, Port Arthur, Texas


July 9, 2013

West golf notepad: Sale of Belle Oaks could be in the offing


    Big news could be imminent in relation to the Southeast Texas golf scene. Rumors are flying hot and heavy that the Port Arthur Renaissance Group, which is in the process of getting The Palms at Pleasure Island up and running, is attempting to purchase Belle Oaks Golf Club from Jerry Braxton and Bryan Phelps. Braxton and Phelps, who have owned Belle Oaks since December of 2002, sustained heavy losses from Hurricane Ike in 2008 and have entertained offers on selling it from time to time. There is also a rumor circulating that Renaissance might make a run at securing a management contract on Babe Zaharias Golf Course. Aquila Golf, which has operated Zaharias for nearly 20 years, has been told to prepare a bid to be retained as the management group for Zaharias. Other proposals will be considered. A pre-proposal conference between City of Port Arthur representatives and any interested groups is scheduled Thursday. Sealed bids are due on July 24. The Port Arthur News has not been able to get confirmation that Renaissance plans to submit a bid . . . Chris Stroud, who is taking a second consecutive tournament off from the PGA Tour for a long-planned family vacation in Florida, plans to return for next week’s Sanderson Farms Classic in Madison, Miss., that runs opposite the British Open. Having already earned a spot in the Aug. 8-11 PGA Championship at Oak Hill in Pittsford, N.Y., it’s mostly gravy for Stroud between now and the start of the Fed Ex Cup playoffs two weeks after the PGA Championship. He sits at No. 36 on the money list with a career best $1,402,809 in official earnings and is No. 33 in Fed Ex Cup points. Under a rule implemented this year, the 2013 season ends with Sept. 19-20 Tour Championship. Four fall events, starting with the in October, count toward the 2014 season . . . While Stroud’s playing card has long been secured for 2014, his former Lamar University teammate Shawn Stefani is on the proverbial bubble. Stefani is No. 121 in Fed Ex Cup points — you have to be in the top 125 or play the next season on the Tour — and likely will be grinding to the very end of the schedule to keep his PGA Tour card. Stefani is currently eligible for five more 2013 events — this week’s  John Deere, the July 25-28 Sanderson Farms, the July 25-28 Canadian Open, the Aug. 1-4 Reno-Tahoe Open and the Aug. 15-18 Wyndham Championship . . . On the local golf scene, congratulations to 74-year-old Roy Martinez of Nederland for pulling off the rare feat of shooting his age. Martinez actually posted one under his age with a 73 from the white tees at Babe Zaharias. Witnesses included Danny Maxwell, Don Rucker and Pete Chauvin . . . Congratulations also to PN-G junior-to-be Karlei Hemler for a sparkling two-day-total of 148 (75-73) at Grey Plantation in Lake Charles that enabled her to run away with Girls 15-18 in the Mizuno/USSSA Regional Championship and advance to the national finals July 19-21 in Orlando . . . Tyrone Cooper of Beaumont is the latest to join the 2013 hole in one club. Cooper sank a 6-iron on the 166-yard, second hole on the Bayou Front at Bayou Din. Witnesses were Bruce Morris and Jamie Smith. It was Cooper’s first ace . . .  One of my favorite area tournaments, Wildwood’s Old Glory Invitational, was played last weekend. As usual, the course was in terrific conditions and a large cast of community volunteers enhanced the tournament experience for participants. Playing in a partnership format that called for best ball on Saturday and two-man scramble on Sunday, the team of Chris Rieve-Charles Heider shot 128, but needed a playoff to claim the top spot in Championship Flight over T.J. Lingle-Braden Riley. Other flight winners included Kendall Wright-Jacob Terrell (127 in 1st), Chris Nelson-Clay West (136 in 2nd), Clint Hatton-Jared Wallace (140 in 3rd), Jason Bell-Jeffery Terrey (146 in 4th), Lance Slaten-Chris Rowe (152 in 5th) and J.T. Greak-Ronnie Keel (158 in 6th). Closest to the pin winners on Saturday were Cullen Williams (No. 4, No. 12), Zane Hoffpauir (No. 8) and Crew Charlton (No. 15). On Sunday, winners were Matt O’Neal (No. 4), Bob West (No. 8, No. 12) and Jack Wiggins (No. 15). In a really nice touch, head pro Richard Cockrell created an honesty award for Barry Talbert, after Talbert found a wallet with $500 in cash and returned it to owner Larry O’Neal. Talbert received a round of golf for four at Wildwood and a reward from O’Neal . . . Thaine Tillie of Nederland shot a 79 in rainy conditions to win Boys 16-18 in the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour stop at Eagle Pointe. Other flight winners included Peter Peng of Katy (76 in Boys 13-15), Collin Todora of Port Arthur (82 in Boys 10-12), Ashlyn Hendricks of Baytown (78 in Girls 16-18), Nadia Davila of Houston (89 o Girls 13-13) and Denise Pan of Houston (100 in Girls 10-12) . . . Raymond Rice finished plus 3 to win the Monday Seniors at Belle Oaks. Jim Brown finished second at plus 2. Brown also won closest to the pin on No. 8. In the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks, Joe Vanderweg and Gene Jones tied for first at plus 3 . . . The team of Cody Metts, Adam Noel, Bill Fears and Harold Wilkinson finished with 29 points to win the Babe Zaharias DogFight. Placing second with 27 points was the team of Jim Jordan, Mark Petry, Cap Hollier and James Moore. Closest to the hole winners were Adam Noel (No. 2, No. 7), Don Duplan (No. 12) and Paul Allemand (No. 15) . . . The Super Saturday Game at the Babe was played in a 2-ball format. On the front nine, the team of Thad Borne, Tom Lawton, Harrell Guidry and Robert Calloway won with minus 5. On the back, the foursome of Troy Touchet, Wes McDonald, Dennis Frazier and Darin Hodgeson finished first with minus 5 . . . The field is already over half filled for the Aug. 2 Port Arthur Sertoma Club Bryan Jackson Benefit at Belle Oaks. The event, which is a fund raiser to help Belle Oaks pro Jackson with medical bills from his cancer treatment, is a three-person scramble with an entry fee of $75 per player. Due to cart limitations, only 36 teams can be accepted. Play will begin with a 10 a.m. shotgun. Entry forms are available at Belle Oaks and Babe Zaharias. As of this writing, there is better than a 50-50 chance that Chris Stroud will make an appearance at the tournament and perhaps participate in some way. Stroud has already donated an autographed golf bag that he used on the PGA Tour. It will be auctioned . . .  Entries for Saturday’s Nederland Heritage Festival flighted two-person scramble will be taken until noon Friday. The entry fee of $20 per player does not include greens fee or cart. Call the Zaharias pro shop at 722-8286 . . . Upcoming Junior Golf Camps sponsored by The First Tee of The Golden Triangle are set for July 15-18 at Henry Homberg Golf Course in Beaumont and July 16-20 at Wildwood Golf Club in Village Mills. The Homberg camp is for boys and girls ages 7-12, runs from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and has a fee of $75. The Wildwood camp is open to boys and girls ages 7 to 17 and has a fee of $75 . . . Entry deadline for the July 19-21 Brett Walters Allstate Agency Neches River Four Ball Invitational at Beaumont Country Club is Friday afternoon. A Friday, July 19 practice round, as well as breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday and merchandise gifts from Games People Play are included in the $550 team entry fee. Six flights of 12 teams each are planned, with a first place payoff of $1,000 per team on the line. Call Rob Lietzke at 898-7011 for more information.

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