, Port Arthur, Texas

Bob West

December 17, 2013

West golf column: Van der Walt adds another feather for Lamar exes

PORT ARTHUR — Dawie van der Walt has added an impressive closing chapter to the sensational 2013 season enjoyed by former Lamar University golfers. With a closing 66 last Saturday, Van der Walt won the European Tour’s Nelson Mandela Championship in Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, finishing with a 15-under total of 195 in an event shortened to 54 holes by weather.

    It was Dawie’s second win on the European Tour this year and earned him $290,000.  As a South African, it was an extra special victory for the LU ex.

    “It’s making you kind of a part of history, winning the Nelson Mandela at this time when it’s sad for everyone and everyone’s mourning and tomorrow’s the big day,” he said, in reference to Mandela’s state funeral on Sunday. “It obviously means a lot and can be something that I can keep close to my heart forever.”

    Van der Walt, who earlier in the year had won the Tshwane Open, got himself in position to win by firing an 8-under-par 62 in the second round. It looked like things might be slipping away after three Saturday bogeys, but he regained control with an eagle on the 12th hole and a birdie at 13.

    With the victory, Van der Walt jumped from 337 to 197 in the World Golf Rankings. In addition to the first place check, he was presented a trophy with an image of Mandela surrounded by children. He also won a painting signed by South Africa’s most famous individual.

    Oliver Bekker, another Lamar ex from South Africa, finished fifth in the tournament.

    Other 2013 accomplishments by Lamar golfers included a second, two thirds and three other top 10 finishes by Chris Stroud and a T7 by Shawn Stefani in PGA Tour events. Stroud earned a personal best $1,602,000 and climbed to an all-time high 80th in the Official World Golf Rankings. Stefani became the best player to make a hole in on Merion’s 17th hole in a U.S. Open.

    John Riegger, who played at Lamar in the mid 1980s, won the Champions Tour’s Boeing Classic, had three top 10s and collected $567,857 in official money. He finished 25th on the Champions Tour money list to qualify for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup.

    Also, LU golf coach Brian White earned considerable notoriety for helping struggling D.A. Points turned his season around with a putting lesson two days before the Shell Houston Open. Points promptly won the SHO and went on to earn $2,658,887. He now has White on retainer as his putting coach.

    CHIP SHOTS: Nederland freshman Michael Krautz didn’t have to wait long to produce an encore for his first hole in one recorded in October at Babe Zaharias. Krautz bagged his second ace Friday on the 157-yard, second hole at The Babe. He used a 6-iron. The shot was witnessed by Brice Perryman . . . Garrett Green, who plays on the Hardin-Jefferson golf team, scored a hole in one on Dec. 5 at Bayou Din. Green, who was playing in West Brook’s tournament, used a 7-iron from 140-yards on the 17th hole of the Bayou Back. Witnesses were Christian Roe, Bryant Hardy, Ty Morgan and Chris McDermond  . . . Ralf Barbaso of Port Arthur fired a 77 Saturday to win Boys 16-18 in The First Tee of the Golden Triangle Fall Finish tourney at Bayou Din. Thaine Tillie, Hunter Huff and Brandon Soileau tied for second with 80s. Other flight winners included Josh Elmore (83 in Boys 14-15), Karlei Hemler (84 in Girls 16-18), Kelsey Dukes (119 in Girls 12-13) and Micah DePew (57 in Co-ed 7-11, 9 holes) . . . Cap Hollier of Groves carded his best ever round of 72 on Dec. 2 at Babe Zaharias. Hollier rolled in five birdies on his way to nines of 36-36. His playing companions were Cole Lee, Charlie Huckaby and John House . . . The Senior 50 Plus Game at Babe Zaharias was played in a best 2-ball format. On the front, the team of Earl Richard, Butch Cross, Walter Colvin and Gene Hardy won with minus 4. On the back, the Richard team tied at even par with teams captained by Tim Turner, Jim Mercer and Richard Briggs . . . The team of Thad Borne, Cap Hollier, Ivory Hatch and Harry Green finished minus 17 to win the Dec. 11 DogFight at Babe Zaharias. Second at minus 14 was the foursome of Rick Pritchett, Don MacNeil, Roger Koch and Bill Draughon. Closest to the pin winners were MacNeil (No. 2) and Larry Thompson (No. 12) . . . In the Dec. 4 DogFight at Zaharias, there was a two-way tie between the team of Jim Jordan, Troy Sedatole, Gene Noble and Larry Rogers and the team of Adam Noel, Bill Hanley, Richard Sibley and Dan Flood. Both finished minus 17. Closest to the pin winners were Noel (No. 2), Bill Hernandez (No. 7, No. 12) and Pritchett (No. 15) . . . The Dec. 14 Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a best 2-ball format. The team of Larry Stansbury, Cap Hollier and Ryan Thompson swept both nines, winning the front at minus 3 and the back at even . . . The Dec. 12 Senior Game at The Babe was played in net individual stroke play. David English won First Flight with a 70, besting Rick Pritchett and Don MacNeil by three strokes. Roger Koch took Second Flight with a 72, finishing two clear of Bob Moore and Harold Wilkinson. Closest to the pin winners were Pritchett (No. 2, 15), Hollier (No. 7) and Harry Green (No. 12) . . . The Dec. 5 Senior Game at The Babe was played in a 4-person scramble format, with the foursome of Tony Trevino, Roger Baumer, Paul Duplantis and Larry Vicknair shooting a 59 to finish first. There was a tie at 61 between the team of Pritchett, Green, Joe Cormier and Joe Benoit and the fivesome of Gerald Huebel, MacNeil, Pat Waite, Ron Theriot and Dwayne Morrison. Closest to the pin winners were Bill Hanley (No. 2), Pritchett (No. 7), Bill Fears (No. 12) and Joe Gongora (No. 15) . . . The Dec. 3 DogFight at Bayou Din was won with 18 points by the team of Danny Peddy, Rodney Christman, Don Smith and John Denton. Second at 14 points was the foursome of Cecil Norris, Cole Lee, Steve Childree and David Sturgal. Closest to the pin winners were Don Smith (No. 2), Mike Kibodeaux (No. 7), Smith (No. 11) and Roland Burris (No. 17) . . . Bill Taylor and Jim Brown tied for first in the Monday Seniors at Belle Oaks with plus 3. Rufus Mier and Major Rising tied for second at even. Bill Worsham won closest to the pin on No. 15. In the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks, Mier and Rising tied for first at minus two. Worsham was third at minus 6.

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Bob West