BOB WEST ON GOLF: PNG boys heavily favored for ninth consecutive title

Published 1:11 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2018

As current district dynasties go, Port Neches-Groves’ golf program surely ranks near the top in Texas high school sports. You have to go all the way back to 2009 to find the last time the Indians did not head to regionals as the district champion.

Consecutive title No. 9 is expected to be a mere formality for Ricky Keyes’ Indians, as the District 22-5A tournament plays out Wednesday at Brentwood Country Club and Thursday at Babe Zaharias. A couple of weeks ago Nederland looked capable of mounting a challenge, but the Bulldogs are missing three of their top five.

The only real suspense on the boys side is whether PNG senior Josh Elmore defends his individual title, and who goes to regional as the second-place team.

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In the girls tourney, PNG, which is seeking its fourth straight title, is expected to battle Vidor for the top spot.

PNG’s boys tuned up for district by placing fourth in the Hornet Invitational last weekend at Raven Nest in Huntsville. Elmore was third overall with a 147 (71-76), finishing one stroke behind co-medalists Conner Lilley and Collin Gunn.

Other scores for PNG were a 160 (79-81) from Chase Selman, Timothy Feemster’s 161 (82-79) and a 164 (78-86) by Bryce Parsley. Victor Aponte’s 169 (81-88) did not count toward the team title.

“The first round was the best we have played top to bottom all year,” said Keyes, who has been the coach for PNG’s past seven district titles. “Josh’s game is starting to peak. He narrowly missed winning, despite having five penalty strokes the second day.”

Elmore is the defending district champion, but figures to have to play well to beat Nederland’s Brendan Marley, and could get a challenge from Feemster. Marley, at 154, placed second to Elmore’s 148 in the district tournament at Beaumont’s Henry Homberg last year.

Nederland also warmed up for district with a tournament win in its invitational at Brentwood last week, but the scores are reflective of what Rob Long’s team is up against without three of its top five. The Bulldogs won with a 353 team total, which was 21 shots better than East Chambers.

Marley, who is having a solid season, took medalist honors with a 77. Other Bulldog scores were an 80 by Dylan Hendricks, an 85 by Jadon Bell and a 111 by Brandt Whitehead.

“Not being at full strength is a tough situation for us,” said Long. “I thought we had a shot at beating PNG. I am still hoping for a second place finish and, hopefully, getting a couple of those kids back by regional.”

The district tournament was originally scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday at Chambers County Golf Club in Anahuac. That was set up, however, before coaches learned of mandatory state testing on Monday. With Chambers County not available on other dates, Brentwood and Zaharias filled the void.

PNG, meanwhile, is thinking of bigger things than another district title.
The Indians, after missing a trip to state by four shots last year, want to keep improving before regional is contested at La Torretta April 25-26.

“We are certainly in the hunt,” said Keyes. “There are two really strong teams in our region — Magnolia and Cedar Park. If we play well, we can get the third spot. Barbers Hill and possibly Tomball and Magnolia West look like the teams we would have to beat.”



Thanks to an anonymous donor, I have several any day passes to give away for the April 19-22 Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. Anyone who would like up to six passes for any of the four days should email me at For the first 10 who make contact, a parking pass will also be included …

Two of the three former Lamar golfers in the Houston Open collected a check. Shawn Stefani authored his second consecutive solid week, closing with a 72 for 278 to finish tied for 24th and earning $54,163.

Dawie van der Walt, who was in position for his best finish of the year, stumbled to a final round 76 and a 284 that was tied for 61st. Van der Walt settled for a check for $14,210.

Chris Stroud missed the cut on rounds of 71-73, but did pull off the shot of the day on Friday. Stroud holed a gap wedge from 124 yards on the par-4, 10th hole for an eagle two. But it wasn’t enough to overcome problems with his putter. …

In the Monday Senior 50 Plus game at Babe Zaharias, the team of Brad Royer, Lee Bertrand, Larry Foster and Gene Hardy won the front in minus-2. On the back, the foursome of Kenny Robbins, Larry Reece, Pete Reobroi and Paul Duplantis prevailed with minus-4.

The Saturday Super Senior 2-ball at Zaharias saw the team of Rick Pritchett, Ed Holley, Thad Borne and a ghost fourth player tie the foursome of Adam Noel, James Shipley, Charles Leard and Don Duplan on the front with minus-4.

On the back, the team of Russ Gloede, Harry Green, Don MacNeil and Cole Lee won with minus-2.

The foursome of Cap Hollier, Tom LeTourneau, Wes McGuire and Hardy won the front in the Friday Senior 2-ball at Zaharias with plus-2. The back was won in minus- by the team of Bill Hanley, Tony Trevino, Leard and Duplan.

In the Wednesday Zaharias DogFight, the team of Pritchett, Reece, Royer and Paul Brown rolled to victory with 20 points. Tying for second with 18 points was the team of Hollier, LeTourneau, Hardy and Richard Menchaca and the foursome of Doug LeBlanc, Bertrand, Duplan and Foster.

Closest to the pin winners were Cricket Owen (No. 2), Hollier (No. 7), Doug LeBlanc (No. 12) and John LeBlanc (No. 15).

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