Bob West: Chris Stroud encouraged by strong showing in Mayakoba event

Published 12:07 am Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Port Neches-Groves exes Chris Stroud and Andrew Landry continue to go in different directions on the fall portion of the 2019-20 PGA Tour.

Stroud authored four solid rounds of 66-70-70-67 to finish tied for 18th at 11-under-par 283 in this past week’s Mayakoba Classic. It was the third consecutive made cut for Stroud in four starts, earned him $106,200 and elevated him to No. 128 in Fed Ex Cup points.

After shooting 76-78 to miss the cut in the Safeway Open, the former Lamar All-America has been in the 60s in five of 12 rounds and has averaged 68.9. Even more important, he’s not been hampered by back issues that are his major concern for a season in which he must finish in the top 125 to retain his playing card.

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Stroud seemingly passed a major physical test Sunday when he was able to play 36 holes without apparent problems. The fact he shot 67 on the final 18 holes had to be encouraging. He’ll know more about the back after the quick turnaround for this week’s RSM Classic at Sea Island, Georgia.

Landry, meanwhile, continued to struggle at Mayakoba, with rounds of 72-71 that missed the cut by a stroke. It was the fifth time in six fall tournaments and the third consecutive tournament that Landry didn’t make it to the weekend.

Only twice in three PGA Tour seasons has Landry missed more than three straight cuts. In 2016, his first year on tour, he came up short in five consecutive starts. He was over the cut line four straight times during one stretch in 2018.

Like Stroud, Landry must finish in the top 125 to keep his PGA Tour card. One reason he probably isn’t in panic mode is that two weeks after the four missed cuts in 2018 he won the Valero Texas Open. As most top players understand, there’s often a fine line being going home early and turning it around.

This week’s RSM, by the way, is the final regular PGA Tour event until the Jan. 9-12 Sony Open in Honolulu. That should give both Landry and Stroud extra incentive to want to close out 2019 on a positive note.

CHIP SHOTS: Braden Bailey got his first taste Monday of trying to qualify his way into a PGA Tour event this week and he’ll likely chalk it up as a learning experience. Bailey, hoping to join Landry and Stroud in the RSM field, shot even par 70 at Brunswick (Georgia) Country Club to tie for 56th.

There were four spots available in a field of 114 players and it would have taken a 64 to claim one of those openings. Since he didn’t make it to the final stage of the Korn Ferry Q school, Bailey does not have a place where he can regularly play in 2020. His tentative plan is to enter several Monday qualifiers on both tours.

Because he made the cut in the Houston Open, Bailey isn’t required to play in the pre-qualifiers necessary on the PGA Tour just to earn the right to get into a Monday qualifier. That’s a much bigger deal that it might seem, in terms of time, travel and money . . .

West Orange-Stark ex Michael Arnaud, who won on the Korn Ferry Tour in 2018, then lost his card in 2019, has earned a spot in the KF Q School set for Dec. 12-15 at Orange County National in Winter Garden, Florida.

Arnaud, who whose wife gave birth to a son last week, secured his place at the Q school by tying for 15th at the second stage qualifier in Dothan, Alabama. He shot rounds of 73-69-72-70 for 280 . . .

Cap Hollier of Groves pulled off the most spectacular shot of the week at Babe Zaharias. Hollier, playing in one of the Senior 2 ball games, dribbled his tee a little over 100 yards on the short, par 4, 4th. He followed up by sinking a 165-yard 4 iron for an eagle 2 . . .

The team of Earl Richard, Larry Reece, James Trahan, Freddie LeBlanc and Rick Morales won the front in Monday’s Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias. They were minus 1. On the back, the team of Kenny Robbins, Raymond Darbonne, Dan Flood and Dwayne Benoit finished on top with even par.

In the Super Senior Saturday 2 ball at Zaharias, the team of Mark Lawson, Rick Pritchett, Jeff Rinehart and Benoit won with minus 1. On the back, the foursome of Ted Freeman, Paul Flores, Rufus Reyes and Stewart Ellis placed first with plus 2 . . .

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