PORT ARTHUR —
HUNTSVILLE — Dating back to a year ago, when they finished a distant 7th in the Region 3, 4A tournament, the Port Neches-Groves golf team has worked and pointed toward playing well enough to place in the top two at regionals and earn trip to the state tournament in Austin.
It looks like drills with former Indian great Chris Stroud and extra practice rounds at regional site Raven Nest are paying off.
Jarrod Brown helped the Indians take a big step toward achieving their state goal during Wednesday’s opening regional round. Brown carded an even-par-71 as the PN-G “A” team fired a 301 total that’s only four shots off the lead of front-running Montgomery.
The 301 left PN-G two strokes ahead of Huntsville, seven clear of Clear Falls and eight shots in front of fifth place Magnolia West. The low two teams after Thursday’s final round advance to the state tourney.
“We played really steady golf all day,” said PN-G coach Ricky Keyes. “We’re in good position.”
Brown, who carded two birdies and two bogeys, wound up tied for the second lowest round of the day with Barrett Hennington of Clear Falls. They are one stroke behind Chandler Phillips of Huntsville. Four players were tied for third at 73 and another four, including PN-G’s Lonnie LaBove, were tied for eighth at 74.
In addition to Brown’s 71 and LaBove’s 74, PN-G got 78s from Tyler Rawson and Brandon Provost. Freshman Braden Bailey, the District 20-4A medalist, slipped to a 79 after making a quadruple bogey on the 16th hole.
PN-G’s “B” team, which finished second to the “A” team in District 20-4A, also made a strong showing. With 78s from Brandon Soileau and Jordan Corcoran leading the way, the “B” team stands seventh in the 14-team field with a 320.
Other “B” team scores included an 80 by Drake Hernandez and an 84 from Alex Fadhli-Theis. Deny McDaniel’s 89 did not count toward the team total.
To show how far the Indians have come in the past 12 months, the 301 posted by the “A” team Wednesday was 51 strokes better than in last year’s first round. Brown, alone, knocked 16 strokes off a round one 87.
PN-G’s “B” team score, meanwhile, was 49 shots ahead of its opening round of 2011. — Bob West
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