, Port Arthur, Texas


March 4, 2014

West golf notepad: McIlory, Mickelson top SHO early entries

PORT ARTHUR — Tuesday brought another storm, another day when Southeast Texas golf courses didn’t open and another week of playing in slop after the weather finally warms up again. For the record, Monday and Tuesday were the 13th and 14 days in 2014 that Babe Zaharias head pro Ed Campbell hasn’t opened the doors. All too often when he is able to open, conditions are not conducive to enjoyable golf. “As I said earlier, this is the worst winter I can’t remember,” Campbell said, while watching rain pelt down as the temperature struggle to get out of the 30s . . . One event that did take place was last weekend’s 4A Regional Preview tournament at rugged River Ridge near Sealy. A new site for regional, after years at Raven’s Nest near Huntsville, River Ridge in gusty conditions proved to tough for all but a handful of players. PN-G’s junior star Braden Bailey shot one-over-par 143 (72-71) to finish as the runner-up in medal play to Huntsville standout Chandler Phillips. Phillips fired back-to-back rounds of 70 for a two-under 140. Bailey was the only PN-G player to break 80 either day, as the Indians finished in a tie for fourth at 647 with Huntsville and Stratford. Other PN-G scores were Brandon Soileau’s 162 (82-80), Bradley Stone’s 170 (84-86) and Cameron Keith’s 174 (88-86). Tyler Rawson’s 182 (86-96) didn’t count. Nederland, on the strength of solid play from Michael Glover 154 (76-78), Thaine Tillie (76-78) and Hunter Huff (76-81) placed 8th at 654. Nederland’s fourth score was Cole Trevino’s 174 (85-89). Michael Krautz’ 175 (88-87) didn’t count. Bailey, by the way, is now on UCLA’s recruting radar. Derek Freeman, head coach of the California school, sent an saying the Bruins are interested, if he’s considering leaving Texas . . . Believe it or not, several area girls teams played a tournament Monday in Monday’s bone-chilling cold at Wildwood. Well, part of a tournament. Weather suspended play after nine holes, with LC-M winning. Because not all players played the same holes, scoring was determined by strokes over par. LC-M’s Lauren Cox was medalist, with PN-G’s Karlei Hemler second . . . Getting this in print is a bit delayed, but Nederland’s Butch Frazier record a hole-in-one on the 132-yard, 8th on the Links Nine at Bayou Din on Feb. 20. Frazier used an 8-iron for a shot witnessed by Pat Voight, Beau Graffagnino and Larry Voight . . . The Bayou Din DogFight on Feb. 18 was won with 18 points by the team of J.R. Humble, Randy Becker, Don Smith and Art Miller. Closest to the hole winners were Humble (No. 2), Steve Picou (No 7) and Charles Huckaby (No. 17) . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a 2-ball format. On the front, the team of Paul Flores, Raymond Darbonne, Charlie Huckaby and Dan Flood tied with the foursome of Rick Brunner, Gene Rountree, Harrell Guidry and Harold Wilkinson. The back was won in minus four by the team of Tony Trevino, Larry Johnson, Charles Leard and Glen Marino . . . Chris Stroud was the beneficiary of numerous back nine collapses Sunday in the Honda Classic. Stroud, who had dropped into a T42 after shooting 73 Saturday, posted a 70 on Sunday and was T25 when he signed his scorecard. Two hours later, with player after player stumbling on the incoming nine, Stroud was all the way up to T12 and in line for a $94,800 payday. He moved up one spot on the money list from 24 to 23, one place in Fed Ex points from 26 to 25 and five notches in the Official World Golf Rankings from 86 to 81. Because he’s not ranked high enough in the OWGR, Stroud isn’t eligible to play in this week’s  WGC Cadillac Championship at Doral in Miami, so he’s flying to San Juan to compete  in the PGA Tour’s Puerto Rico Open . . . Big name commitments are starting to roll in for the April 3-6 Shell Houston Open, which is back to leading into the Masters. Highest ranked player to date who’s in is No. 6 Rory McIlroy. Also headed to the Golf Club of Houston (formerly Redstone Golf Club) are No. 9 Sergio Garcia, No. 10 Dustin Johnson, No. 13 Steve Stricker, No. 26 Keegan Bradley, No. 32 Hunter Mahan and former major winners Stewart Cink, Davis Love III, Lucas Glover, Darren Clarke and Padraig Harrington. Long-time Houston favorite Fred Couples, who was extended a sponsor exemption, will also be in the field. It isn’t official yet but Phil Mickelson, who won the SHO in 2011, has indicated he intends to warm up for the Masters by playing in Houston . . .

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