PORT ARTHUR —
With an eye on the Aug. 9-12 PGA Championship to be played over the Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, Chris Stroud has changed his mind about skipping this week’s Tiger Woods-hosted AT&T Championship at Congressional Country Club outside Washington D.C.
Stroud, after a strong finish in the Traveler’s Championship last weekend, moved up to 67th in Fed Ex Cup points. Other than winning a tournament, the only way he can get into the PGA Championship is to be in the top 70 in Fed Ex points after the July 26-29 Canadian Open.
A good week in the AT&T would go a long way toward getting him into the PGA on points. He feels that could happen, after shooting 69-67 on the weekend at the Traveler’s. He was on the verge of going really low after making six birdies enroute to a front nine 31 on Sunday, but managed only one more birdie against two bogeys on the back.
After battling to make both the 36 and 54-hole cuts, Stroud finished 37th, earned $24,000 and climbed from 71 to 67 in Fed Ex Cup points. With the situation at home improving with his wife and new daughter, he felt like he needed to keep playing. He also plans to play in next week’s Greenbrier Classic in West Virginia.
Given that the D.C. area is in the midst of a heat wave, with temperatures projected to be higher there than in Houston, Chris got a huge break with his first-round tee time on Thursday. He’ll go off in the third group on No. 1 at 7:36 a.m. EST, and figures to be done before the heat gets oppressive.
Congressional Country Club, of course, is where Rory McElroy destroyed par on the way to winning the U.S. Open by eight strokes last June on a course softened by rain. With hotter, drier weather this year, Congressional is expected to play much tougher.
Woods, coming off a disappointing weekend two weeks ago in the U.S. Open at Olympic, headlines the field.
CHIP SHOTS: Braden Bailey warmed up for the golf trip and golfing experience of a lifetime by shooting a 73 Monday at Beaumont Country Club to win Boys 16-18 by six shots in the Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour event. Bailey, now ranked No. 8 in Texas in the Class of 2015, goes back to BCC Thursday to try and qualify for the state junior championship at Horseshoe Bay. After that, he and the Bailey clan depart on Sunday for Pebble Beach where Braden will be playing in the Champions Tour’s July 6-8 Nature Valley First Tee Open. He’ll be paired with a Champions Tour player in a best ball format, with one round at Pebble Beach and the other over Del Monte Country Club. If he and his partner are in the top 22 after 36 holes, it’s back to Pebble Beach for a closing round on Sunday. Bailey also gets early week practice rounds at Pebble and Del Monte. It’s a trip Nederland’s Felicia Sauceda made the past two years and she’s given Braden tips on the golf courses and advice on being prepared for much cooler weather. After Pebble Beach, Bailey comes home, re-packs and heads out for a week at The First Tee’s Advanced Junior Academy in Dallas . . . Other flight winners in the STPGA Junior tourney at BCC on Monday included Sauceda (79 in Girls 16-18), Tyler Ford (73 in Boys 13-15), Karlei Hemler (84 in Girls 13-15) and Peyton Weems (90 in Boys 10-12) . . . Bill Wosrham finished plus 6 to win the Monday Seniors at Belle Oaks. Major Rising was second with plus 5, followed by Ron Somerville and Ronnie Plessela at plus 3. In the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks, Bill Taylor won with plus 2, with Ed Boone and Gene Jones tied for second at plus 1. Ralph Childress (No. 8) and Bill Taylor (No. 15) were closest to the pin winners . . . The Patch 50 Plus Senior Game was played in a two best ball format. On the front nine, there was a tie at minus 3 between the foursome of Dennis Walsh, Ron Theriot, Cap Hollier and E. Richard and the team of Charles Cooksey, Richard McClelland, Gary Fontenot and Glen Frederick. The back nine was won in minus 7 by the team of Tom Prejean, Don MacNeil, Wes McGuire and J. Tompkins . . . The Babe Zaharias Saturday Game was played in a team two ball format. On the front, the team of Gene Jones, Adam Noel, Jim Cooper and Mark Petry won with minus 6. The foursome of Bill Hammond, Bret Yellot, Brian Grant and L.J. Hardy took the back in minus 1 . . . The team of Cody Metts, Troy Touchet, Don Duplan and Jimmy Payne finished 16&5 to win the Babe Zaharias DogFight. Placing second at 15&3 was the team of Tom Lawton, Rick Pritchett, Jim Cooper and Rodney Christman. Closest to the pin winners were Billy Tillet (No. 2), Brian Grant (No. 7), Cole Lee (No. 12) and Bob Moore (No. 15) . . . The Senior Game at The Babe was played in a two-person scramble. Rick Pritchett-Harry Green won the First Flight in minus 8, with Jim Jordan-Mark Petry second at minus 4. There was a tie at plus 1 in Second Flight between Guy Vancleave-Bill Jones and E.T. Robicheaux-Robert Lynch. In Third Flight, Paul Duplantis-Bob Lloyd won with plus 3. Stedman Tahaney-Dwain Morrison finished second at plus 5. Closest to the pin winners were Robicheaux (No. 2), Bill Fears (No. 7), Jim Cooper (No. 7) and Roger Baumer (No. 15).
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PORT ARTHUR —
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