The Port Arthur News
Braden Bailey pulled off something Thursday afternoon at Bayou Din that Port Neches-Groves’ most distinguished golf alumnus, Chris Stroud, doesn’t have on his resume.
A freshman, Bailey fired his second consecutive 73 for a 36-hole score of 146 and medalist honors in the District 20-4A boys golf championship. Stroud, who finished third as a freshman, didn’t claim his first 20-4A title until he was a sophomore.
Bailey edged teammate Lonnie LaBove, last year’s 20-4A medalist, by two shots, and set the pace for the Indians’ “A” team to post a second consecutive 304 total enroute to their third straight team title with a 608. PN-G’s “B” team will also be heading to regionals after adding a 318 to Wednesday’s 311 to easily win second place with a 629.
It’s also the third consecutive year for the PN-G boys to finish 1-2 in district.
Nederland’s boys, led by a 163 (82-81) from Thaine Tillie, finished third at 667.
On the girls side, Nederland trimmed 11 strokes off its opening-day score for a 366 and a 743 total that was 32 shots better than runner-up PN-G. Felicia Sauceda paced Nederland with a 163 (82-81) but came up short in her bid to claim medalist honors for a third consecutive year.
LC-M’s Brooke Brasseaux, who finished one stroke behind Sauceda last year, shot an 80 for a 158 to prevail by five strokes. Nederland’s Shelbi Vincent was third with a 168 (85-83) and PN-G’s Blaire Brevell was fourth at 169 (89-80).
The dominance and depth of the PN-G boys went well beyond Bailey and LaBove. Indian golfers claimed the top six spots in medal competition, although Drake Hernandez needed a playoff to grab sixth place from Livingston’s Dominick Genuso after both finished a 158.
All five players on PN-G’s “A” were under 80 on Thursday, but four of them got beat by Alex Fadhli-Theiss from the “B” team. Fadhli-Theis matched Bailey’s 73 for the day’s low round and climbed into the No. 3 spot on the medal chart.
Bailey, who is the No. 9 freshman in the state, according to rankings posted by the Texas Junior Golf Scoreboard used by college recruiters, was headed to a sub-par final round until he made a double-bogey on the par 5, 13th on the Bayou Back. He offset that with birdies on No. 2 and No. 5 on his front nine on the Links Course and added a third birdie on No. 16.
PN-G, which has its sights set on a trip to the state championships, will try to take the next step on that journey in the April 18-19 regional tournament at Raven’s Nest in Huntsville. The Nederland and PN-G girls will tee it up in the regional on April 16-17 on the same course. — BOB WEST