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BOB WEST ON GOLF — Time to test your knowledge of golf terminology

Having been around golf for over 70 years, and written about it for over 50, I would have bet you couldn’t stump me on anything to do with the game’s terminology. Then I read about some guy named Kevin Pon making a condor at Lake Chabot Golf Club in Northern California.

A condor? What the hell is that? If two people reading this column can answer correctly, I will be shocked. That includes you, Mitch Duncan.

Here’s a hint. Only four condors have ever been reported, the last in 2007. Pon’s was the first West of the Mississippi River. The chances of anyone making a condor are such a long shot there are not even any odds on it.

Tiger Woods never put a condor on his scorecard. Neither did Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson or any of golf’s greats. I doubt any of them even know what it is.

Enough with the buildup. If you answered that a condor is four-under-par on a hole, I’m impressed. It’s one stroke lower than an albatross, two better than an eagle.

Until Pon came along, the only condors on record were holes-in-one on a par 5. Then the 54-year-old, 8 handicap scored a two on the 649 yard, par 6, 18th at Lake Chabot.

If you are a bit skeptical, so was I. But Pon had witnesses, including a course marshall. Beyond that, a former newspaper reporter with the Northern California Golf Association made it a point to do a through investigation. He came away convinced it happened.

Here’s how it played out. The 18th hole at Lake Chabot is a winding hole that plays steeply downhill, then goes sharply uphill the final 100 yards or so. One of the keys for Pon was a cart path that zig zags through the middle of the fairway. Pon’s drive apparently bounced several times along the cart path.

Because of how steeply downhill the hole plays, Pon searched for his tee shot in the 300 to 350-yard range. Unable to find it, he was getting ready to drop another ball. Then he heard a marshall yelling and pointing at the ground from well beyond where he was looking.

Sure enough, it was his yellow ball with a black x on it some 550 yards from the tee.

From there, with only the top of the flag visible, Pon launched a pure pitching wedge that looked to be dead on-line. “That may have gone in,” shouted playing partner Darren Lee.

Sure enough it did. Golfers who saw the shot from behind the green cheered, although they didn’t know they had witnessed history. Course Marshall Artie Yamashita asked Pon what he made on the hole. When the answer was “a two,” he started spreading the word.

And now you can spread it further, as well as smugly challenging your golf buddies on their grasp of what a condor is.

 

CHIP SHOTS: Andrew Landry started well but finished poorly in his defense of the American Express Championship last week in La Quinta, California. After opening with rounds of 69-70, a triple bogey on a par 3 early in the third round sent Landry tumbling down the leaderboard and he never recovered.

Closing rounds of 74-74 saddled the Port Neches ex with a 72-hole total of one-under 287. That left him tied for 64th with earnings of $14,338. Landry is skipping this week’s Farmer’s Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego.

Chris Stroud, on a medical leave from the PGA Tour for three months over back issues, still isn’t sure when he’ll return. Stroud’s back is said to be improving after a change in doctors, but the earliest he is likely to return is mid-summer. Seemingly more probable is rejoining the tour in the fall.

In the Super Saturday 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of Ted Freeman, Ron LaSalle, Larry Foster and Dwayne Benoit won the front with plus one. There was a three-way tie on the back at plus two between teams captained by Freeman, Jim Cady and James Vercher.

Cady was the day’s medalist with a two-under 70.

The Friday 2 ball at Zaharias saw a tie at minus one on the front between the team of Joe Gongora, Bobby Wactor, Rick Pritchett, G.H. Player and the foursome of Kenny Robbins Troy Touchet, Evert Baker and Stewart Ellis. On the back the foursome of Vercher, Larry Johnson, Don MacNeil and Keith Marshall placed first with minus two.

Minus four won the front in Thursday’s 2 ball for the team of Robbins, Gongora, Pritchett and John LeBlanc. The back was won with minus 2 by the team of Earl Richard, LaSalle, Butch Cross and Dan Flood.

Vercher was the medalist with a 70.

The Wednesday Babe Zaharias DogFight was played in an all-points-count format. Taking first with 32 points was the team of LaSalle, Larry Reece, Cross and Glen Knight. Placing second with 31 points was the foursome of Vercher, Gary Fontenot, Art Turner and Paul Duplantis.

Closest to the pin winners were Knight (No. 2, 11 feet), Flood (No. 7, 3-3), Vercher (No. 12, 2-8), Gongora (No. 15, 2-4). Gongora was also the medalist with a 71.

The Tuesday, Jan. 19th 2 ball saw a sweep by the fivesome of Robbins, LaSalle, Paul Duplantis, John House and Baker. They were minus 2 on the front and minus 3 on the back.

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