PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

April 4, 2014

Stroud opens SHO with 68

HUMBLE —  Maybe it was the fact the course is no longer Redstone Golf Club. Maybe it had something to do with scoring conditions being ideal. Maybe it was just the law of averages catching up. Or maybe, just maybe, Chris Stroud is playing so well these days it doesn't much matter where he tees it up.

 Stroud, after enjoying precious little success in the Shell Houston Open over the years, opened with a ridiculously easy four-under-par 68 Thursday at the Golf Club of Houston. It probably should have been a 65 or 66 but Stroud was so pleased with how things went he didn't bother to play the what-might-have-been game.

 "I played beautifully," said the former Lamar and PN-G great. "It was a low stress round because I kept the ball in the fairway and gave myself a lot of chances. I'm pleased with my process and how well I carried out my plan. Yes, I could have gone two or three shots lower, but I'm not unhappy. This was a good start."

  Stroud, in breaking 70 for only the third time in 22 SHO rounds, and matching his best-ever score when the course was known as Redstone Golf Club, was precision-like in his play. He hit 12 of 14 fairways, 14 of 18 greens and only had to scramble to save par twice. He birdied three of the par 5s, got a fourth birdie on a chip-in and had just one bogey.

"This is pretty much the way it's been the last six months," he said. "Whitey (Lamar golf coach Brian White) has really helped me a ton with my swing, getting it back to where I need it to be. Mike Taylor from Sea Island, a new guy I put on my team mostly as an extra pair of eyes, has also been a help and contributed a couple of good ideas.

"With the program we've put together, my ball striking has been really good and very consistent. I come out expecting to play well. As long as I stay in my process, good things have been happening. It's been great for my confidence."

Stroud, who started on the back nine Thursday, shot 34-34 and wound up tied for 18th, three shots from the co-leaders. His outgoing nine included short birdies on the par 4, 12th and the par 5, 15th. The only time he had to scramble was to get up and down from the bunker on 18.

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