BOB WEST ON GOLF — Beaumont tournament unique among scrambles

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, October 23, 2019

At a time when amateur stroke play events have pretty much disappeared in Southeast Texas, one of the survivors has been the Beaumont City Championship. Weather permitting, which it did not the last two years, a Beaumont city champion will be crowned for the 78th time this weekend at Henry Homberg Golf Course.

Except for a seven-year stretch from 1963-69, and when it was a rain-related casualty in 1982, 2017 and 2018, the tourney has been played continuously since C.T. Garth won the inaugural event in 1931. Tyrrell Park, eventually renamed after beloved course pro Henry Homberg, has hosted a high percentage of the time.

For those with an interest in the area golf scene, the tournament’s list of champions is pretty fascinating.

The most memorable name is Bruce Lietzke, who, after claiming the Beaumont City title for three consecutive years (1971-73), went on to win 13 PGA Tour events and seven more on the Champions Tour. Lietzke, who passed away in 2017, is by far the most successful male golfer tied to the Golden Triangle.

Another noteworthy former champion is Giles Kibbe, who may soon have his second World Series ring as general counsel to Houston Astros owner Jim Crane. Kibbe beat all comers for the Beaumont title in 1995 and again in 2009.

Then there was Tyrrell Garth Jr., who would raise the trophy in 1943 and 1947. Garth served notice he was going to be a force on the local golf scene by becoming the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Open. He was one month shy of 16, when he played his way into the 45th U.S. Open in 1941 at Colonial in Fort Worth.

Perhaps the most amazing winner, at least for his third victory, was Gerald Richardson. Richardson won back to back in 1988 and 1989, then stunned the young guns in the field by winning again 26 years later in 2015 at age 61. He apparently still has game, too, as an age-beating 64 at Beaumont Country Club in August underscores.

The most prolific Beaumont City Champion has been Austin Williams, the president of 5 Under Golf Center. Williams has won eight times overall, starting with back-to-back titles in 1998-99. He’s sort of the de facto defending champion, since he won the last time the tournament was played in 2016.

Williams’ chances of winning again figure to be seriously hampered by the lingering impact of injuries suffered in an automobile accident last year.

Another past champ deserving of mention is Paul Moore, who won four straight from 1990-93, then added two in 1996-97. Moore is second to Williams for most Beaumont City championships.

Former Port Arthuran Lee Comeaux was also a multiple winner of the tournament. Comeaux prevailed in 2003, 2005 and 2008.

Registration is ongoing for this year’s tournament, which is 36 holes of medal play Saturday and Sunday. Entry fee is $60. Carts cost an additional $10 per day. Anyone can enter, but the overall champion must be a permanent resident of Beaumont. Players are flighted by certified handicaps.

Call 409-842-3220 for more information. The head pro is Andy Hebert.

CHIP SHOTS

Braden Bailey obviously made a strong impression on Houston Astros owner Jim Crane with his play in the Houston Open. A couple of days after his tie for 41st, Bailey received a personal letter of invitation from Crane to participate in the grand opening of Memorial Park Golf Course.

Memorial Park, recently renovated by Tom Doak, with help from Brooks Koepka, will be the future site of the Houston Open. In part, Bailey will be participating in a celebrity tournament loaded with big names. More on that in next week’s column …

The third annual YMCA “Tee off for Kids” Charity Scramble, sponsored by Valero Energy Foundation, Drager and Stronghold, was a smashing success at Babe Zaharias, with 28 four-player teams and $66,800 raised for the Y. That’s a dramatic jump from year one in 2017 when only $11,180 was raised …

The winning team was the Motiva trio of Phillip Cole, Todd Patin and Matthew Segura. They shot 59. Closest to the pin winners were Bart Thomasson (No. 2), Russ Gloede (No. 7), Bob West (No. 12) and Wes Lowe (No. 15 . Kyle Henry claimed the long drive prize on No. 9 …

The team of Brandon Cropper, Nathan Romero, Dustin Marsh and Mike Arnaud combined for a 59 to win the Groves Pecan Festival/Groves Knights of Columbus Scramble at Zaharias Saturday. Closest to the pin winners were Shane Landry (No. 2) and Lee Comeaux (No. 12).

Marsh won long drive for players under 59. Mark Lawson had the long drive for players 60 and over …

In the Super Senior 2 ball at Zaharias Saturday, the team of Kenny Robbins, Danny Robbins, Larry Foster and James Trahan won the front with minus 4. On the back, the foursome of Calvin Landry, Cap Hollier, Harry Green and Randy Trahan prevailed with minus 3 …

Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net