WEST COLUMN: Crum defies massive odds on double eagles
By Bob West
News golf columnist
If Nederlander Joshua Crum isn’t buying lottery tickets, he should be. In addition, he probably needs to be spending time in the casinos in Lake Charles or perhaps heading to Las Vegas.
Crum, you see, is making a habit of bringing in the longest of long shots. In golf, that translates to scoring a double eagle or its kissing cousin — the albatross.
To bag an albatross, you either have to make a one on a par 4 or a two on a par 5.
How rare is such an accomplisment? Consider that a high percentage of PGA Tour players, probably more than 99 percent, have never made one. Most have never seen one.
A study, conducted between 1983 and 2003, showed that only 56 double eagles were authored on the PGA Tour during that 20-year-period. From 2004 until now, there have been 54. Astonishingly, two of those were made by Daniel Berger and Zach Johnson on back-to-back days this past March in the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill.
For an amateur, the odds on making a double eagle were once listed in Golf Magazine at 6-million-to-one. So along comes Crum to make a mockery of the odds. Within a 46-day span, he stunned himself and his playing partners by sinking not one but two double eagles.
The first landed on the par 5, 11th hole on June 7th at Henry Homberg Golf Club in Beaumont. Alabatross No. 2 became part of Crum’s golfing resume last Thursday (July 23) at Babe Zaharias. From 180 yards on the 510-yard, third hole, he sank a 7-iron. Witnesses were Jacob Richard and Holden Butler.
“It’s pretty amazing,” said Zaharias pro Ed Campbell. “Josh is a good player, but that’s believe-it-or- not type stuff. As long as I’ve been around golf, I’ve only seen two.”
CHIP SHOTS: When Lamar University named Kentucky assistant Jessie Mudd to replace Brian White as its golf coach last week, the name rang a bell with one former Cardinal standout. Groves’ Dennis Walsh, who helped the school then known as Lamar Tech win the NCAA College Division championship in the late 1960s, went head to head with Jessie’s uncle, Jodie Mudd, on the way to his signature achievement as an amateur. Walsh, in the 1978 U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship in Portland, Ore., defeated Mudd in the tourney semifinals before topping Eric Mork to win the title. Jodie Mudd would rebound to win the Public Links the next two years, before going on to a PGA Tour career that saw him hoist a championship trophy six times. Interestingly enough, Jodie’s brother, Eddie, had won the Public Links crown in 1976. Obviously, then, Jessie Mudd, who played college golf at Florida, brings impressive bloodlines to LU . . . Chris Stroud was probably kicking himself all the way back to Texas after missing the cut by one shot in the Canadian Open last week. Why? Because he made three bogeys in two days on par 5 holes that were red meat for many in the field. Stroud did go down with guns blazing, however, making eight birdies on Friday, including three on the final four holes. The former Lamar All-American narrowly missed an eagle putt for a 67 on the final hole that would have put him on the cut line. He’s playing in Tiger Woods’ Quicken Loans tourney this week, before taking some much needed time off. Despite missing his ninth cut in 24 starts this season, Chris dropped only two places to No. 91 in Fed Ex points . . . Former Beaumonter Anthony Broussard launched defense of his Texas State Open Championship Tuesday in Lewisville on the Lakes at Castle Hills. Though the 72-hole event doesn’t get as much attention as it once did, the prize money is significant. Broussard collected $25,000 after shooting rounds of 64-65-67-72 for a 20-under par 268 last year. PN-G ex Andrew Landry, by the way, placed seventh in the 2014 event before moving on to the Web.com Tour. Lee Trevino used the Texas State Open as a springboard to a Hall of Fame career with wins in 1965 and 1966. Other big name champions included Jack Burke Jr. in 1967, Ben Crenshaw in 1975, 1979 and 1980 and Jeff Maggert in 1990 and 1994. Lamar’s Shawn Stefani walked away with the top prize in 2011 . . . All three Web.com Tour players with area ties will be playing in this week’s event in Lehi, Utah. Landry goes in No. 13 on the money list, with Dawie van der Walt No. 14 and Michael Arnaud No. 68 . . . Nederland ex Shelbi Vincent, a junior-to-be at the University of Houston-Victoria, won the Women’s Division of the Victoria City Golf Championship last week. Vincent, in a tournament played over three Victoria courses, shot rounds of 77-82-79 for a 54-hole total of 238 to win by eight strokes . . . The team of David Evans, Cody Metts, Lee Bertrand and Charlie Huckaby posted 16 points to finish in a tie for first in the Babe Zaharias Dogfight with the foursome of Adam Noel, Ed Hetzel, Lee Bertrand and Charlie Huckaby. Closest to the hole winners were Cap Hollier (No. 2), Bob Byerly (No. 7), J. Cooper (No. 12) and Dan Flood (No. 15) . . . Brody Warner won Boys 15-18 in a playoff over Patrick DiMaggio after both shot 78 in the STPGA Junior Tour stop at Wildwood on Monday. Other flight winners included Karlei Hemler (75 in Girls 15-18), Jacob Borow (71 in Boys 13-14), Joe Penland III (105 in Boys 11-12), and Elizabeth Townsend (93 in Girls 13-14). Hemler’s victory was her third in eight days. She won the STPGA event at Brentwood last week with a 76, took first place in an STPGA Houston-area event at Kingwood Country Club on Wednesday with a 79, then won by 13 shots at Wildwood . . . The Thomas Jefferson High School Class of 1970 played a “Reunion Scramble” at Zaharias, with the team of Bill Ritchey, Clifford Daigle, Lowell Benoit and Phil Owens winning with a 62. Placing second with a 63 was the foursome of John Begnaud, Monty Parker, Steve Ritchey and Aaron Meaux . . .The Senior Game at The Babe was played in a 4 person, 2 ball, 6-6-6. On the front nine, the team of Jim Jordan, Larry Foster, Bob Frazier and Bernie Johnson finished minus 5 to tie with the team of Don MacNeil, Tom LeTourneau, Charlie Huckaby and Paul Brown. On the back, the foursome of Cap Hollier, Ron Mistrot, Jim Flowers and Dwain Morrison won with minus 5. Closest to the pin winners were Brown (No. 2, No. 7), Larry Stansbury (No. 12) and Jess McPhillips (No. 15) . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a 2 ball format, with the pairing of Lee Bertrand, Rick Pritchett, Larry Vicknair and Robert Lynch winning at minus 4. On the back, there was a tie at minus 2 between the team of Larry Thompson, Hollier, LeTourneau and Bobby Kimball and the foursome of Gerald Huebel, Bill Hammond, Jay Hampson and Mark Petry . . . The Senior 50 Plus Game at Zaharias was played in a two-ball format with the team of Pritchett, Jordan and Bob Byerly winning the front in minus 5. On the back, the foursome of Huebel, Raymond Darbonne, Larry Foster and Bud Auffurth won with minus 4. The 91-year-old Auffurth, who continues to defy Father Time, earned a special salute for his round in the mid 80s. Auffurth has long since lost count of how many times he’s posted a score lower than his age.