, Port Arthur, Texas


June 12, 2012

AREA GOLF NOTEPAD: Fleckman, Fetters delivered U.S. Open thrills


    If it’s U.S. Open week, it’s time to refresh memories on the accomplishments of the two best players to come out of Port Arthur. Marty Fleckman, an amateur just out of the University of Houston, led the 1967 U.S. Open at Baltusrol in New Jersey after the first and third rounds. A final round 80 left Fleckman tied for 18th, but the fact Jack Nicklaus had to overcome a 23-year-old amateur in the final round of a U.S. Open will always be an amazing story that needs to be kept alive for younger generations of golfers in Southeast Texas. The other great U.S. Open story with PA ties is Jimmy Fetters. As the head pro at Port Arthur Country Club, Fetters made his way through local and sectional qualifying to earn a slot in the 1977 Open at Denver’s Cherry Hills Country Club. Jimmy didn’t make the cut, but he overcame tremendous odds to earn a place in the field . . . PN-G’s talented sophomore-to-be, Braden Bailey, received great news on a couple of fronts recently. No. 1, Braden is one of 24 juniors from The First Tee network who has qualified for and been accepted into the 2012 Advanced Player Academy set for July 10 through July 17 in Dallas. No. 2, he’ll be following in the footsteps of Nederland’s Felicia Sauceda in playing in the Champions Tour’s Nature Valley First Tee Open the week of July 2 at Pebble Beach. Another member of the First Tee of The Golden Triangle, Drake Mosley of Devers, has also been selected to participate. Bailey and Devers will be paired with a Champions Tour players in a pro-am format over Pebble Beach and Del Monte Country Club for 36 holes, then get an additional round at Pebble Beach if their teams are in the top 22 in the field . . .  Sauceda, who played in the Pebble Beach tournament the past two years, will be headed to New York for her special event this summer. The senior-to-be at Nederland is one of 96 juniors across the U.S. to have  qualified for The First Tee’s 2012 Life Skills and Leadership Academy in Long Island, N.Y. . . . Most of the best golfers in Southeast Texas, and some really good ones from outside the area, will be teeing it up Thursday through Sunday in Silsbee’s MGA Invitational. The tournament, which has built quite a reputation over the years, boasts a full field of 144 players, and a impressive championship flight with a $10,000 purse and a $3,000 first prize. Among the pros participating are former Lamar stars Dawie Van der Walt, M.J. Daffue, Arkansas ex Andrew Landry, Hamshire-Fannett ex Joran (Red Dog) Meeks, who is now a teaching pro at Redstone Golf Club, former Oklahoma standout Kelsey Cline and handful of players from the Adams Tour . . . Chris Stroud is now the father of a second daughter after wife Tiffany gave berth to Harper Stroud, who came into the world Monday at 8 pounds, 10 ounces . . . Golfers looking for a late Father’s Day gift, or wanting to upgrade their equipment, should try to stop by Games People Play Friday afternoon. It’s hosting a Father’s Demo Day sponsored by Cobra PUMA from noon to 6 p.m. Most of the major brands will be there with eqiupment to test, there will be a drawing to compete in a 100-yard closest-to-the-hole contest to win four tickets to the 2012 U.S. Open, free short-game clinics are being offered and you can have your swing analzyed on TrackMan fitting systems . . .   Add former Port Arthuran Bennie Herrin to that list of ageless golfers who have scored under the number of candles on their birthday cake. The 91-year-old Herrin, a resident of Bryan, recent fired an 88 at Bryan’s Municipal Course. Breaking his age isn’t unusual for Herrin who did it the first time when he was 84. He’s remembered here as Superintendent of Gas and Heavy Chemicals at the Gulf Oil refinery from where he retired in 1982 . . . Former PN-G star Trent Boudoin, who recently helped the University of Texas-Tyler win the American Southwest Conference championship, has been named to the NCAA Division III 2012 Ping All-West Region Team by the Golf Coaches Association of America . . . The foursome of Cody Metts, Alec Bruney, Michael Lange and Trent Hanley combined for a 15-under-par 57 to win the Eagles No. 3743 Scramble at Babe Zaharias. Placing second with a 58 was the team of Roy Martinez, Pete Chauvan, Larry Reese and Matt Martin. Closest to the pin winners were Bruney (No. 7) and Judd Barron (No. 15). Ron Lafleur won the long drive on both No. 9 and No. 13 . . . The team of Joe Gongora, Adam Noel, Dickie Robinson and Jim Cooper finished 21&13 to win the Babe Zaharias DogFight. Placing second at 20&5 was the team of Craig Fontenot, Rick Pritchett, Butch Landry and Steve Childree. Closest to the pin winners were Fontenot (No. 2), Robinson (No. 7), Hollis Whorton (No. 12) and Cooper (No. 15) . . . Format for the Senior Game at The Babe was two-best balls. On the front, the team of Tony Trevino, Joe Benoit, Stedman Tahaney and Bernie Johnson won with minus 1. On the back, there was a tie at plus 1 between the team of Larry Thompson, Bob Byerly, Ted Estes and Ned Cole and the foursome of Bill Fears, Mark Petry, Bill Jones and Art Spencer. Closest to the pin winners were Jim Jordan (No. 2), Sam Loycano (No. 7), Larry Rogers (No. 12) and Rick Pritchett (No. 15) . . . The Patch Seniors 50 Plus game was played in a two-ball format, with the team of Jimmy Fetters, Ron Theriot, Cap Hollier and Larry Thompson winning the front at minus 7. Minus 7 was also the winning number on the back for the team of Wadsworth Thompson, R.J. Simon, Don McNeil and David Guarnere . . . Norm Shannon finished plus 3 to win the Monday Seniors at Belle Oaks. Ron Somerville was second at plus 1, while Barry Jackson and Ronnie Plessala tied for third at 0. Closest to the pin winners were Shannon (No. 8) and Twyman Ash (No. 15). In the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks, Ralph Childress won with plus 4. Somerville and Jim Brown tied for second at 0. Gene Jones was the closest to the pin winner on No. 15 . . . The Super Saturday Game at Babe Zaharias was played in a two-ball format. Larry Thompson, Jim Jordan, Larry Johnson and Chuck Huckaby teamed for minus 2 to win the front. On the back, there was a tie at minus 3 between the Thompson team and the foursome of Tony Trevino, Gene Rountree, Dan Flood and Alex Espinosa.

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