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BOB WEST ON GOLF: Stroud set for his first PGA Tour event of season

Chris Stroud makes his first start of the 2016-17 PGA Tour season Thursday at the Sanderson Farms Championship in Jackson, Miss.

It’s an important even for Stroud because of his limited access to PGA Tour events after not finishing in the top 125 in FedEx Cup points last year.

Stroud has roughly 185 to 190 players in front of him for tournament entry in any given week. That group includes the top 125 in FedEx Cup points from 2015-16, the 50 players who gained PGA Tour cards through the Web.com Tour and a handful of others with access from other categories.

With a World Golf Championship going on in Shanghai this week, most of the game’s top players are in China. The biggest names playing in Mississippi are Geoff Ogilvy, Retief Goosen, Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, David Toms and David Duval.

The pursue in the Sanderson Farms is one of the year’s smallest at only $4.2 million but that’s not an issue for Stroud. He’s needs a high finish to start piling up FedEx Cup points.

Other fall events that Stroud expects to play are the OHL Mayakoba Classic Nov. 10-13 in Mexico and the RSM Classic Nov. 17-20 at Sea Island, Ga. After that, it’s a crapshoot on when he’ll be able to play again.

CHIP SHOTS

PNG ex Braden Bailey ended the fall portion of Baylor’s golf season on a high note, shooting a closing 67 Tuesday for a 54-hole total of 10-under 203 that earned a share of medalist honors with Bears teammate Matthew Perine for what will go down as his first collegiate victory.

Baylor, ranked No. 14 in the latest Golf Channel poll, won the Royal Oaks Invitational by a whopping 32 shots over runner-up Houston with a team total of 31-under-par. Bailey, with rounds of 67-69-67, lowered his team best scoring average for 12 fall tournament rounds to 69.9. He is currently No. 49 in Golfweek’s World Amateur ratings . . .

Babe Zaharias’ seventh hole was a hot spot for aces last week as both Aubrey McKee of Nederland and Joe Benoit of Groves saw their tee shots roll into the cup.

McKee’s hole in one, from 157 yards, was somewhat stunning in that it was only his seventh round of golf. Those of you who have played for years and never made one, read it and weep. McKee used a 6-iron for a shot witnessed by Craig Castille and Russell Clement . . .

For Benoit, meanwhile, aces are becoming old hat. When he sank his tee shot from 130 yards, it marked his third hole in one. All three, interestingly enough, have come on that 7th hole at The Babe. Witnesses were Rickie Abshire and John Veillon . . .

Bob Byerly of Orange didn’t make an ace, but he did walk away with an eagle 2 on Zaharias’ difficult 8th hole. The former West Orange-Stark assistant football coach sank his second shot from 150 yards with a 4-iron. His playing companions were Harry Green, Joe Gongora and Charlies Huckaby . . .

The Rodney Balsamo-sponsored team of Drake Romero, Michael Glover, Jeff Lane and Ronnie Hicks finished first in the St. James Catholic Church Scramble but needed to win a 150-yard shootout to claim the top prize after three 59s were posted.

Finishing second after the shootout was the team of Chase Selman, Paul Muse, Bryce Parsely and Josh Elmore. Placing third was the Magic Carwash team of Monroe Pratt Jr., Bubba Brevell, Jim Huebel and Merv Hebert.

Closest to the pin winners were Elmore (No. 2), Butch English (No. 7), Clifton English (No. 12) and Matt Ellis (No. 15). Brian Guthrie Jr., won the long drive on No. 14 . . .

Elmore, a rising star at Port Neches-Groves, got his junior season off to a rousing start recently when he won the Atascocita District Preview by 9 strokes at Red Wolf Golf Club in Huffman. Elmore fired rounds of 73-69 for a 36-hole total of 142.

PNG, which is in a rebuilding mode as a team, finished second some 27 shots behind Atascocita with a score of 645 (330-315). The Indians got a 166 (85-81) from Bryce Parsley, a 167 (84-83) from Selman and a 172 (88-84) from Timothy Feemster . . .

The Monday Senior 50 Plus Game at Zaharias saw the team of Adam Noel, Bobby Wactor, Gary Fontenot and Robert Lynch win the front with minus 3. On the back, teams captained by Craig Fontentot, Steve Picou and James Shipley all finished at minus 3 . . .

The Friday Game at Zaharias, also played in a best 2 ball format, ended in a three-way tie on the front among teams captained by Gary Whitfill, Benny Sharpe and Cricket Owen. On the back, the team of Noel, Cecil Norris, Roger Koch and Auggie Segura won with minus 2 . . .

Joe Gongora’s team that included Bim Morrow, Roy Martinez and Jess McPhillips won the Babe Zaharias DogFight with 21 points. Second with 20 points was the foursome of Lane, Charles Leard, Eddy Delk and Jess McPhillips.

Closest to the pin winners were Cap Hollier (No. 2), Cody Metts (No. 7), Martinez (No. 12) and Lane (No. 15).

Golf news should be mailed to rdwest@usa.net