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BOB WEST ON GOLF — Former LU star Daffue making PGA Tour waves

With Andrew Landry not playing his first 2020-21 PGA Tour event until this week in Las Vegas, and back problems contributing to Chris Stroud missing three consecutive cuts, the best tour story with Southeast Texas ties in the new season’s first month is MJ Daffue (pronounced Duffy).

The former Lamar University star – he was the Southland Conference player of the year in 2011 – has twice made it through the grind of Monday qualifying, survived the cut both times and last week at the Sanderson Farms championship in Jackson, Mississippi, posted a career best tie for 12th.

Getting through Monday qualifying is a major feat, considering there are often 60 or more players battling for two to four spots. Duffy, amazingly, has played his way through that minefield nine times in 14 tries on the Korn Ferry and PGA Tours.

His first big Monday splash was last July at the Workday Classic in Columbus, Ohio. Daffue shot 63 to finish in a four-way tie for one of the two open spots, won the playoff, made the cut with a birdie on his 36th hole, was tied for eighth after a 65 in the third round, then collected his first significant check ($59,830) by finishing T22.

That is not big money by PGA Tour standards but it’s huge for a guy with no playing status. Until the Workday, Daffue’s best finish not counting the APT Tour was 73rd in a Korn Ferry event. He picked up $13,266 in the Safeway last month, then, walked away with $131,010 with his strong showing – 65-69-72-69 — in the Sanderson Farms.

Daffue, who plays out of Kingwood, is in the Shriner’s Charity Classic field this week in Vegas, and he didn’t have to do it the hard way by shooting several under par on Monday. He’s in on a sponsor exemption. It will be his sixth PGA Tour start.

For those wondering why Daffue is just now starting to make waves, after graduating Lamar in 2012, it’s a long, painful story tied into a family tragedy. Based on his play the past four months, it’s a story that could be headed to some feel-good chapters.

CHIP SHOTS:

Chris Stroud, after missing his third straight cut at the Sanderson Farms with rounds 75-70, and fifth in a row dating back to last season, is headed for some down time to deal with back issues.

Stroud plans to get an injection in the back to help deal with the issues that have made it difficult for him to practice. His next tournament will probably be the Houston Open the first week in November.

Braden Bailey shot a two-under-par 70 at Boulder Creek Country Club but it wasn’t close to being low enough to Monday qualify for the Shriner’s in Las Vegas. Three players shot 63 and four more fired 64. Bailey’s 70 was 52nd in a field of 72 players fighting for four spots.

In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, there was a two-way tie at minus one between the team of Jeff Lane, Raymond Darbonne, Larry Johnson and Larry Foster and the fivesome of Bob West, Rufus Reyes, Tony Trevino, Roddy Richards and Richard Menchaca.

On the back nine, the fivesome of Calvin Landry, Joe Gongora, John House, Charlie Perez and Dan Flood placed first with minus 2.

The Friday Senior 2 ball at Zaharias saw the team of Kenny Robbins, Gene Jones, Roy Martinez and Keith Marshall take the front with minus 2. Minus 1 won the back for Doug LeBlanc, Steve Wisenbaker, Jeff Rinehart and Stuart Ellis.

All points count was the format for the Wednesday Zaharias Dogfight. Two teams – Ron LaSalle, Glenn Judice, House and Paul Brown and James Cady, Ron Mistrot, Dillard Darbonne and Flood – tied for first with 20 points.

Closest to the pin winners were Landry (No. 2), Perez (No. 7), Menchca (No. 12) and Ron Mistrot (No. 15).

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