El Paso Will Have Someone to Cheer on PGA Tour
It was great to see El Paso’s contributions to the PGA Tour displaying their
wares at Santa Teresa Country Club on Oct. 29. Touring pros came here to promote
the First Tee Program that was started by former LPGA winner Kristi Albers and
helps so many kids. Watching the pros hit balls at a clinic prior to a skins game was absolutely
breath taking. The power, the accuracy, the consistency is far, far beyond the
J.P HAYES AND Paul Stankowski took the $5000 top prize in the skins game after
beating the teams of Chris Baryla-Rick Todd and Kristi Albers-Rich Beem in a
playoff. All three teams had tied at the end of five holes. It was heart-warming to see Hayes on the winning team. You see, Hayes, unlike other successful pros who got their start in El Paso, has made El Paso his
permanent home. “I guess my family and I could move somewhere else,” he told me, “but I love the
city, the people, the climate.”How can we not love him back?
There’s other good news about Hayes. We’ll be able to follow and root for him
throughout 2011 on the PGA Tour. He’s cinched finishing among the top125 money
earners on the tour this year which means he’s exempted from having to qualify
for any of the 2011 PGA tournaments. Going into this week’s final meet, Hayes
had earnings of $862,523 and ranked 83rd among all money winners
Life is good for one of the good guys.
CHRIS BARYLA may wind up living in El Paso, too. He and his fiancée plan to
marry in December. He’s originally from Canada. I’m still in awe over Baryla’s first drive on the first hole of the skins game. It’s 456 yards long. The 28-year-old former UTEP star had only about 100 yards
left for his second shot, which means he hit his drive about 350 yards. Wow. And
that’s despite the fact he underwent hip and back surgery this year.
No wonder he already has a Nationwide Tour win, has qualified for the PGA Tour
and has earned close to half a million dollars.
And wouldn’t it be grand to have not one, but two El Pasoans to follow
throughout next year.
P.S. – The clinic and Skins game netted the First Tee Program a tidy $12,000.
TRIVIA QUESTION: Nearly every baseball fan knows the distance in baseball from
the mound to home plate (60’6”) and from base to base (90’), but what is the
distance between home plate and second base? Answer at end.
SPEAKING OF good guys, the team of Good Guys from Team Casa Ford won the recent
Pug Gabrel Memorial Golf Tournament of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Helen Gabrel, wife of the late UTEP football star, presented the trophy to Jesus
Fernandez, Luis Moguel, Yamil Yanar and Tony Aguilar.
MANY EL PASOANS still consider baseball the greatest of all sports, and they
showed it at this year’s induction banquet of the El Paso Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Lancers Club on the eastside was completely sold out.
Former Major Leaguer Butch Henry, like J.P. Hayes above, expressed his love for
El Paso in his induction speech and said he was born here, lives here and plans
to spend the rest of his life here.
Other inductees included former UTEP star and current high school coach Joey
Pennies, Frank Del Toro, who like Pennies is a former Miner and coach, and a
couple of super umps – Shawn Lehigh and Gilbert De La Rosa.
Kudos to president Bob Osborne and his hard working board of directors.
ANSWER to trivia question: 127 feet.
Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626,
by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or online at www.raysanchezbooks.com