, Port Arthur, Texas

July 23, 2013

West golf notepad: Jackson wastes no time tackling The Palms

Bob West
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Bryan Jackson was literally on the grounds Monday at The Palms at Pleasure Island, jumping head first into his new job as superintendent at both The Palms and Belle Oaks Golf Club for the Port Arthur Renaissance group.

    “I spent the whole day out there, a lot of it on my hands and knees looking for sprinkler heads around the greens on the front nine,” Jackson said. “The good news is I found them all. Now I’ve got to do the same thing on the back nine. Man, there is a major task ahead of us out here. But I am so excited about where we’re headed.”

    There’s been quite a bit of good news for Jackson of late, although that could be tempered somewhat by the news he gets in late August after chemo treatments have been completed for his latest battle with cancer. Radiation has helped relieve a problem spot in his back, but the bigger issue is in areas at the top of his diaphragm, below his right lung and on his fifth rib on the right side.

    “For the most part, I’m doing pretty well,” he said on Tuesday. “I have good days and bad days. After working in the sun most of the day Monday, I got to feeling pretty queasy. But I woke up feeling great today. Dealing with chemo can just be crazy. But I have a lot of people pulling for me and praying for me and that’s helping me stay upbeat and positive.”

    Helping to uplift his spirits is how quickly the Port Arthur Sertoma Club’s Aug. 2 Bryan Jackson Benefit Tournament filled up. Babe Zaharias pro Ed Campbell, who is spearheading the event, said Tuesday that he’s well over the 36-team limit and is putting late comers on a waiting list. That’ a rarity for a tournament in Southeast Texas these days.

    All proceeds from the tournament will go toward helping offset Jackson’s mounting medical bills. In addition to money brought in from entry fees, revenue will be generated from the auctioning of a golf bag used by Chris Stroud on the PGA Tour, and raffle items that include a diamond pendant valued at $3,500 from Dana’s Custom Jewelry, a Crawfish Cooker valued at $1,000 and a Callaway tour golf bag valued at $400.

    Additional proceeds are expected from a silent auction and hole signs. Anyone interested in bidding on the Stroud golf bag should call Campbell at 722-8286. Campbell also requests that anyone wishing to donate an item for the silent auction phone him.

    One of the interesting dynamics of the tournament is the fact it’s taking place less than two weeks after the Renaissance Group, which has no ties to the recently closed Renaissance Hospital in Groves, took over the operation of Belle Oaks from Jerry Braxton and Bryan Phelps. Braxton and Phelps, as they did in the past, were waiving all play and cart fees to maximize tournament revenue.

    Renaissance, as you would expect, quickly agreed to do the same thing.

    Jackson, meanwhile, is totally focused on important projects at The Palms like spraying, getting the greens ready to sprig and having the watering system up and running as soon as possible. The plan is for Champions Turf Farms out of Houston to be on site in August to get started on planting the greens.

    “The greens are the top priority,” Jackson said. “It’s important for them to be able to mature through the winter.”

    Renaissance had originally hoped to have The Palms ready for play by mid November. Numerous roadblocks have made that less and less likely.

    “I just don’t think it’s realistic,” Jackson said. “The worst thing we can do is open too early. That happened out there in the beginning. I was pushed to open the course before it was ready and it opened in mediocre shape. I think next spring is a lot more practical. I just think it’s so important to do this right. This golf course can be a real showpiece for Southeast Texas.”

    CHIP SHOTS: His fourth top 10 finish of the year in the Sanderson Farms Championship earned Chris Stroud $75,000 and moved him from No. 36 to No. 34 in Fed Ex Cup points. But he actually dropped from No. 37 to No. 38 on the money list because of bigger winnings of other players in the British Open. Stroud is playing in this week’s Canadian Open, then is taking next week off and may be at Belle Oaks to play a role in the Jackson fundraising tournament . . . Karlei Hemler, who will be a freshman at PN-G this fall, ran away from the field in Girls 12-14 at the Mizuno/USSSA Junior National golf Championship last week. Hemler shot rounds of 83-77-78 for a 54-hole total of 238 over Champions Gate in Orlando, Fla . . . Jarrod Brown of Groves fired an even par 72 to Monday to win Boys 16-18 in the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour event at Belle Oaks Monday. Two of Brown’s former PN-G teammates, Tyler Rawson and Brandon Soileau, and Lumberton’s Jeff Rountree tied for second with 73s. Other winners included Tyler Ford of Lumberton (74 in Boys 13-15), Mattie Griffin of Beach City (76 in Girls 16-18) and Kassidy Chance of Magnolia (90 in Girls 13-15) . . . Charles Huckaby of Port Neches scored a rare eagle 2 on the par 4, 18th at Babe Zaharias. Huckaby holed his second shot from 75 yards with an 8-iron. Witnesses were Cody Metts, Ryan Thompson and Thomas Lemire . . . In the Senior 50 Plus Game at Babe Zaharias, played in a two-ball format, the team of Jim Mercer, Larry Johnson, Gene Hardy and Pete Reobroi won with minus 2. The back was won in minus two by the foursome of Tony Trevino, Ron Theriot, Alex Espinosa and Gene Noble . . . The Babe Zaharias DogFight was played in a flighted two-man scramble. Steve Picou-Adam Noel won 1st Flight with a 68, Rick Pritchett-Jim Cooper prevailed in 2nd Flight with a 73 and Harry Green-Paul Bourgeous took 3rd Flight with a 75. Closest to the pin winners were Noel (No. 2), Don MacNeil (No. 7), Picou (No. 12) and Larry Johnson (No. 15) . . . The Senior Game at The Babe was also played in a two-person scramble. Rick Pritchett-Harrell Guidry won 1st Flight with a 67, there was a tie between Roger Baumer-Larry Rogers and Bob Byerly-Charles Leard with 73s in 2nd Flight and Guy Van Cleave-Ben Thornton captured 3rd Flight with a 77. Closest to the pin winners were Bob Moore (No. 2), Robert Lynch (No. 7), Baumer (No. 12) and Guidry (No. 15) . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a 2-ball format. On the front, the team of Craig Fontenot, Alex Espinoza, Ivory Hatch and Charles Leard won with minus 4. On the back, Adam Noel, Gene Rountree, Cole Lee and Steve Cameron finished first with minus 2 . . . Rufus Mier finished pus 5 to win the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks. Jimmy Jackson placed second at plus 4 and Ron Somerville was third at plus 3. Jackson was the closest to the pin winner on No. 15/

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