Incoming freshman explodes onto Southeast Texas golf landscape

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, June 7, 2023

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Based on what transpired at Henry Homberg Golf Club in a Southern Texas PGA Junior Tour event Monday, perhaps it’s a bit early to concede next year’s Babe Zaharias Boys’ Junior Golfer of the Year Award to Orangefield junior-to-be Lincoln Parks.

Lincoln, as most followers of the area junior scene are aware, wound up sharing the 2023 Zaharias Award with his older brother Xander at last week’s ceremonies at 5 Under Golf Center. Lincoln won five schoolboy events during the season, including district, but Xander rebounded from a back injury to claim regional and state titles.

With Xander headed to Jacksonville College to continue his golf career, it was logical to project Lincoln as the 2024 favorite. But that was before Chase Ion of Sour Lake exploded onto the junior scene Monday at Homberg.

Ion, who will be a freshman at Hardin-Jefferson this fall, shattered area STPGA scoring records with a 9-under-63. His round of 9 birdies and an eagle against 2 bogeys was good for a 10-stroke victory over Brayden Shellhammer of Tomball in Boys 13-14.

If the name Ion is familiar, it’s because Chase’s dad Mark played baseball at Lamar from 2001-03. The family had been living in Orlando but moved to Southeast Texas a year ago.

It sure looks like Lincoln Parks will have a worthy challenger on the schoolboy circuit in 2024.

Ion, by the way, has been invited to the prestigious Junior Masters two weeks hence in Dothan, Alabama. Also participating in that event will be 5 Under CEO Austin Williams’ son Reese, another 9th grader next year who looks like a rising star.

Other winners in that Homberg tourney Monday included Drake Andrepont of Sour Lake with a 76 in Boys 15-18. Travis Atwood of Lumberton matched the 76 but Andrepont prevailed in a playoff.

Trinity Smith of Winnie posted a 90 to win Girls 15-18 by three strokes over Ava Borne of Groves and Rylie Kethan of Orangefield. In Girls 13-14, Erin Eaves of Beaumont posted a 78 to win by 10 shots over Annie Whitehead of Lumberton.

Little Linksters competition saw Liam Kamas of League City win Boys 11-12 Red tees with a one-under-35. He topped Jay Brown of Baytown and Hudson Bolfa of Lumberton by three strokes.

The Little Linksters Co-ed 6-8, 5-hole modified was won by Tristan Ticas of Beaumont with a two-over 21. Maher Hamdan of Port Arthur placed second with a 26.

Golf news should be e-mailed to Bob West at