Experienced Benton ready to make waves in 1-5A

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

It’s not common for a high school football team to see a three-year starter at quarterback, a two-year starter at running back, a record-breaking wide receiver and a reigning defensive MVP all return for another season.

There’s the reason Benton head coach Reynolds Moore can’t wait for the 2022 campaign to begin. 

If the Tigers can parlay a little luck filling a couple of holes along the line and their experience – as individuals and a program after three years in the state’s highest classification (Class 5A) – they could find themselves as a contender in District 1-5A.

“There is a lot of reason to be optimistic,” said Moore, whose bunch is coming off an eight-win season, including a first-round playoff victory against Hahnville.

Gray Walters returns for a third year under center. The 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior tossed 22 touchdowns and just five interceptions during the 2021 regular season.

Although Moore has witnessed every pass Walters has thrown for the Purple and Gold, his eyes were recently opened when a Walters highlight reel was produced.

“Sometimes when you’re around it every day, you don’t realize how good these guys are,” Moore said. “In 2022, I don’t want to take it for granted. I want to soak it up and enjoy this.”

Walters’ main weapon, Pearce Russell, broke a school record with more than 1,000 receiving yards in 2021 and posted double-digit touchdowns. If you think the 6-foot, 170-pounder Russell’s stats are hollow, think again.

“He may be the best football player I’ve ever coached,” Moore said. “He’s unbelievable.”

The running game, led by Greg Manning (13 TDs during the regular season), isn’t too shabby, either.

However, the offense isn’t without question marks. Moore admits losing a pair of guys – who combined for seven years of experience – on the right side of the line will be a challenge.

“As (the replacements) come along, we’re going to be a lot better than we can imagine,” Moore said.

Linebacker Zach Halbert, the Bossier Press Tribune’s reigning Defensive MVP, returns after a season where he amassed 73 tackles (including 13 for a loss and 4 ½ sacks), an interception return for a TD, two fumble recoveries and two blocked kicks.

By the end of the Tigers’ Class 4A era, Moore believed the program was “as good as anyone” other than perennial powerhouses Edna Karr and Warren Easton.

Over the past three seasons, Moore has again seen the Tigers progress. In 2021, Benton captured its first wins (as a member of District 1-5A) against Airline and Haughton.

“We’re seeing the hope,” Moore said. “We can compete, but we’re still a bit away. We don’t feel really good about our depth (against the best).”

However, the star power the Tigers possess has the potential to mask any weaknesses.

They’ll be tested right away in one of the best Week 1 area matchups as they face highly-touted Northwood, a former 1-4A foe.

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


A win is a win as train keeps rolling

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

OK, so last week’s miniscule profit didn’t make a dent in the retirement plan, but we moved to six straight weeks of gains and that’s all that matters.

We head to the second week of the PGA Tour Playoffs, but, again, there just isn’t much value. We’ve been crushing the world’s other Tours, so we’re headed to the Czech Open and the beginning of the Korn Ferry Tour Finals.

We had two of the top three guys entering the final round on the KFT last week, but neither could close the deal. We come right back with one of those, Taylor Montgomery, again this week.

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: +.03 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

PGA TOUR

BMW Championship

Win bet

Aaron Wise, .1 unit, +6150 (DK)

Top 20 bet

Luke List, .4 units, +400 (FD)

DP WORLD TOUR

C&C Czech Masters

Win bets

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, .1 unit, +7600 (MGM)

Thirston Lawrence, .1 unit, +2900 (FD)

Niklas Norgaard Moller, .1 unit, +6600 (FD)

Marcel Schneider, .1 unit, +7000 (MGM)

Top 20 bets

Tapio Pulkkanen, .4 units, +280 (DK)

Zach Murray, .3 units, +850 (FD)

Ricardo Santos, .2 units, +750 (DK)

Aman Gupta, .2 units, +500 (FD)

First-round leader (FRL)

Niklas Norgaard Moller, .1 unit, +7600 (FD)

KORN FERRY TOUR

Albertsons Boise Open

Win bets

Taylor Montgomery, .1 unit, +2900 (FD)

Nick Hardy, .1 unit, +4900 (FD)

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


Too many questions surround Louisiana Downs’ approach to 2022 Super Derby

More than a month before Louisiana Downs began its 2022 thoroughbred meet, new owner Kevin Preston made an attention-grabbing revelation that provided a shot in the arm for horse racing fans – especially locals.

The Super Derby was back.

“It puts us back on the map,” said Preston, the President of Rubico Acquisition Corporation — the company that purchased Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack from Caesars Entertainment and VICI Properties for $22 million in November. “It shows that this new ownership group is serious about racing, and about bringing this track back to life.”

The Super Derby, established in 1980 and a former gem on the national scene, hasn’t left the gate since 2019.

Preston’s assertion was a smart move, but appears to be irresponsible at best, likely hollow and possibly deceitful.

Wednesday, just one month prior to the supposed Super Derby Day, Louisiana Downs sent a press release to selected people and organizations stating the 2022 Super Derby was off.

