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BOB WEST ON GOLF — Stroud, Landry, Bailey set for Port Arthur The Magazine profiles

Much has been written in this column over the years on the Port Neches-Groves trio of Chris Stroud, Andrew Landry and Braden Bailey, as they evolved from junior golf standouts, to college stars to professionals.

It is always gratifying as a writer to see those you covered in their youth blossom into the kind of talents capable of excelling at the next levels. As a diehard golfer who could only dream of going where they have, it’s been a thrill to be along for the ride.

What all three have accomplished, of course, is even more impressive because of their roots at the Pea Patch. It defies all of golf’s conventional wisdom for a single player, much less three, to be able to accomplish what they have coming out of that background.

Three guys from the same high school playing in a PGA Tour event, as was the case at the recent Houston Open, is so rare I’m aware of only two other documented cases this century. One involved a seriously upscale boarding school in Nashville, the other was Bubba Watson’s high school in Milton, Fla.

Were it not for the pig-headed PGA Tour’s refusal to pair the Pea Patch alums together the first two days, it’s a story that would have gotten national exposure. As it was, the Stroud, Landry, Bailey connection got plenty of attention in the media center.

All of this reflecting is a buildup to a terrific opportunity extended to me by Port Arthur News publisher Stephen Hemelt. He inquired about my interest in doing separate profiles on the trio in upcoming issues of Greater Port Arthur The Magazine. I couldn’t say yes fast enough.

The pieces afford a chance to examine where each came from, how they arrived at where they are and what is on the horizon. With more space than in the typical golf column, it’s going to lead to a more up-close-and-personal look at three guys who have given Southeast Texas an impressive golf presence.

Stroud will be first in the January issue, with Landry to follow in March and Bailey scheduled for May. The Stroud story has already been written and, because of how Chris opened up, the feeling here is that readers are going to walk away with added admiration for what he has accomplished.

CHIP SHOTS

In the Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of Gary Hanan, Gerald Huebel, Ronnie Richards and Paul Duplantis won the front at minus 2. The same score won the back for the foursome of Cap Hollier, Dwayne Benoit, James Trahan and Rick Morales . . .

The Saturday Super Senior 2 ball at Zaharias saw the team of Earl Richard, Hollier, Harry Green, Larry Foster and Stuart Ellis take the front with minus 2. On the back, minus 2 was the winning number for the team of Adam Davis, D. Owens, Adam Noel and Cole Lee . . .

Sixteen points won the Wednesday Zaharias DogFight for the foursome of Mike Brown, Thad Borne, Steve Wisenbaker and Morales. The team of Joe Gongora, Rufus Reyes, Rick Pritchett and Robert Lynch claimed second with 14 points. Closed to the pin winners were Randy Monk (No. 2) and Butch Cross (No. 12) . . .

In the Tuesday, Nov. 26 Senior 2 ball, the team of Ted Freeman, Doug LeBlanc, Lee Bertrand and a ghost player won the front with minus 1. On the back, the foursome of Bob West, Don MacNeil, John Jessen and Thad Borne placed first with minus 2 . . .

Tiger Woods will be back in action starting today at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Though the Hero is not an official PGA Tour event, its 18-player field is pretty salty. Eight of the world’s top 12-ranked players are teeing it up with Tiger. All 18 players are in the top 50 in the OWGR.

Television coverage is available on the Golf Channel from noon to 3 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday. NBC carries the Saturday conclusion from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Golf nostalgia will be dripping Saturday and Sunday when the Golf Channel and NBC carry the 20th annual PNC Father-Son Challenge from Orlando. Stars from the past, like Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player, Hale Irwin and John Daly compete in a 36-hole scramble format with their sons.

Criteria for a spot in the 20-team field is having won a major or the Players Championship. Annika Sorenstam, who will be teamed with her dad, is set to become the first female in the tourney.

Golf Channel coverage is 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 to 11 a.m. Sunday. NBC follows up from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday.

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