BOB WEST ON GOLF: Lots of options awaiting juniors in summer months

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, June 5, 2018

From a handful of events pushed by the likes of Henry Homberg, Johnnie Barlow Sr., Jimmy Fetters and Ed Campbell, the junior golf scene in Southeast Texas has mushroomed into a smorgasboard of options for players of all age groups and skill levels.

In addition to the long-standing STPGA summer tour smoothly headed up by Jerry Honza, there is the Beltway Junior Tour now in its third year in Southeast Texas. That one is overseen by Port Neches-Groves golf coach Ricky Keyes.

Between the two, there are roughly a dozen tournaments in Southeast Texas the next two months open to boys and girls ages 6 to 18. In addition, there are numerous additional playing opportunities spinning out of those tours all across the state.

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Complete details on the STPGA’s offerings, and how to enter tournaments, can be found at For the Beltway Tour, go to

Meanwhile, tournament schedules for both junior tours can be found elsewhere in this section.

Youngsters in this area certainly don’t need to look far for inspiration of where junior golf in Southeast Texas can take them. Provided, of course, they have the desire and work ethic of Chris Stroud, Andrew Landry, Michael Arnaud and Braden Bailey.

Seldom does a week go by when the exploits of those area talents in professional and college golf are not chronicled in this column. And for the girls, there is Karlei Hemler, who seems to be headed to big things at McNeese State.

For all of them, it began with junior golf in Southeast Texas. Stroud, in fact, recalled how the golf bug bit him a couple of weeks ago when Arnaud won for the first time on the Tour.

“My first tournament was at the Pea Patch when I was 9 years old,” he said. “Michael and I tied for first place in the 9-10 flight, then he chipped in to beat me on the second hole of a playoff.

“I knew that day golf was going to be the sport I pursued. Playing that junior tour in our area was such a big deal to me. That is where it all started and I’m so thankful to the pros in our area who helped make it possible.”

Some of those pros, like Campbell and Idylwild’s Ronnie Pfleider are still around and contributing. Babe Zaharias pro Mitch Duncan is a major asset to Honza’s efforts. They all believe in junior golf, and that is truly a blessing for kids in Southeast Texas.


Mike Brown of Groves has added his name to the hole-in-one plaque Babe Zaharias’ Duncan is putting in the clubhouse. Brown aced the 103-yard, second hole at Zaharias Friday, June 1 with a pitching wedge.

Witnesses to what was Brown’s fifth ace were Jerry Boudreaux, Johnny Page and Larry Thompson …

Lee Bertrand of Hamshire recorded his second ace Monday at Henry Homberg Golf Club. Bertrand sank his tee shot on the 125 yard, 12th hole with a 7-iron. Witnesses were Tom LeTourneau, Ivory Hatch and Bill Hammonds …

Mark Roccaforte treated himself to a round of golf at Zaharias on his 69th birthday May 31, and came away with a scorecard worth saving by shooting his age. Witnesses were Robert Lynch, Robert Bonin and Bryan Grant …

Andrew Landry continued to struggle with his consistency, closing with a 76 to finish T67 in Jack Nicklaus’ Memorial Classic, then shooting 74 before withdrawing in the Columbus, Ohio, U.S. Open Sectional qualifier on Monday.

In those two rounds, the usually steady Landry made 10 birdies, but offset them with 10 bogeys and three double bogeys. Landry is still No. 19 in FedEx points and No. 74 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but his Ryder Cup chances may be slipping away.

Landry, by the way, was the subject of a get-to-know-you feature on the Golf Channel’s Inside the PGA Tour Monday night. Lots of good stuff on Andrew, his wife Elizabeth and their baby boy …

Michael Arnaud moved a little closer to securing his PGA Tour card for 2019 with a tie for 18th in the Rex Hospital Open in Raleigh, North Carolina. The West Orange-Stark ex shot rounds of 66-70-68-68 to earn a check for $9,425 and moved from 16th to 12th on the money list …

Two thumbs up to Braden Bailey for his impressive showing in the U.S. Open Sectional qualifer at Shadow Hawk in Richmond on Monday. In case you missed it, the PNG ex fired rounds of 66-70. His 36-hole total of 136 was good for outright sixth in a field of 52 pros and amateurs.

With three U.S. Open spots available, he was only two shots off becoming the third PNG and Pea Patch alum to make it to the Open through Sectional Qualifying. The strong outing should give Bailey a big boost going into his summer schedule of high level amateur events …

Jadon Bell of Nederland shot an 83 Monday to win Boys’ 15-18 in the summer’s opening STPGA Junior tournament at Sunset Grove Country Club in Orange. Bell prevailed by three strokes over Mason Sterling of Orange and Victor Aponte of Port Neches.

Other flight winners included Xander Parks of Orange (82 in Boys 13-14), Lincoln Parks of Orange (69 in Boys 11-12), Mackenzie Sears of Silsbee (96 in Girls 15-18) and Annabel Cardenas of Beaumont (103 in Girls 13-14.) Complete results can be found elsewhere in this section.

The team of Benny Sharpe, Earl Richard, Larry Johnson and Carl Certa shot minus-4 to win the front nine Monday in the Senior 50 Plus 2-ball Game at Zaharias. On the back, the fivesome of Kenny Robbins, Ray Darbonne, Paul Duplantis, Dwayne Benoit and Paul Brown won with minus-5 …

In the Super Saturday 2-ball at Zaharias, the foursome of Joe Gongora, Don MacNeil, Jay Hampson and Ron Hicks won the front with minus 5. Minus-2 won the back for the team of Craig Fontenot, Cap Hollier and Thad Borne …

Friday’s Senior 2-ball at Zaharias saw the team of Sharpe, Bim Morrow, MacNeil and Brown take the front with minus-5. There was a three-way tie on the back between teams captained by Holler, Paul Flores and Rick Pritchett …

Format for the Thursday Senior Game at Zaharias was a four-man scramble. Tying for first at minus-8 was the team of Hollier, James Shipley and Richard Shipley and the team of Mike Lansford, Harrell Guidry, Art Miller and John LeBlanc.

Hollier won closest to the pin on No. 7 and No. 12 …

In the Wednesday DogFight at Zaharias, the team of Pritchett, Russ Gloede, Mike Rodgers and Certa finished first with 17 points. Second with 16 points was the foursome of Hollier, Morrow, Don Duplan and Tommy Duhon.

Closest to the pin winners were Morrow (No. 2), Darbonne (No. 7), Gloede (No. 12) and Richard (No. 15).

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Listed below is the schedule for the Golden Triangle Beltway Junior Golf Tour. Details on how to enter tournaments can be found at
June 21 — Bayou Din GC
June 26 — Brentwood CC
July 3 — Babe Zaharias GC
July 12 — Henry Homberg GC
July 17 — Bayou Din GC
July 31 — Tour Championship, Brentwood CC
Aug. 12 — Parent-Junior, Babe Zaharias GC

Listed below is the summer schedule of STPGA Junior Tour golf tournaments in Southeast Texas. For entry information go to
June 5 — Sunset Grove CC
June 12 — Brentwood Country Club
June 18-19 — Bruce Lietzke at Henry Homberg GC
June 18-19 — Little Linksters at Idylwild GC
June 25 — Beaumont Country Club
July 2 — Junior Old Glory at Wildwood GC
July 9-10 — YMBL Junior at Bayou Din
July 16 — TBD
July 23 — Trevor Lee Chesson at Babe Zaharias GC