BOB WEST ON GOLF: PGA tour card hopes flickering for area pros
It is starting to look more and more like Baytown’s Shawn Stefani will be the only player with Southeast Texas ties playing on the PGA Tour next season.
If so, it will be the first time in 10 years we’ve been without area representation at golf’s top level.
Yes, there is one more opportunity for PN-G exes Chris Stroud and Andrew Landry, and former Lamar star Dawie van der Walt to reclaim a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Finals. But none of them have played well enough in the first three tournaments to generate much optimism.
Stroud and Landry have each made one cut. Van der Walt has not made any.
Landry, who won $9,372 in the first event of the Web.Finals, probably needs a top 10 finish. Stroud, with $2,550 in winnings, and Van der Walt, probably need a top five.
Their last chance comes up next week — there is not tournament this week because of the Ryder Cup — at Atlantic Beach Country Club in Jacksonville, Fla. Adding to the cloudy Southeast Texas outlook is the possibility Stroud might not even go to Jacksonville, thus sealing his fate.
What happened last week in Columbus, Ohio, may have pushed the one-time LU All-America over the edge as far as frustration with his game. After rolling in five birdies in the final six holes on Friday to finish with a 67, move inside the cut line and jump into a tie for 20th, Stroud cratered on the weekend.
Making only one birdie in the final 36 holes, he shot rounds of 76-75 to tumble into a tie for 62nd place. Those close to him say he’s mentally fried after playing in 29 tournaments, and is considering going to Scotland next week to play in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St. Andrews.
Stroud’s followers probably remember that he finished T2 in that European PGA Tour event in 2016, adding $413,000 to his bank account in the process.
Here’s hoping he decides against making that trip overseas, recharges his batteries this week and gives it his best shot next week in Jacksonville.
CHIP SHOTS: PN-G ex Braden Bailey had a strong showing in Baylor’s second tournament of the fall season. Bailey should rounds of 66-67-69 for a 54-hole total of 11-under 202 in the Maui Jim Intercollegiate at Mirabel Golf Club in Scottsdale. Bailey finished T4 in individual play, helping the Bears to a second place team finish behind LSU . . .
It was also a good week for another former PN-G player — Jarrod Brown.
Brown, a senior at Mary Hardin-Baylor, authored rounds of 71-73-75 for a -over par 219 in an NCAA Fall Preview tournament at Howey-in-the Hills, Fla. That was good for a T6 overall and helped MHB to a T4 among 18 teams.
Brown’s play earned him the ASC Men’s Golfer of the Week Award.
A week earlier Brown shot 72-68 for a four-under-par 140 in The Al Jones Memorial Tourney at Holly Tree Country Club in Tyler. With the help of an MHB school record of three eagles in one day, he missed tying for first by one shot. MHB also finished second by a single stroke . . .
The team of Mark Lawson, Keith Mullins, Billy Thillet and Bob Luttrel blew away the competition in the Senior 50 Plus two-ball game at Babe Zaharias Monday. With Lawson rolling in seven birdies, his team won the front in minus 8 and back in minus 7 . . .
The Super Saturday two-ball game at The Babe also saw low scoring and a sweep, with the foursome of Javier Torres, Vincent Barrajas, Darin Loftin and Wes McGuire winning minus 7 and minus 6 . . .
The Friday Game at Zaharas was also played in a best two-ball format. On the front, the team of Benny Sharpe, James Shipley, Cole Lee and Billy Thillet won with minus 7. The back finished in a tie at minus 5 between the Sharpe team and the foursome of Bob West, Adam Noel, Bob Byerly and Paul Duplantis …
For for the Thursday Senior Game at The Babe, the format was individual stroke play with handicap. First Flight finished in a tie at 69 between Craig Fontenot and Jim Jordan, with Rick Pritchett a stroke back at 70.
Don MacNeil won Second Flight with a 67, edging Bill Jones and Larry Johnson by a stroke. In Third Flight, Larry Rogers won big with a 62. Charles Huckaby was second at 68. Closest to the pin winners were Jim Cooper (No. 2), MacNeil (No. 7), Lee Bertrand (No. 12) and Byerly (No. 15) . . .
The Babe Zaharias DogFight saw three teams tie for first place.
Accumulating 19 points was the team of Earl Richard, Cricket Owen, John Ramsey and Jess McPhillips, the foursome of Pritchett, Tommy Duhon, Dave Sturgal and McPhillips and the team of Jeff Lane, Johnson, Huckaby and Rogers.
Closest to the pin winners were Harold Wilkinson (No. 2), Richard (No. 7), McPhillips (No. 12) and Jay Hampson (No. 15) . . .
Entries are still being accepted for the 21st annual Joe Williams Memorial Scramble Saturday at Zaharias. The format is a two-person scramble. Entry fee is $50 per players, with team flighted by the low handicap.
Proceeds go to scholarship funds at Nederland and Port Neches-Groves. For more information, call Wendell Meaux at 409 790-8873 and the Zaharias golf shop at 722-8286.
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