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WEST ON GOLF: Veillon’s ace also an albatross

Moreso than 99 percent of golfers who get to celebrate a first hole-in-one, John Veillon of Port Arthur has good reason to trumpet the amazing ace he recently authored.
Veillon’s ace, you see, was so much more than simply sinking his tee shot. That’s because it came on a 4-par hole, not the standard par 3. Thus his hole-in-one also goes down as an extremely rare albatross/double eagle. For icing on the cake, it helped him shoot 71, which also happens to be his age.
It all transpired last Friday at Babe Zaharias. With Joe Cormier and Joe Benoit looking on, Veillon teed up his driver from the red senior markers on the 291-yard, fourth hole. Solid contract resulted in a low, screaming shot that never wavered on its straight line toward the distant flagstick.
Though Cormier said said the shot looked like it was on the green, nobody in the threesome saw the ball roll into the cup. In fact, Veillon thought it had rolled off the green and spent a minute or two searching.
“When I was looking for the ball, Joe said he thought it was in the cup,” Veillon said. “I told I didn’t think so, then I asked him to check it out for me. He said, ‘no, you need to look.’ Finally I walked up and there it was. I said, ‘it’s in the hole.’ I couldn’t believe it.”
Veillon went on to shoot 33 on the front and 38 on the back, before heading to Vidor for Port Neches-Groves’ football game. Once at the stadium, he quickly sought out his son and grandsons to excitedly tell them what had happened.
“It’s my all-time highlight,” he said. “I have made seven eagles by holing out from the fairway, but never a hole in one. I used to hit the ball real good and was a pretty good player, but I fooled with my swing too much over the years. That one was as flush as any shot I’ve ever hit. I caught it in the sweet spot.”
It was appropriate the shot he’ll never forget came at Zaharias. Veillon has worked odd jobs there for head pro Ed Campbell since he retired. Of late, the long time Port Arthuran from Ville Platte, Louisiana, is at the golf course Monday through Friday moving carts over from the storage barn.
Next time you see John at the Babe, give him a high five. He’s done something less than one percent of all golfers, pros included, can say they accomplished.

CHIP SHOTS

Tough luck for PN-G ex Andrew Landry in his first regular start on the PGA Tour.

Landry opened with a two-under-par 70 last Thursday at the Sanderson Farms Open in Jackson, Miss., a score which left him well positioned to make a cut which would fall at 3-under. Torrential rains, however, forced Landry to wait until early Sunday morning to play his second round. Thanks to a costly double bogey on a back-nine par 5, he shot 73 and missed the cut by two shots.

Lamar ex Dawie van der Walt, meanwhile, finished tied for 33rd at 9-under-par 279. Both are playing again this week at the OHL Championship in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. …

Chris Stroud, after finishing T10 and T38 in his first two starts of the 2015-16 season, returns to the tour this week. Past performances in the OHL bode well. Stroud’s last four starts there include three top-fives.

He was outright fourth in 2011, T5 in 2012, T3 when the tourney moved from the spring to the fall as part of the 2013-14 schedule and T23 last year. Thirteen of his last 16 rounds in the OHL have resulted in a score under 70. …

The team of Jim Mercer, Raymond Darbonne, E.T. Robicheaux and a ghost fourth player won the Babe Zaharias DogFight with 16 points. Second with 14 points was the foursome of Rodney Christman, Lee Bertrand, David Sturgal and Allen Suire. Closest to the pin winners were Dillard Darbonne, (No. 2), Dale Richey (No. 7), Jim Mercer (No. 12) and Adam Noel (No. 15). …

The Senior Game at The Babe was played in a select drive, all points count format. Tying for first at plus-15 was the team of Noel, Harold Wilkinson, Pete Reobroi and Gene Hardy and the foursome of Craig Geoffroy, Ben Thornton, Bob Moore and Harry Green. Closest to the pin winners were Jim Jordan (No. 2, No. 12), Mark Petry (No. 7) and Jim Burden (No. 15). …

The Senior 50 Plus Game at The Babe was played in a best two ball format. On the front, the team of Tony Trevino, Butch Cross, Tom LeTourneau and Paul Duplantis won with minus-2. The back was claimed in minus-1 by the foursome of Noel, Larry Johnson, John House and Dan Flood.

Golf news should be emailed to rdwest@usa.net