cup, then ran full speed all the way to the green to retrieve it. Typical quote to acknowledge the feat on social media went something along the lines of “wait until her parents get the tax bill.”

In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the threesome of Danny Harrington, Grayson West and Bob West won the front with minus 3. On the back, teams captained by Robert Gautreaux, Ron LaSalle and Jim Cady tied at minus 3.

Closest to the pin winners were Cady (No. 2, 9-2), Don MacNeil (No. 7, 8-1), Aubrey Ward (No. 12 2-10) and Cap Hollier (No. 15, 4-6) . . .

The Super Saturday 2 ball at Zaharias saw the team of James Shipley, Derek Wolf and George Adams win the front with even. On the back, the foursome of Ron Carlin, Jeremy Hemler, Stewart Ellis and Alvie Brown placed first with minus 3 . . .

Ties were the order of the day in the Friday 2 ball. On the front, the team of Gautreaux, Dwayne Morvant, Charlie Leard and Jerry Watson matched the minus 2 posted by the foursome of Craig Geoffroy, Eddie Delk, Ernie Cabangan and Keith Marshall.

Minus 2 was also the winning number on the back. Putting up that total was the team of Ted Freeman, Bob Byerly, Greg Cochran and Dwayne Benoit and the team of Geoffroy, Delk, Cabangan and Marshall.

Closest to the pin winners were Byerly (No. 2, 6-6), Delk (No. 7, 13-10), Leard (No. 12, 10-5) and Ellis (No. 15, 1-10) . . .

All points count was the format for the Wednesday Zaharias DogFight. Placing first with 26 points was the team of LaSalle, Larry Reece, Lonnie Mosley and Art Turner. One point behind in second was the foursome of Morvant Ron Mistrot, Darrell Latiolais and Gary Anderson.

Closest to the pin winners were Anderson (No. 2, 7-3), James Vercher (No. 7, 3-3), Terry Jones (No. 12 (11-1) and LaSalle (No. 15, 1-6) . . .

Brandon Munson of Livingston fired a 3-under-par 69 to win Boys 15-18 in the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour stop at Wildwood Golf Club Monday. Munson finished 11 shots clear of last week’s winner Drake Andrepont of Sour Lake.

In other results Foster Cecka of Port Neches edged Andrew Bird of Nacogdoches by one stroke with a 75 in Boys 13-14 and Roland Lurenzo of Houston won Little Linksters Boys 11-12, 9 hole red tees with an even par 36 . . .

In case you missed it during all the headlines and bickering over the PGA Tour and the LIV Tour dropping their lawsuits against each other, and seeking to develop the framework of a pro golf tour under one umbrella, the Houston Open has a new sponsor and spring date.

Houston Astros owner Jim Crane got what he wanted with a move from the fall to a date of March 28-31 in 2024. The event’s sponsor will be Texas Children’s Hospital. With that date, Houston replaces the Dell Match Play Championship in Austin on the PGA Tour schedule.

There will be no Houston Open in calendar year 2023. TheAstros Golf Foundation has a five-year agreement with Texas Children’s . . .

Andrew Landry will be the only area player participating in the PGA Tour’s Traveler’s Championship this week in Connecticut. Landry ended a string of five consecutive missed cuts in his last start two weeks ago in the RBC Canadian Open . . .

Golf news should be e-mailed to Bob West at rdwest@usa.net.