BOB WEST ON GOLF: Blustery winds take toll on Stroud, Landry

Published 5:38 pm Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Southeast Texas golfers who struggled in 20-mph winds Tuesday should have been with Chris Stroud and Andrew Landry Sunday for the first round of the Tour’s season-opening Great Exuma Classic in the Bahamas.
Playing a Sunday-through-Wednesday format, and kicking off a new season in the Bahamas, sounded like a great idea when the Tour announced its revamped schedule. Turns out the plan was not exactly a day at the beach.

With 30- to 40-mph winds roaring off the Atlantic, and some gusts near 50, the opening round turned into a nightmare for nearly all involved. Only one player broke par with a 71, two players signed off on scores in the 90s and the first round average was a stunning 80.4.
Big numbers were all over the scoreboard, with reeling players making triple bogey or worse 70 times. On one hole, the tee boxes had to be advanced 25 yards to keep players from being drenched with sea spray. The par 3, 13th was so brutal tee boxes were moved up so it played only 88 yards in Monday’s second round.

The 36-hole cut was at 11-over par 155. One player, Casey Wittenburg, made it by shooting 84-71. Greg Eason walked away with the dubious distinction of shooting the highest score, by carding 91-95 for a 186.
Stroud, playing to try and keep his game sharp for his next PGA Tour start, shot 82 and withdrew with a sore wrist, rather than chance major swing problems. With an eye toward hopefully getting into the PGA Tour’s Career Builder Challenge in Palm Springs Jan. 19-22, he retreated to his second home in Sea Island, Ga., to practice.

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Meanwhile, Landry, who won on the Tour in similar buffeting winds two years ago in Colombia, staggered to an 87 that included three triples and a double. After making back-to-back doubles on the second and third holes of the second round, he shot a 77 and headed back to Austin to regroup.

Next playing opportunity for the former PNG star is in two weeks. The bad news for the surely shell-shocked Landry is that it is right back in the Bahamas at the Bahamas Great Abaco Classic.

Will he want to walk back into the wind tunnel?

One area golfer who had no complaints about the gusts creating difficult conditions at Babe Zaharias on Tuesday was Ron Mistrot of Bridge City.

Mistrot gave birth to Zaharias’ first hole in one of 2017 when he sank a 5-hybrid from 137 yards on the 12th hole. What was Mistrot’s fourth ace came into the teeth of the wind. Witnesses were Raymond Darbonne, Benny Sharpe and John Ramsey. That foursome won the front nine in the Tuesday Twister Two Ball at Zaharias, finishing at minus-3. Despite Mistrot’s ace on 12, they finished out of the money on the back, with the team of Larry Stansbury, Earl Richard, Lee Bertrand and Jim Cooper winning at minus-2. …

The Monday Senior 50 Plus two-ball at Zaharias saw the team of Steve Picou, Rick Pritchett, Bob Luttrull and Larry Rogers win the front in minus-4. On the back, the foursome of Gary Whitfill, Adam Noel, Bertrand and Don MacNeil won with minus-2. …

The Thursday Senior Game at Zaharias was played in a four-man scramble format, with two teams tying for first. The foursome of Crickett Owen, Harrell Guidry, Bill Hanley and Rogers finished at 9 under, as did the team of Sharpe, Thad Borne, Mistrot and Paul Duplantis. Closest to the pin winners were Borne (No. 2), Owen (No. 7), MacNeil (No. 12) and Joe Gongora (No. 15). …

Shivering their way through a frigid DogFight last Wednesday, the team of Paul Flores, Gongora, MacNeil and Tommy Duhon won with 16 points. Closest to the pin winners were Pritchett (No. 2), Owen (No. 7), Russ Gloede (No. 12) and Bobby Wactor (No. 15). …

Area juniors are reminded of next Wednesday’s entry deadline for the opening stop on the Texas-Louisiana 2017 Junior Winter Tour. Boys and girls will compete in five age groups — 7-9 Co-ed (6 holes) 10-11 Co-ed (nine holes), 12-13, 14-15 and 16-18.

The final three flights all play 18 holes. First tournament is set for Saturday, Jan. 21 at Bayou Din. Other stops are Jan. 28 at Mallard Cove in Westlake, La, Feb. 4 at Babe Zaharias and Feb. 11 at Gray Plantation in Westlake.

Entry fee for all four events is $20. For more information, call the Zaharias golf shop at 722-8286.