PORT ARTHUR —
It’s now or never for Lamar University ex Shawn Stefani, as far as being able to keep his PGA Tour card for next year. And, unfortunately, he’s saddled with a back problem that forced him to withdraw the last time he tried to play in the July 11-14 John Deere Classic.
Under the PGA Tour’s revised format, this week’s Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C., is the final event of the 2013 season. Any player not in the top 125 on the money list or the Fed Ex Cup points list after the Wyndham must spend next season on the Web.com Tour.
Stefani stands No. 134 on the money list ($496,543) and No. 136 on Fed Ex Cup points. His best shot is the money list, but he’s roughly $87,000 behind No. 125 Greg Chalmers. That means he’ll need to finish in the top 10.
When healthy, the long knocker from Barbers Hill is capable of doing that, since there are already two top 10s on the resume for his rookie season. He finished T7 at Tampa and T7 at the St. Jude’s Classic in Memphis. Overall, he’s made 10 of 19 cuts and five of the last six.
While it didn’t make him any serious money, the highlight of Stefani’s season was a hole-in-one on the 17th at Merion in the final round of the U.S. Open. It earned him the distinction of being the only player to make an ace in five U.S. Opens at Merion.
The lowlight, meanwhile, is a herniated disc that couldn’t have happened at a worse time.
For those not familiar with the PGA Tour’s format change, there is no longer a PGA Tour school offering playing cards to the top 25 finishers. Tour cards for the next season are now determined by the PGA Tour and Web.com money lists.
Each new season will open in early October and go through mid August. The 2013-14 season kicks off Oct. 7 with the Fry’s.com Open in San Martin, Calif. There will be five other fall tournaments, concluding with the OHL Mayakoba Classic in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
One of the intriguing questions about the new format is how many of the game’s top players will participate in the fall events. Historically, most of the game’s big names pretty much pack it in after the Fed Ex Cup, save for unofficial tournaments that are part of the so-called “silly season.”
CHIP SHOTS: George Broussard of Port Arthur continued the recent run of holes in one at Bayou Din. Broussard sank his tee shot on the 136-yard, 8th on the Links Course, using a 6-iron. The shot was witnessed by Gary Richardson, Jimmy Dubois and John Parent. It was Broussard’s first ace . . . Tim Cauthen also authored a first at Bayou Din, getting his first-ever eagle on the par 4, 15th. Cauthen hit a towering 9-iron over trees and into the cup on his second shot. Looking on were Roy Vickers and Steve Childree . . . Thad Borne of Port Arthur made an eagle 2 on the par 4, 4th hole at Babe Zaharias. Borne holed a wedge from 80 yards. Witnesses were Tom Lawton, Ricky Becker and Bill Hanley . . . LU ex Chris Stroud was disappointed at missing the cut by one shot in last week’s PGA Championship, but was not unhappy with the way he played. Stroud had the misfortune of being on the wrong side of the draw and had to play in the worst of the rain on Friday, leading to a 73. The good news was that he had no problems with a previously injured left heel. Since he only got in two rounds at the PGA, Stroud will play in this week’s Wyndham Championship to tune up for next week’s start of the Fed Ex Cup playoffs . . . Lonnie LaBove, who played a key role in PN-G’s domination of the area golf scene, and back-to-back trips to the 4A state championship, has turned pro. He’ll make his debut in the play for pay ranks in the Sept. 17-20 Adams Tour stop at Rayburn Country. He’ll also play in the Adams Tour event at Gray Plantation in early October. Lonnie is the son of Josh LaBove . . . Twelve participants from the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour in Southeast Texas have qualified for the STPGA Junior Chamionship starting today at Cypresswood Golf Club’s Tradition Course. Included are Brandon Soileau, Thaine Tillie, Cameron Duhon and Jarrod Brown from Boys 16-18, Michael Krautz, Seth Morgan, Bryce Shaver and Drake Dodson from Boys 13-15, Collin Todora from Boys 10-12 and Jack Burke and Collin Lietzke from Little Linksters Boys 10-12 . . . Babe Zaharias pro Ed Campbell, who can’t be given enough credit for all he did to make the recent fundraiser for Belle Oaks pro Bryan Jackson so successful, has revised upward the event’s bottom line. After originally saying $20,000 had been raised toward Jackson’s medical bills, Campbell said Tuesday the figure will top $25,000. Campbell also threw out a bouquet toward committee member Darlene Moody for her efforts in several areas. “Darlene was amazing,” said Campbell. “She was more help to me than anybody I’ve ever had working with me on a tournament since I’ve been in the golf business.” From what I saw, Ed was not exaggerating . . . The team of Ed Hetzel, Ray Trahan, Bobby Shelton and Paul Bourgeois posted 21 points to win the Babe Zaharias DogFight. Second with 24 points was the team of Cody Metts, Paul Duplantis, Larry Rogers and Paul Brown. Closest to the pin winners were Brown (No. 2), Jim Smith (No. 7), Metts (No. 12) and Hetzel (No. 15) . . . The team of Seth Cochran, Josh Crum, Greg Cockram and Asa Cardenas shot a 56, then needed a scorecard player to win the Clint Wasser Memorial Scramble at Babe Zaharias. Also shooting 56 was the team of Charles Graves, Wes Turner, Taylor Reese and Dustin Brown and the foursome of Jordan Havard, Brent Guidry, Jordan Leger and Matt Hendon . . . The team of Jim Jordan, R. Darbonne, Roger Baumer and Gary Anderson posted minus 5 to win the front nine in the Senior 50 Plus Game at Babe Zaharias. On the back, the foursome of Larry Thompson, Butch Pitman, Paul Duplantis and Ben Thornton prevailed with minus 6 . . . The Senior Game at The Babe was played in a four-person points format. Winning with plus 1 was the team of Don MacNeil, Keith Rochau, Malcom Tiller and Pete Reobroi. Second at plus 2 was the foursome of Wes McDonald, Gene Hardy, Ben Thornton and Roger Baumer. Closest to the pin winners were Rick Pritchett (No. 2), Hardy (No. 7), Bill Jones (No. 12) and Dickie Robinson (No. 15) . . .The Super Saturday Game at Zaharias was played in a 2-ball format, with the team of Randy Monk, Scottie Ray, Don MacNeil and Dan Flood winning the front in minus 8. On the back, the team of Rick Brunner, Rick Pritchett, Ivory Hatch and Mark Petry won with minus 5 . . . Bill Worsham was the winner in both the Monday Seniors at Belle Oaks and the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks, finishing with plus 3 both days. In the Monday Game, Norm Shannon, Dennis Neef and Ed Boone tied for second at plus 2. On Friday, Twyman Ash tied Worsham’s plus 3, while Barry Jackson was third at plus 1. Shannon was the closest to the pin winner on No. 15 on Monday and on No. 8 on Friday . . . Entry deadline for the 54th annual Sunset Grove Labor Day Tournament, which is 54 holes of stroke play, is Aug. 23. Entry fee is $180 for medal point and points flights and $130 for Senior and Ladies play. Included in the entry is a free practice round up until 1 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30. Cart fee for players in the medal and points flights is $50. Seniors and ladies pay $35. Anyone seeking further information should contact Sunset Grove pro Kerry Lamb at 883-9454.
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