BOB WEST ON GOLF: Pfleider, Lietzke keep paying tribute to Homberg
Two thumbs up to Idylwild golf pro Ronnie Pfleider and Southeast Texas’ most successful professional golfer, Bruce Lietzke, for their efforts to preserve the memory of beloved long-time Tyrrell Park golf professional Henry Homberg.
Pfleider and Lietzke were the co-hosts this past weekend for the sixth reunion of guys who played as junior golfers at Tyrrell Park during Homberg’s 1942-1982 reign as the club’s head pro. Also eligible were all former Lamar Tech and Lamar University golfers who played at Tyrrell.
As everyone knows, of course, Tyrrell Park is now known as Henry Homberg Golf Club.
Pfleider learned all he could absorb about being a club pro under Homberg’s wing at Tyrrell Park. Lietzke cut his golfing teeth at Tyrrell, after arriving in Beaumont at age 9 from Wichita, Kan. Homberg was a mentor and second father to him.
Both Pfleider and Lietzke speak in reverent terms about the positive influence of Homberg and his wife, Juel, on their lives. The deep feeling is why they put so much into the reunion, into making sure Homberg’s name lives on and into sustaining the Henry and Juel Homberg Scholarship at Lamar.
The reunion, sadly, seems to be on its last legs, with only 20 former Tyrrell Park and Lamar golfers participating. Father Time and date conflicts took a toll on the turnout, but those who showed up were oh-so-glad for another opportunity to trade war stories about the good old days.
Among the familar names taking part were Dennis Walsh, Burt Darden, Beaumont police Chief Jim Singletary, former Lamar All-America Mike Nugent and Pat Baker. Johnnie Barlow Jr. attended the Saturday night dinner but didn’t play golf either Saturday or Sunday.
Lietkze, whose career was cut short by a shoulder injury that makes it impossible for him to hit anything more than a utility club off the tee, had not played in three years when he showed up Saturday at Idylwild. Amazingly, he looked tournament ready while hardly ever missing a shot in a scramble format.
For those who may not be all that familiar with Bruce, he won 13 times on the PGA Tour and seven more times on the Champions Tour, including the U.S. Senior Open. Playing in the era before Tiger Woods sent PGA Tour purses into the stratosphere, he earned roughly $6.5 million, then added $7.4 million in winnings on the Champions Tour.
Unable to play competitively since 2011, he says he doesn’t miss golf enough to have the shoulder surgery that would be necessary for him to make a comeback. An avid fisherman, he says the only way he’ll have the surgery is if he reaches the point where he can’t cast a line into one of the lakes on his ranch.
Somewhere on high, meanwhile, Homberg is beaming at the way two of his favorite people continue to pay tribute to him.
Stop No. 2 in the Web.com Finals was a wipeout for all three pros with area ties. With the cut at 3-under 139 in the Albertson’s Boise Open, Chris Stroud shot 141 (71-70), Dawie van der Walt posted 142 (71-71) and Andrew Landry signed for 145 (76-69).
The extenuating circumstance for Landry was a 9 on the his first hole, a par 4. From that point on, he was two under, but it was too little too late.
In two tournaments, Landry is the only one of the three to make a cut. He stands No. 37 in money at $9,372. The good news is it only takes one good tournament to get inside the top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card.
After two events, the player in 25th place has won a mere $15,395. An eighth-place finish in any of the tournaments would pay $31,000. The Web.com Finals move to Columbus, Ohio this week. …
PNG ex Braden Bailey cooled a bit from his strong summer showing in Baylor’s first tournament of the fall season. Bailey, who is playing in the No. 1 slot for Baylor as a sophomore, shot rounds of 74-74-72 for a 10-over-par 220 in the Fighting Illini Invitational at Olympia Fields in Chicago.
He finished T33 individually, with Baylor 10th in a 15-team field.
The latest newsletter put out by Baylor golf coach Mike McGraw revealed that in averaging a team best 72.61 last season, Bailey became only the third freshman in school history to post the low tournament scoring average. The other two were Jimmy Walker and Ryan Baca. …
Nederland ex Felicia Sauceda is off to a solid start in her junior season at Lamar. Sauceda carded a 36-hole total of 155 (75-80) in tough weather conditions to help the Lady Cardinals to a third place finish in their season opening tournament Sunday and Monday in Phoenix, Md. …
Clarence Allen of Port Arthur scored an eagle 2 on the 14th hole at Babe Zaharias by holing a 6-iron from 170 yards. Witnesses to the shot were Eric Delahoussaye, ShanDerrick Charles and George Willis.
In the Senior 50 Plus Game at Babe Zaharias Monday, the team of Adam Noel, Cap Hollier, Butch Pittman and John Ramsey won the front with minus 6. On the back, there was a four-way tie at minus 3 between teams captained by Roddy Weatherly, Jim Jordan, Bob Briggs and Noel. …
The Super Saturday Game at The Babe, also played in a two-ball format, saw the team of Thad Borne, James Shipley, Gene Jones and John Ramsey win the front in minus-8. The back saw a three-way tie at minus-4 between teams captained by Weatherly, Javier Torres and Mark Lawson. …
The front nine in the two-ball Friday Game at Zaharias was won by the team of Weatherly, Harry Green, Charles Leard and Tom LeTourneau. Taking the back at minus-5 was the foursome of Noel, Earl Richard, Rusty Hicks and Dan Flood. …
The Thursday Senior Game at Zaharias was played in a two-man, 9/9 format with nine holes of best ball and nine holes of scramble. Weatherly teamed with Cap Hollier for a 66 that was a stroke clear of Earl Richard-Larry Thompson in First Flight.
Larry Reece-Harrell Guidry claimed Second Flight with a 65, besting Bill Jones-Green by four strokes. In Third Flight, the Ramsey-Flood team shot a 74 to clip two teams by two strokes.
Closest to the pin winners were Guidry (No. 2), Rick Pritchett (No. 7), Cole Lee (No. 12) and Reece (No. 15). …
There was a tie for first in the Babe Zaharias DogFight, with the team of Richard, Bill Jones, Rusty Hicks and Jess McPhillips matching the 18 points put up by the team of Jordan, Larry Johnson, Ed Hetzel and Dave Sturgal.
Closest to the pin winners were Cricket Owen (No. 2, No. 12), Tom LeTourneau (No. 7) and Larry Thompson (No. 15). …
Entries are being taken at Babe Zaharias for the 21st annual Joe Williamson Memorial Tournament. Set for Saturday, Oct. 1, the event is a two-person scramble with a fee of $50 per player. Teams will be flighted by the low handicap.
Proceeds from the tournament benefit scholarship funds at Nederland and Port Neches-Groves high schools. Food and drinks are included in the entry fee. Entry checks should be made payable to the Midcounty Noon Optimist Club.
Anyone with questions should call Wendell Meaux at 790-8873 or the Zaharias golf shop at 722-8286. Tee time is 8 a.m.
The 11th annual Clint Wasser Memorial Scholarship Scramble is set for Saturday, Oct. 8 at Zaharias, with an 8 a.m. shotgun. Over the past 10 years, the event organized by Wasser’s good friends — John Worthington and Taylor James — has raised $57,000 and awarded 18 scholarships at Texas A&M to local high school seniors.
For details about the endowment at A&M that makes contributions tax deductible, contact Dana Wasser at 727-8310 or 527-0136. For more info on the tourney, contact John (979-218-6221) or Taylor (728-9112).
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