BOB WEST ON GOLF: Bailey shoots 7-under at Houston All-Am

Published 4:49 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Southeast Texans traveled to Humble in impressive numbers to root on Port Neches-Groves ex Braden Bailey in the University of Houston’s All-American Intercollegiate Invitational last weekend. Bailey and his par-busting Baylor teammates made the trip worthwhile.

With freshman Cooper Dossey leading the way at the Golf Club of Houston, the Bears unleashed a birdie barrage at the site of next month’s Shell Houston Open en route to shooting a 54-hole team total of 28-under par. That was good enough to outlast Vanderbilt — the current No. 1 ranked team in college golf — by five strokes.

The 5-foot-6, 160-pound Bailey, who continues to astonish with how far he hits the ball, authored rounds of 72-66-71 for a seven-under par 209. It was good for a tie for second in the 96-player field, but not enough to overtake Dossey. The freshman from Austin finished at 206.

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Baylor, which has climbed to No. 6 in the Golfweek’s college rankings, wound up with its top four players breaking par. Junior Matthew Perrine totaled 212 and sophomore Garrett May came in at 213.

Bailey, with a gallery that was larger than all but the biggest names will have when the pros show up next month, had up-and-down rounds on Friday and Sunday, but was near flawless on Saturday. His 66 was bogey free and could have been a 63 or 64.

Those who were there on Sunday saw Bailey at his most amazing. The 580-yard, eighth was playing into a brisk wind, and was a three-shot hole for nearly everybody in the field. Braden, after unleashing a near 300-yard drive, got to the front of the green with a crushed 3-wood, then rolled in a 70-foot eagle.

Among Bailey’s other feats were leading the field in par-5 scoring (8 under) and tying for the most birdies (14). Those accomplishments helped him to a third top-5 finish in his last four college tournaments. He has climbed to a No. 22 individual ranking among all college players.

Baylor, meanwhile, in its second season under Mike McGraw, looks like a team that could challenge for a national championship. It might not happen this season, but with a freshman, two sophomores and a junior in their top five, the Bears are built for the long haul and have done it with players who were not considered elite recruits.

McGraw gets a lot of credit, even though most of the players, including Bailey, are not players he signed. However, with a resume that includes being part of three national champions at Oklahoma State and one at Alabama, the guy is a terrific hands-on coach.

Keep an eye on Baylor as the college season unfolds. With the Bailey connection, these Bears should be a lot of fun to follow.

PNG ex Andrew Landry had another solid showing on the Tour, finishing tied for 19th in the Panama Claro Championship.

Landry, though, after rounds of 70-69-67-70 for a four-under 276, is probably lamenting another slide down the leaderboard on Sunday. He was tied for sixth entering the final round, but dropped 10 spots. He pocketed $7,312 and is now No. 3 on the money list. …

Breaking 80 was special for Bernie Johnson of Nederland on Feb. 13 at Babe Zaharias. The 79 Johnson shot enabled him to beat his age by one stroke. Witnesses were Bones Morrison and Dale Reinstra. …
Lamar placed 15th in the above-mentioned Houston All-America Intercollegiate. The Cardinals posted an 889 team total that was 53 shots back of Baylor. Eason Wang paced the Cardinals with a 54-hole total of 220 that was 46th overall. Zander Gous was 51st at 221. …

The PNG girls golf team continued to shred their competition, winning by 120 strokes over LCM last Thursday in the Vidor Invitational at Brentwood Country Club. Karlei Hemler shot a one-under par 71 to lead the way for the Indians, who had the top three medalists.

Brynna Bailey placed second to Hemler with a 79, while Rian Weatherford was third at 87. Kensey Dukes added an 89 for PNG. Kassidei Hemler’s 95 did not count toward the team score. …

In the Super Saturday Senior Game at Babe Zaharias, the team of Paul Flores, Larry Johnson, Dan Flood and Tom LeTourneau won the front with minus 2. On the back, minus 1 won for the foursome of Javier Torres, Bim Morrow, Don Duplan and Cole Lee. …

The Friday 2 ball game at Zaharias saw the team of Benny Sharpe, Gene Jones, Larry Foster and Jerry May win the front with minus 5. The back went to the foursome of Cap Hollier, Bob Byerly, Tony Trevino and Billy Thillet at minus 1. …

Individual stroke play with handicaps was the format for the Thursday Senior 55 Plus game at The Babe. Byerly won First Flight by two strokes over Larry Thompson with a 68. In Second Flight, Don MacNeil shot a 66 to best Bobby Wactor by two strokes in. …

Larry Rogers prevailed in Third Flight with a 68. Harold Wilkinson and Ben Thornton tied for second at 69. Closest to the pin winners were Rogers (No. 2), Wactor (No. 7, No. 15) and Joe Gongora (No. 12). …

Fourteen points won the Wednesday Babe Zaharias DogFight for the team of Hollier, John House, Roy Martinez and a ghost player. Placing second with 13 points was the foursome of Johnson, Rick Pritchett, Gene Hardy and Wilkerson.
Closest to the pin winners were Gary Whitfill (No. 2) and Earl Richard (No. 12).

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About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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