The Port Arthur News
SEALY — Round one of the Region III, Class 4A golf tournament proved to memorable for the Bailey family Tuesday. It was also noteworthy for LC-M’s Lauren Cox and PN-G’s Karlei Hemler.
With contestants facing frigid conditions when play began at River Ridge Golf Club, PN-G’s junior star Braden Bailey started with a birdie and went on to post the day’s low round of 71. That was good for a two-shot lead over Montgomery’s Cameron Holzshu and Friendswood’s Bryce Dooley, and kept the Indians within striking distance of a return trip to the state tournament.
Bailey’s sister Brynna, meanwhile, carded her best ever competitive round of 82, a number matched by fellow PN-G freshman, Karlei Hemler. That left them tied for 15th, nine behind the 73 fired by Maryssa Ferries of Tomball and eight back of Cox’s 74. Cox, who is in a three-way tie for second, is trying to make it to state competing as an individual.
PN-G’s boys, after a shaky start that saw them make four triple bogeys on the first five holes, rallied behind Bailey to finish in fourth place at 320. Friendswood is the leader at 312, followed by George Ranch at 313 and Montgomery at 314. The top three teams advance to state after today’s final 18 holes.
Next to Bailey, the key player for getting PN-G into the contention was Brandon Soileau. After making triple bogeys on No. 1 and No. 4, and being eight over after four holes, Soileau played his final 14 holes in two over for an impressive 81. Tyler Rawson and Bradley Stone added 84s for the Indians.
The news wasn’t nearly as good for the Nederland boys. Michael Glover’s 82 was low for the Bulldogs who are ninth in the 16-team field at 340. Thaine Tillie shot 86, Cole Trevino finished at 88 and Hunter Huff had a 91 for the Bulldogs.
PN-G’s girls, despite the 82s by Brynna Bailey and Hemler, didn’t manage to get in contention for a trip to Austin. The Lady Indians were 7th at 371, well behind front-running Montgomery’s 316. Kingwood Park (323) and Huntsville (324) are second and third.
Bailey and Hemler, however, have an outside shot at going to state as individuals. The players with the best three scores not affiliated with the top three teams advance to state. The PN-G duo is three shots behind Ashlyn Hendricks of Barbers Hill for the final medalist spot.
Nederland’s girls, who beat PN-G by nine strokes for the District 20-4A title, didn’t fare well on day one, shooting a 405 that left them in 12th place. Reid Whaley’s 96 was the only sub 100 score for the Lady Bulldogs. Brittany Leatherwood shot 101, Reagan Bodin was at 103 and Deanna Rich had a 105.
Braden Bailey, who finished seventh at state last year and has since become one of the nation’s most heavily recruited juniors, was seemingly unfazed by a temperature of 38 and gusty winds out of the north when he teed off. Bailey rolled in three birdies to offset three bogeys and was never more than one over par.
After a tap-in birdie at the par 5, first hole, he reeled off seven straight pars before making a bogey at nine to turn in even par. On the back, he birdied the part 4, 11th, bogeyed the par 3, 12th and the par 4, 16th, then got back to even with a birdie on the par 5, 17th. — Bob West