Golf: Lantana's Blake Ladd unable to qualify for HP Byron Nelson Championship

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LANTANA -- Blake Ladd didn't play as well Monday as he did Thursday and thus fell short in his attempt to qualify for the 2012 HP Byron Nelson Championships.

The Lantana left-hander shot a 7-over-par 79 in the open qualifying event on his home Lantana Golf Club Course after advancing from Thursday's pre-qualifier at The Lakes at Castle Hills with a 1-under 71.

“Thursday, I putted well,” the 37-year-old Ladd said. “I knew if I putted here like I did over there I probably would have a lower score. Today, I just putted horrible. I played the last four holes six over. I was seven over for the round and six of that was on the last four holes.”

A tee shot into the water on the 15th hole for a double-bogey 5 and a triple-bogey 8 on No. 16 ultimately sealed Ladd's fate after birdies on Nos. 13 and 14. He and the other 70 professional and amateur players needed at least a 68 (four under par) to have a chance at the four available spots for the tournament that begins Thursday at TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas in Irving.

Leading the way was Houston's Patrick Reed with 64. Also qualifying were Arlington's Stuart Deane and Todd Demsey of Scottsdale, Ariz., with 67s and Professional Golfers Association Tour veteran Robert Gamez of Orlando, Fla., who won a playoff against three others who shot 68. Among other players to fall short was Flower Mound's Paul Stankowski with a 2-under 70.

Ladd, whose caddie Mike Mayes also is a Lantana Golf Club member, played on the two of the minor pro tours from 2000-04 after a red-shirt year at the University of Arkansas and four seasons at Stephen F. Austin University. He also was on the high school team in his native Sulphur Springs, losing a playoff for the Class 4A state title as a senior.

Unfortunately he didn't do well enough on the Hooters and Adams Tight Lie Golf Tours to sustain a career so he took a job in sales in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

“It was fun and great but a grind,” said Ladd, whose last professional payday came in 2004. “There was no money. You had to finish in the top 20 to get your money back. You had to have more preparation to try to advance.

“It was a one-shot opportunity I thought I'd try. My family supported me pretty good.”

Ladd's immediate family now consists of girlfriend Shannon Mullins and 3½-year-old son Liam. They moved from Grapevine last year when Ladd joined the club. He played at least twice a week for awhile, then about twice a month and only three times between December and March.

Stankowski has been gone from his Flower Mound home for 11 of the past 13 weeks moving between the PGA and Nationwide tours. The 42-year-old El Paso native has been a pro for more than two decades and continues trying to regain the form he had in the 1990s when he won five events worldwide.

“I played well, I just didn't putt well,” said Stankowski, who had three birdies and one bogey. “I didn't make any. Physically you have to get to the green but if you have make the putts you will be lapped.

“I haven't had a good tournament yet this year. I have a lot of made cuts and also have a lot like today.”

Stankowski said he may travel to Greenville, S.C., for a major Nationwide Tour event this weekend. Webb's next major events are qualifying for the Texas Open and defending his Neches Pines 4-Ball Tournament title in Diboll with partner Lance Dunaway, both later this summer.

MARK MILLER is a writer for Allen Publishing.


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