Xander Parks leaves no doubt as state 3A champion  

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, May 24, 2023

It didn’t take Xander Parks long Tuesday morning to send an intimidating message that he had no intention of returning to Orangefield without the 3A state championship golf trophy.

Trailing Callisburg’s Bob Moershell by one shot after posting a two-under 70 on Monday, Parks stunned everyone in sight by driving the 385-yard, par 4 first hole at Jimmy Clay Golf Course. Included among the shocked were the players putting on No. 1.

Parks two-putted for a birdie to pull into a tie, took the lead for good with a birdie on the par-5, 4th, got to three-under, then cruised to a 72 and a three-stroke victory with a 142.

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Moershell, who seemingly never recovered after Parks’ opening drive, shot 76 and placed second at 145.

Xander’s brother Lincoln battled with his putting, logged an 81 and finished seventh at 154 (73-81). It was Lincoln’s second consecutive year to finish seventh at state. The sophomore has two more shots at a state title, however.

Orangefield’s team, after shooting 316 and sitting in third place after day one, added a 332 on Tuesday and wound up fourth. Other Bobcats scores included Reese Johnson 170 (85-85), Ethan Gunter 182 (88-94) and Alex Montz 197 (93-104).

Xander Parks, meanwhile, completed an impressive comeback from injury that started two weeks ago when he and Lincoln finished one-two in the 3A regional. Expected to dominate as a senior, his season looked like it might be going down the drain after back woes left him struggling to break 80.

“I am so proud of what Xander was able to accomplish,” said Babe Zaharias pro Mitch Duncan, who has been Parks instructor since he was eight. “It did not look good two months ago. David Prioux, a chiropractor whose office is on the 14th hole at The Babe, was really a difference maker in helping him with the back.

“The rest was all guts and hard work. He worked his tail off day after day, week after week. Watching him the last two days was awesome. Lots of big drives, fairways and greens. He was not going to be denied. I am so happy for Xander and his family.”

An added bonus for Xander will likely be a second consecutive Babe Zaharias Boys Junior Golfer of the Year Award next week. Lincoln, on the strength of five tournament wins during the year, had been the favorite but it would be hard to overlook regional and state titles.

CHIP SHOTS: Beaumont Country Club looked a bit like the United Nations during the opening round of the 4th Annual Beaumont Emergency Hospital Open Tuesday at Beaumont Country Club.

The field of 93 players in the Women’s All-Pro Tour event included young women from 22 states and 15 foreign countries. Texas, as you would expect, claimed the most players with 22. Florida was next with 10 and there were seven from California.

Australia and Canada topped the foreign contingent with three players each. Thailand, Colombia and India had two each. Other countries represented included South Korea, New Zealand, Scotland, Mexico and Chile.

The 72-hole event continues through Friday, with players competing for a $15,000 payoff out of a $75,000 purse . . .

Former LCM star, and three-time Babe Zaharias Award winner Jack Burke, helped Texas State win the inaugural National Golf Invitational last week in Maricopa, Arizona. In the 12-team tourney for schools that didn’t make the NCAA tournament, Texas State posted a 54-hole total of minus 7 to edge Wyoming and Penn State by one stroke.

Burke finished 21st overall in the 60-player field at one over 217 on rounds of 73-69-75. Next up for the LCM ex is the Texas State Amateur in mid June.

Port Neches-Groves golf coach David Wallace is hosting the Indian Summer Golf Camp 2023 June 19-22 at Babe Zaharias. The camp, priced at $150, is open to girls and boys ages 9-15 (incoming 4th through 9th graders), with hours of instruction 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Wallace will be assisted by his predecessor at PN-G, as well as Indian team volunteers. Deadline to register is June 12. There will be no walk-up registration. A coach to camper ratio of 6:1 has been targeted.

To get additional information on the camp or how payment should be handled, contact Honza at 409 719-3949 or email jhonz@pga.com . . .

In the Monday Senior 50 Plus 2 ball at Babe Zaharias, the team of James Vercher, Larry Johnson, Butch Cross and Don MacNeil won the front with minus 2. The back was won with minus 3 by the foursome of Ron LaSalle, Robert Gautreaux, John House and Ernie Cabangan.

Closed to the pin winners were Bob Byerly (No. 2, 11-4), Earl Richard (No. 7, 5-8), Dwayne Morvant (No. 12, 8-3) and Joe Gongora (No. 15, 3-6).

Format for the Friday Senior Game was 2-man flighted. In First Flight the team of Craig Geoffroy-Joe Gongora shot 63 to best Vercher-Byerly by three shots. The duo of Gautreaux-Morvant edged Larry Reece-Aubrey Ward by two in Second Flight with a 65.

Third Flight ended in a tie at 70 between MacNeil-Bob Luttrull and Charles Leard-Gene Jones. A 72 won Fourth Flight for Dan Flood-Stewart Ellis.

Closest to the pin winners were Flood (No. 2, 7-5), Morvant (No. 7, 4-10), Dale Carter (No. 12, 11-5) and Byerly (No. 15, 6-8) . . .

All points count was the format for the Wednesday DogFight, with the team of Vercher, Glenn Judice, Harrell Guidry and Keith Marshall taking first place with 28 points. The foursome of Johnson, Mike Kibodeaux, Rusty Hicks and Lyndon RoJo was second with 26 points.

Closest to the pin winners were Guidry (No. 2, 5-5), Marshall (No. 7, 13-8), Leard (No. 12, 2-8) and Gary Whitfill (No. 15, 4-6).

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