BOB WEST ON GOLF: Stroud builds confidence in Puerto Rico

Published 11:53 pm Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Could Sunday’s closing 68 in the Puerto Open be the confidence-boosting jump start Chris Stroud seemed to so desperately need heading into this week’s Shell Houston Open?

Those who have fretted over Stroud’s recent play — seven missed cuts in the previous nine tournaments — certainly hope so.

Though it was a basically pressure-free round on a windy Sunday afternoon, the result is sure to send the Port Neches-Groves ex into the home game on his schedule in high spirits. Stroud moved up 19 places to a tie for 26th, pocketed $20,416.67 and gave himself a chance to exhale.

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It won’t mean much if he doesn’t play well this week, but anyone who understands what momentum and confidence mean on the PGA Tour knows there is finally reason for hope and optimism. Stroud should also have good vibes at the Golf Club of Houston after finishing tied for 17th there last season.

Historically, with New Orleans, Colonial and the Players Championship ahead, this is a portion of the schedule in which Chris has delivered some of his better performances. Seeing as how he’s mired in 149th place in FedEx Cup points, and is well down the money list at $204,384, the timing is right to get on a roll.

Stroud will be one of three former Lamar players area fans can follow in the SHO. Shawn Stefani, who has been struggling as much as Chris, and Dawie van der Walt, are also in the field. PN-G ex Andrew Landry, although he did make the cut in Puerto Rico and finished tied for 57th, didn’t have a high enough number to play in Houston.

The SHO, as mentioned in this space last week, has its usual strong field, headed by No. 2-ranked Jordan Spieth. Four others in the top 10 in the world rankings — No. 5 Rickie Fowler, No. 7 Henrik Stenson, No. 9 Dustin Johnson and No. 10 Patrick Reed — are going to chase defending champ J.B. Holmes.

So will 28 others headed to Augusta next week.

Stroud’s tee times, by the way, are 8:50 a.m. Thursday on No. 1 and 1:40 Friday on No. 10. He is paired with Colt Knost and Jim Herman. The feature pairing of Spieth, defending champ J.B. Holmes and Patrick Reed goes off No. 1 at 1:10 p.m. Thursday and No. 10 at 8:20 a.m. Friday.


District championships for boys and girls teams in District 22-5A are set for Chambers County Golf next Monday and Tuesday.

For once, the sure thing won’t be the PN-G boys team. The Indians, without Braden Bailey, have taken an expected step back and are far from a lock to win a seventh consecutive title. Nederland, which is coming off a first place finish in West Brook’s Southeast Texas Championship last week at Bayou Din, figures to have its best shot at the Indians in years.

Kris Robbins fired a 74 to pace Nederland to its win in the West Brook tourney. Robbins finished second overall to Bridge City’s Skylar Petroski’s 72.

Other Nederland scores included 79s by Michael Glover and John Krautz and an 80 by Mitchell LeBaron. …

While Nederland was winning, the PN-G boys were finishing T7 in the Huntsville Invitational at Raven’s Nest. Josh Elmore’s 162 (83-79) led the way for the Indians. Bryant Hardy shot 167 (86-81), Danny Stephens was at 169 (85-84) and Cameron Keith carded a 170 (82-88). …

PN-G’s girls team, meanwhile, is clearly the team to beat in their district meet. The Lady Indians, on the strength of Karlei Hemler’s school-record 68, won their sixth consecutive tournament — the BISD Lady Invitational at Brentwood Country Club.

Hemler rolled in an eagle and five birdies and need every one of them to edge Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Lauren Thompson by a stroke for medalist honors. Thompson’s 69 was an LC-M school record.

Other PN-G scores were an 85 by Brynna Bailey, a 93 by Rian Weatherford and a 97 by Kensey Dukes. …

Bridge City’s boys team, after winnning the Warren Invitational behind 82s from Petroski and Blake Montagne, finished third in the West Brook tourney. Montagne backed Petroski’s 72 with a 76 that was good for fourth overall. Justin Smith shot 82 and Ashton Grant was at 96. …

Harrell Guidry of Groves authored the individual highlight at Babe Zaharias last week, firing a 69 (36-33) to shoot two strokes lower than his age. Witnesses to the first-time feat for Guidry were Rick Pritchett, John Jessen and Paul Brown. …

Competing in a two-best ball format in the Senior 50 Plus Game at Babe Zaharias, the team of Bob West, Guidry, Bob Moore and E.T. Robicheaux tied the front at minus-4 and won the back with minus 4. Also posting minus-4 on the front were teams captained by Craig Geoffroy and Steve Picou. …

In the Super Saturday Game at The Babe, also played in a two-ball format, there were ties on both the front and back. The team of Joey Alexander, Larry Johnson, Don Duplan and Bobby Kimball matched the minus-5 carded on the front by the foursome of Tom LeTourneau, Thad Brone, James Shipley and Dan Flood. On the back, the team of Pritchett, Guidry, Jessen and Brown equaled the minus-4 score of Mike Lansford, Craig Fontenot, Gary Fontenot and a ghost fourth player. …

In the Friday two-ball game at Zaharias, the team of West, Jessen, Harry Green and Ralph Childress tied the front at minus-2 with the foursome of Gary Whitfill, Troy Touchet, Ron Mistrot and Dennis Dubois. The back was won at minus-8 by the team of Adam Noel, Raymond Darbonne, Gary Fontenot and Ray Trahan. …

The Zaharias DogFight was won with 21 points by the team of Guidry, Gene Hardy, Trahan and Paul

Bourgeois. Closest to the pin winners were Cap Hollier (No. 2), Thompson (No. 7), Guidry (No. 12) and Dillard Darbonne (No. 15). …

The Sabine Area Ladies Golf Association “Rally for the Cure” tournament was played at Babe Zaharias, using a shamble format for both two-ball low gross and two-ball low net. The Babe Zaharias team of Iris Marquardt, Valerie Conerly, Pat Jarrett and Sherry Lamrish won low gross at 142. Idylwild Golf Club’s team of Connie Rasa, Teatsil Champagne, Charlene Noble and Claudia LeBlanc took low net with a 102.

Second low gross at 148 went to the Rayburn Country team of Pat Park, Liz Weaver, Kathy Owen and Janet McGrath. Second low net was won at 147 by the Mallard Cove foursome of Chris Foret, Lana Foret, Marie Rento and Tina Tram.

Jarrett won the Rally for the Cure closest to the pin contest. …

Entries are being taken for the April 9 Nederland Project Graduation Scramble at Bayou Din. Entry fee is $300 per four-person team. Contact email is

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