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BOB WEST ON GOLF: Rivalry steps up to region stage

Part two of high school golf’s Mid-County Madness, also known as the 5A Region III championship, tees off Wednesday morning at La Torretta Golf Resort and Spa on Lake Conroe.

Goal one for District 21-5A champion Nederland, and the Port Neches-Groves team it dethroned, is to play well enough over the next two days to qualify for state.

But, with the Bulldogs having snapped PNG’s string of nine consecutive district titles, you have to think a bragging rights battle will be ongoing.

As opposed to last year, when PNG barely missed going to state, and Timothy Feemster made it as an individual, Nederland and its top player, Brendan Marley, would appear to have the best shot at advancing.

Nederland coach Rob Long, in fact, says he will be more surprised if Marley does not make it than if he does. As for his team, which is striving to represent Nederland at state for the first time since 1991, he says they can do it, but only if they put solid days back to back.

Marley, meanwhile, will be trying to continue a terrific winter and spring. He’s had three wins and four other top fives in eight tournaments. At the Region III preview in March at La Torretta, he finished one shot out of third.

To move past regional as an individual, he has to finish third or better among players on teams that do not qualify for state.

Unless, of course, Nederland finishes among the top three teams.

“Brendan has had a great year and is playing at a very high level right now,” Long said. “He feels good about where is game is. I think he is going to qualify for state.”

Marley’s 36-hole winning total at the district championship was 152 (75-77).

In addition to Marley, Nederland’s team includes Jadon Bell, who placed third in district, Daniel Cormier, Tyler Wallie and Charles Morgan. The low four scores each day count toward the team total, with the three lowest teams moving on to state.

PNG’s lineup features Bryce Parsley, Feemster, Dalton Shields, Paul Muse and Vic Aponte. Jason Adams qualified to play at regional as an individual. Feemster, a year ago at regional, shot rounds of 77-73 to tie for seventh overall and advance to state.

While the boys’ regional starts today, the girls regional wrapped up Tuesday. District 22-5A champ Barbers Hill placed ninth while district runner-up PNG was 14th.

The four low scores for the Lady Indians included Kassidei Hemler 219 (112-107), Weslyn Smalley 220 (100-120) Lorey Guidry 254 (130-124) and Holly Jones 265 (133-132). PNG’s two-day team total was 958 (475-483).

Nederland had two players competing as individuals, with Kiara Rodgers shooting 218 (109-109) and Emma Bruney posting a 235 (115-120).

PNG exes Andrew Landry and Chris Stroud are both playing in the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans team championship this week, but not with each other.

Landry, coming off a T33 in the RBC Heritage Classic, is paired with his former University of Arkansas teammate Austin Cook. That’s a change from last year when he and Abraham Ancer missed the cut.

Cook has one top-10 this year and is 114th in FedEx Cup points.
Stroud, after two years with Brian Stuard (T11, T28), is hooking up with long-knocking Canadian Jason Kokrak. No. 29 in FedEx points and No. 63 in the OWGR, Kokrak has three top-10s this season, including an outright second in the Valspar. …

Most important week of the season to date starts for PNG ex Braden Bailey and Baylor when they tee it up in the Big 12 Championships. This year, for the first time, the event is being played at the famed Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The Greenbrier is the site of a regular PGA Tour stop and was the home course for legendary Sam Snead from 1946-74. Snead, of course, has been in the news lately with Tiger Woods closing in on his record of 82 tour victories. …

In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2-ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of Keith Mullins, Bob Byerly, Roddy Richards and Larry Foster won the front with minus-8. On the back, the team of Don MacNeil, Gerald Huebel, Pete Reobroi, Richard Menchaca and Bob West won with minus-7. …

The Saturday Super Senior 2 ball at Zaharias saw a tie on the front at minus-1. Posting that number was the team of Tom LeTourneau, Ron Lasalle, Charles Leard, Cole Lee and Dwayne Benoit and the foursome of Ron Carlin, Troy Touchet, Mike Tibbetts and Craig Castille.

Team LeTourneau won the back with minus-5. …

In the Friday Senior 2-ball, the team of Kenny Robbins, Danny Robbins, Bob Barnes and Wes McDonald won with even. The back ended in a three-way tie at plus-2 between teams captained by LeTourneau, Rick Pritchett and Joe Gongora. …

The Wednesday DogFight at Zaharias saw the team of Kenny Robbins, Leard, Robert Stansbury and Paul Brown finish first with 19 points. Second with 16 points was the foursome of Pritchett, Crickett Owen, Rusty Hicks and Menchaca.

Closest to the pin winners were Robbins (No. 2), Leard (No. 7), Mullins (No. 12) and Steve Wisenbaker (No. 15). …

Entries are being taken for the Groves Knights of Columbus/Fetters Center Golf Tournament May 11 at Babe Zaharias. Format is a four-person scramble with an entry fee of $60 per person or $240 per team.

All proceeds benefit the Estelle and Allen Fetters Center for physically and mentally challenged adults. For more details, call the Zaharias pro shop at 722-8286.

Golf news should be submitted to rdwest@usa.net