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BOB WEST ON GOLF: First Stroud-Landry pairing nearly happened in PGA Championship

What is going to be a memorable moment for Chris Stroud, Andrew Landry, Pea Patch regulars and fans of the two Southeast Texans on the PGA Tour nearly happened this week at the PGA Championship in St. Louis. It would have been extra special against the backdrop of a major.

Stroud and Landry have never been paired together in the two years they have been on tour at the same time. On Thursday and Friday, the Port Neches-Groves exes will be a group apart, with Landry off No. 1 at 2:21 p.m. Thursday and Stroud right behind him at 2:32. On Friday, it’s 9:56 a.m. and 10:07 on No. 10.

The against-the-odds accomplishment of two Pea Patch alums even being on the PGA Tour, not to mention having won a tournament, has been well documented in this space. But it would have been such a cool moment to see them going off in the same threesome for the first time.

It could still happen if both make the cut with the same score. That’s a long shot, especially when you consider how many other times they have played the same event without ever posting the same number at the 36 or 54-hole mark.

The PGA Championship, meanwhile, carries differing priorities for Stroud and Landry, based on what has transpired thus far on the 2017-18 schedule.

For Stroud, who is coming off a season-best tie for seventh in the Barracuda Championship, it is his next-to-last shot to salvage a down year and move up enough to get into the FedEx Cup playoffs. The tie for seventh last week in Reno moved him from 160 to 148, but that is still a long way from the required 125.

On the positive side, after working with Landry’s instructor, Chuck Cook, Stroud seems to be playing his best golf in a year when his previous high finish in a full field event was T30. He can perhaps also draw on the run he made in the 2017 PGA where he finished T9 and was within a shot of the lead on the back nine the final day.

As for Landry, his year is already made. With his first victory, five top 10 finishes and over $2.5 million in earnings, his only pressure is to build on what he may someday consider a career year. Beyond the PGA, he’s guaranteed a spot in the first three FedEx Cup tournaments.

What we’re talking is four high-dollar events, plus an excellent chance to advance to the FedEx finals Sept. 20-23 in Atlanta. He is currently No. 24 in Fed Ex points. To make the finals, he needs to be in the top 30.
Landry has not played well of late, with a T55, a missed cut and a T57 in his last three starts. That doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t get it going again. Prior to his win at the Valero Texas Open, for instance, he had four consecutive missed cuts followed by a T42.

CHIP SHOTS

How his peers felt about Bruce Lietzke was underscored by the turnout for his services Monday in Athens.

Nearly 20 former PGA players and golf announcers showed up, including greats like Tom Watson, Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Curtis Strange, Lanny Wadkins and Bill Rogers.

Also in attendance were Peter Jacobsen, Bob Tway, Craig Stadler, Hal Sutton, Steve Elkington, Gary Koch, Jerry Pate, Bobby Wadkins, Jim Gallagher Jr., Phil Blackmar, Jim McLean, Mark Rolfing and Ed Fiori. …

Babe Zaharias head pro Mitch Duncan had been playing golf for 37 years without making a hole in one. The drought ended July 26 when Duncan sank a 7-iron from 165-yards on the second hole at Zaharias. The shot was witnessed by Tolan Romero of Nederland . . .

Duncan wasn’t the only golfer to author a recent ace at Zaharias. Chris Parigi of Nederland used a 50-degree wedge to score a hole-in-one from 110 yards on the 15th hole. The witness was John Parigi. …

Gary Geoffroy of Port Neches also got in on the hole-in-one action.

Geoffroy bagged his ace at Silsbee Country Club, using a 9-iron from 154 yards on No. 3. Witnesses were Tommy Prejean, Hayden White and Richard Briggs. … PNG ex Braden Bailey finished his summer tournament schedule with a strong showing in a 156-player field at the prestigious Western Amateur in Chicago. Bailey carded rounds of 67-66-71-69 at Sunset Ridge Country Club to finish in a tie for 16th in the medal-play portion of the event.

The only downer was that Bailey was eliminated in a six-way playoff for the final spot in the match-play portion of the tourney. Bailey had birdied his final hole to get into the playoff. He begins his senior season next month at Baylor. …

In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of Earl Richard, Bob Byerly, Harrell Guidry and Roger Baumer won the front with minus-4. On the back, there was a tie at minus-3 between the team of Rick Pritchett, Dwayne Morvant, Gerald Huebel and Jeff Greenway and the foursome of Benny Sharpe, Larry Reece, Bob Luttrell and Charlie Perez. …

The Super Senior Saturday 2-ball at Zaharias saw the team of Cap Hollier, Adam Noel, Bim Morrow and Robert Lynch take the front in minus-6. Minus-3 won the back for the team of James Shipley, Earl Richard, Dan Flood and Pete Reobroi. …

In the Friday Senior 2 ball, there was a tie at minus 3 on the front between the team of Craig Geoffroy, Gary Fontenot, Charles Leard and James Trahan and the foursome of Bob West, Larry Reece, Larry Johnson and Reobroi.

The back also ended in a tie. Finishing at minus 1 was the team of Craig Geoffroy, Fontenot, Leard and James Trahan and the team of Shipley, Pritchett, Gene Jones and Charles Perez. …

The Thursday Senior Game at Zaharias was played in a points format. Taking first place with plus 7 was the team of Pritchett, Trahan, Sid Ducote and Paul Brown. Second with plus 1 was the foursome of Kenny Robbins, Johnson, Paul Duplantis and Ben Thornton.

Robbins won closest to the pin on both No. 7 and No. 12 . . .

In the Wednesday Zaharias DogFight, the team of Shipley, Ray Darbonne, Roy Martinez and Roger Baumer won with 16 points. Second with 15 points was the foursome of Hollier, Johnson, Steve Wisenbaker and Don Duplan.

Closest to the pin winners were Bim Morrow (No. 2), Pritchett (No. 7), Duplan (No. 12) and Wisenbaker (No. 15).

Golf news should be emailed to rdwest@usa.net