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BOB WEST ON GOLF: Stroud to skip final Web.com tourney

In a move certain to puzzle some of his followers in Southeast Texas, Chris Stroud has opted to skip his last chance at regaining a PGA Tour card for the upcoming season.
Stroud is passing on this week’s Web.com Championship in Atlantic Beach, Fla., to play in the European PGA Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship.
Stroud, as he did last year, is flying with Houston Astros owner Jim Crane in Crane’s private jet to Scotland for a tournament that was very good to him last year. Playing in a format similar to the PGA Tour’s Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Stroud finished second and pocketed $413,000.
The main difference between heading to St. Andrews this week, as opposed to 2016, was that Stroud played well enough on the PGA Tour last year to retain his playing card. This year, after finishing No. 134 in Fed Ex Cup points, he was forced to play in the four-tournament Web.com Finals to try and retain his
card.
Needing to finish in the top 25 in money in the four events, Stroud made only one cut in the first three tournaments and earned just $2,500. He was in a position where he needed a top-five finish at Atlantic Beach to make into the top 25.
The obvious conclusion to draw is that Stroud didn’t feel good enough about his game to risk the mental downer of another bad week. By going to Scotland with Crane, he’s in a low-pressure situation that could perhaps turn into a confidence booster.
While Stroud is heading to Europe, Port Neches-Groves ex Andrew Landry and former Lamar star Dawie van der Walt are both playing in the Web.com Championship.
Landry, who has made one of the three cuts and is No. 54 in money, can probably reclaim his PGA card with a top 10. Van der Walt, who has missed all three cuts, needs a top-five.
Stroud, meanwhile, after 10 years on the PGA Tour, will be dealing with a significantly different status next year. He will still be able to play a number of PGA events, but they won’t be the top-of-the-line tournaments with the biggest purses and most Fed Ex points.
In any given week, there are 175 players ahead of him on the priority list for getting into a tournament. Outside of being granted a sponsor’s exemption, his access to a tourney field will depend on how many of those with higher priorities decide to take the week off.
Stroud said on Monday that he still expects to be able to get into 18 to 20 tournaments and be able to win his card back. His first tournament on the 2016-17 tour will be Nov. 5-8 at the Sanderson Farms in Jackson, Miss. He also expects to play in the OHL Classic in Mayakoba, Mexico Nov. 12-15 and the RSM Classic at Sea Island, Ga., Nov. 19-22.
After that, there are no more official PGA Tour events until the Jan. 12-15 Sony Open in Hawaii.
Whether he will be able to get into that one remains to be seen.
As for this past season, there were few weeks he figures to remember fondly. Absent his long-time strength of being one of the tour’s best scramblers, Stroud’s $597,176 in official earnings was his lowest since a 2008 bottom line of $482,405.
He had career lows in tops 10s (1) and top 25s (3), while making 16 of 27 cuts. Though he was able to add length off the tee, he did it at the expense of consistency. At 34, and with so many talented young players literally pouring onto the PGA Tour, what has been a very solid career appears to be at
a crossroads.
CHIP SHOTS
An 11-under par 61 was barely good enough for the team of Cody Metts-Jerry Boudreaux to win First Flight in the 21st annual Joe Williamson Scramble Saturday at Babe Zaharias.
In a two-person scramble format, the Metts-Boudreaux duo edged Cody Mire-Jaden Ellender by one stroke.
In Second Flight, Wendell Meaux-Howard Fabre put together a 62 that was three strokes clear of Rex Ellis-Michael Parker. Third Flight went to Chris Swanson-Brian Kemp. Their 66 was three better than Darren Meaux-Chuck Floyd.
Bret Duplant-Dillon Emerson partnered for a 74 to win Fourth Flight by one stroke over Bubba Butler-Brett Butler. Closest to the hole winners were Ellis (No. 7) and Brian Kemp (No. 12). Fabre took the long drive prize on No. 4 …
PNG ex Braden Bailey, after an opening 67 in the Jerry Pate National Intercollegiate, carded rounds of 74-73 to finish 19th overall with 54-hole total of 214.
Three double bogeys and one triple bogey over Old Overton Club in Vestavia Hills, Ala., kept the Baylor sophomore from placing much higher. Baylor, after having the early tournament lead, finished third behind Auburn and UNLV …
Cap Hollier of Groves posted his best-ever score of 68 Tuesday at Babe Zaharias. Hollier carded nines of 32-36, with an eagle 3 on the par 5, ninth hole the catalyst for his round. Witnesses were Bob Byerly and Larry Stansbury …
In the Monday Senior 50 Plus Game at Zaharias, played in a best two-ball format, the team of Paul Flores, Larry Johnson, Larry Reece and Larry Rogers won the front in minus-5. That was also the winning number on the back for the foursome of Gary Whitfil, Gary Fontenot, Bill Avery and Ed Hetzel …
The Super Saturday two-ball game at Zaharias saw the team of Thad Borne, Rick Pritchett, Johnson, Mike Hollier and Don Duplan win the front in minus-5.
On the back, the team of Javier Torres, Darren Lofton, Tom LeBourneau and Walter Colvin won with minus-4 …
The Friday Game at Zaharias, also played in a two-ball format, saw the team of Hollier, Bob Byerly and Reece win the front in minus 5. On the back, minus-3 was a winner for Flores, Johnson, Tony Trevino and Dan Flood …
The Thursday Senior Game at The Babe was played in a Select Drive, three-ball format. The front ended in a tie between the team of Cricket Owen, Don MacNeil, Rodney Christman and Robert Lynch and the foursome of Earl Richard, Kyle Mehl, Charles Leard and Jobie Irvine.
The back was won in minus 2 by the team of Byerly, Larry Stansbury, Bill Jones and Ben Thornton. Closest to the pin winners were Pritchett (No. 2), Leard (No. 7), Bob West (No. 12) and Gary Anderson (No. 15) …
In the Babe Zaharias DogFight, the team of Richard, Raymond Darbonne, Roger Koch and Harold Wilkinson won with 19 points. There was a two-way tie for second at 18 points between teams captained by Pritchett and Gerald Huebel.
Closest to the pin winners were Jones (No. 2) Wilkinson (No. 7), Dillard Darbonne (No. 12), and Gerald Huebel (No. 15) …
Mark Byars is organizing a fundraising golf tournament and dance to help pay for repairs to one of Port Arthur’s landmarks — St. James Catholic Church on Gulfway Drive.
A four-person scramble with an entry fee of $300 per team or $75 per player is planned for Saturday, Oct. 22 at Babe Zaharias.
Tables of 10 for what is being called a “Homecoming Dance”, set for 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. that night, are priced at $300. Sponsorships in price ranges from $200 to $2,500 are also available for the golf tournament.
For more information, phone Byars at 626-2342 or email him at mbyars@tgsgroup.com.

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net.