, Port Arthur, Texas

June 18, 2013

West area notepad: Stefani's ace gives LU ex piece of U.S. Open history

Bob West
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Too bad CBS didn’t have the U.S. Open instead of NBC. If that had been the case, I’m confident Jim Nantz would have quickly followed up on Shawn Stefani’s hole in one Sunday in the U.S. Open by noting it was the second ace made in tournament competition this year by a former Lamar University golfer.

Chris Stroud, of course, got one in the RBC Heritage Classic at Harbour Town in mid April.

Stefani, though he finished T59, couldn’t have picked a bigger stage to bag his second ever hole in one. Not only did it come in the U.S. Open, but it was the first ace in five Opens played at Merion, which carves out a little slice of golfing history for the Barbers Hill ex.

Give Stefani credit for great theatrics, too. Not only did he walk over and kiss the spot in the greenside rough where his 4-iron landed, he walked past ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt and said, “That’s probably going to be a No. 1 on SportsCenter tonight, which would be kind of cool.”

Overlooked in the hoopla around the hole-in-one was the fact Stefani also authored one of the biggest round-to-round scoring swings in U.S. Open history by going from an 85 on Saturday to a 69 on Sunday. Only six other players managed to break 70 in the final round.

CHIP SHOTS: Former Baylor and Texas State golfer Jeff Gerlich, whose tournament attire of tennis shoes, cargo shorts and a t-shirts had onlookers calling him “Tin Cup,”  snatched the $3,200 first place check away from Adams Tour regulars Brian Rowell and Michael Arnaud Sunday in the 46th annual Silsbee Men’s Golf Association Invitational. Gerlich, who mostly plays the Texas barbecue circuit, signed off on a 54-hole total of 12-under par 204. Rowell was at 205 and Arnaud shot 206. Braden Riley won the Presidential Flight at 213. Other flight winners were Jeff Williams, Ben Newsome, Fred Hardy, Mike Jumper, Burton Smith, R.J. Nield and Jim Swearingen . . . PN-G junior to be Braden Bailey placed fifth in U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying and Memorial Park in Houston last week and is a second alternate for the July 20-27 tourney in Truckee, Calif. Bailey shot rounds of 71-71 for a 142. Michael Cotton of Katy was medalist at 137. Alvar Ortiz of Mexico and Aaron Terrazas of Bluffton, S.C. grabbed the other two available spots with 138s . . . Tate Fleming from Pasadena swooped in to win the Jack Moore Cup that goes to the winner of the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour’s Bruce Lietzke Classic at Idylwild. Moore shot rounds of 74-72 for a 146 total that bested Jarrod Brown of Groves by four shots. Michael Glover of Nederland was third at 151. Other flight winners included Lawson Klotz of Austin (149 in Boys 13-15), Reagan Bodin of Nederland (196 in Girls 16-18), and Maggie Coward of Austin (164 in Girls 13-15) . . . Roy Martinez of Nederland scored an eagle 2 on the par 4, 4th hole at Babe Zaharias, sinking a 6-iron from 150-yards. The shot was witnessed by Pete Chauvin and Gene Hardy . . . There was a two-way tie for first in the Babe Zaharias DogFight, with the team of Jim Jordan, Adam Noel, Roger Koch and ghost player Paul Brown getting 20 points to match the total put up by the foursome of Billy Tucker, Buddy Sepeda, Ray Trahan and Harold Wilkinson. Closest to the hole winners were Dwight Duck (No. 2), Rick Pritchett (No. 7), Lowell Sullivan (No. 12) and Don MacNeil (No. 15) . . . Entry blanks are now available at Babe Zaharias, Bayou Din and Belle Oaks for the Port Arthur Sertoma Club’s Aug. 2 Bryan Jackson Benefit at Belle Oaks. Entry fee is $225 for a three-person scramble, with a 10 a.m. shotgun. The field is being limited to the first 36 teams. Anyone seeking further information should contact Ed Campbell at 722-8286 . . .  The area golf scene lost one of its most popular figures last week with the passing of Rick LaBove. As most golfers are aware by now, LaBove’s family has requested donations be made in The First Tee of the Golden Triangle, in lieu of flowers. First Tee Executive Director Jerry Honza was deeply appreciative of the gesture. “Rick was a fixture in the golfing community in Southeast Texas,” said Honza. “His family’s decision to funnel donations to The First Tee will perpetuate his memory and insure  his impact on the area golf scene will continue to be felt for years to come.” Those donations, by the way, should be addressed to The First Tee of the Golden Triangle, 6760 9th Ave., Port Arthur, Texas, 77642 . . . Monday’s Senior 50 Plus Game at Babe Zaharias was played in a 2-ball format, with the team of Jim Jordan, Harry Green, J. Childree and David Allen winning the front in minus 6. On the back, the team of R.C. Russell, Paul Duplantis, Lee Bertrand and Pete Reobroi prevailed with minus 2 . . . The Super Saturday Game at the Babe was also played in a 2-ball format. On the front, the team of Tony Trevino, Cole Lee, Larry Johnson and Charles Leard matched the minus 4 total of Paul Flores, Troy Touchet, John Fong and Dan Flood. On the back, the Trevino team won with minus 3 . . . The Senior Game at the Babe played best ball on the front and scramble on the back. First Flight was won by the duo of Ed Delk-Cap Hollier at minus 5. In Second Flight, there was a three-way tie at minus 1 between Charles Leard-Paul Duplantis, Bob Byerly-Orland Defrates and Charlie Huckaby-Jim Cooper. Third Flight was won at minus 1 by the team of Bob Lloyd-Jack Wilson. Closest to the pin winners were Ron Overstreet (No. 2), Rick Pritchett (No. 7), Eddie Delk (No. 12) and Jim Cooper (No. 15) . . . Ed Boone finished plus 2 to win the Monday Seniors at Belle Oaks by one point over Norm Shannon. Ron Somerville was closest to the pin winner on No. 15. In the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks, Twyman Ash took first place at plus 4. Raymond Rice was second at 0. There was no closest to the pin winner.

Golf news should be e-mailed to or faxed to 724-6854.