In the release, obtained from other outlets, Preston said, “While we were excited to potentially bring the Super Derby back …”

Potentially?

So, if we’re to believe the original statement, this shows Louisiana Downs fans and horsemen the new ownership is not “serious about racing.”

I’m not sure what to believe.

Was there ever a plan to run the Super Derby this year, or did Preston attempt to leverage the track’s calling card to cheaply drum up interest and goodwill prior to his first meet?

Other than Preston saying the Super Derby was back, there’s not much proof. For starters, the race is not listed on The National Stakes Conditions Book, the stakes schedule at Bloodhorse.com or the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).

Plus, there was never a Super Derby Prelude on the books. In the past, the Prelude Stakes offered horsemen loyal to Louisiana Downs entry into the Super Derby. The race, roughly a month prior to the Super Derby, featured many local horses and trainers and offered the top few finishers a stakes purse and a free ticket into the track’s signature event.

Al Stall Jr. parlayed Apart’s Prelude win and a fees-paid berth for the big race into a Super Derby romp in 2010.

The only stakes events listed at Louisiana Downs in racing publications were the six races ($50,000 each) held on Louisiana Cup Day (Aug. 6).

So, a month before the race there were no details available. The track then spun the disappearance of the Super Derby as, “The race will return in 2023!” Again, no details, just a general statement and a smokescreen about Historical Horse Racing machines, pending off-track betting locations, and sportsbook revenue. Plus, a plan to place another 100 new slot machines on the casino floor, which will “increase slot revenue and further enhance the purse structure.”

Those HHRs are cool, I’m a huge fan of the sportsbook and OTBs (by the way, the Mound location was supposed to open long ago), but there is good reason to be leery.

I wonder if Downs officials realize the ramifications of the not-so-super Derby confusion. According to TOBA, the group that initiated the graded stakes process in 1973, the race was ineligible to be a graded event in 2022 and – even with a COVID exemption from 2020 — is likely ineligible to be a graded event (your chance to attract elite talent) in 2023.

“If a race is not run for two or more years or has not run in two of the last three years, it is ineligible for grading,” FOBA rules state. “Stakes races that are eligible for grading must appear in the track’s published (electronic and/or print) stakes book before the beginning of the meet with their run date and full conditions.”

Naturally, we’d love details straight from the horse’s mouth on why the Super Derby was void of full conditions and wasn’t on any calendar for 2022 despite a pledge otherwise. However, the folks in charge have repeatedly denied requests for basic information.

“We wanted to make sure people knew that we were serious, and that’s why we wanted to bring back the Super Derby,” Preston said in April. “We want to make sure it’s on people’s minds for years to come.”

What else has been promised and not delivered to local fans and horsemen?

Another freezing-cold take made by Preston early this season: “We may not be able to get (the track) back to its heyday in the ’80s, but we sure want to give it a shot.”

May not be able to? There is ZERO chance the 1980s are coming back to the Downs or any other horse track in the nation.

As the horse racing industry ran into tough times in the early 2000s, Louisiana Downs felt the squeeze.

For so many reasons, certainly not only because of the folks running the track, the crowds, purses and interest waned. One of the few things the Bossier City facility kept was the Super Derby.

Sure, it lost its Grade I status (the highest in the sport), and then its Grade II status, and then its Grade III status – now that was the track’s fault (a short-sighted move to the grass in 2017, under prior ownership). The purse tumbled from $1 million to $200,000.

But Louisiana Downs still had the Super Derby – the track’s undisputed calling card. Now, there is no chance the modern-day Alysheba is rolling into Bossier City.

The ’80s? Let’s start with a goal to get the track back among the top in the state of Louisiana.

Currently, a place like the Fair Grounds is Secretariat in the 1973 Belmont and LaDowns is aptly-named Sham.

 Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


Postseason success the standard to meet at Calvary

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Rodney Guin’s resume is stout. His program at Haughton was excellent for two decades and included a deep playoff run by a guy named Dak Prescott. When Guin crossed the river and entered the private school sector, he won a state title at Calvary Baptist.

He doesn’t need much help when it comes to leading a group of young men in pursuit of a ring, but a winning culture sure doesn’t hurt.

“It’s a big deal,” Guin said. “The (players) expect to win.”

In just about every sport, the Calvary Cavaliers not only hope to win a state championship, they expect it. Football is no different. Guin helped continue and enhance that mindset with the 2020 state crown.

Guin, and consequently the players, also take pride in Calvary’s annual choice to play the biggest and the best non-district opponents early in the season.

Calvary opens the regular season against perennial state title contender Logansport before a matchup with 5A Captain Shreve in Week 2. The Cavaliers have a date with the other member of the city’s most intense rivalry, Byrd, in Week 3.

If the Cavaliers take their lumps early, it’s for one reason only.

“Our season starts the second week of November – that’s what we’re geared up for,” Guin said. “Everything else is like preseason.”

The Cavaliers, who moved up to Division III in the LHSAA’s Select classification, aren’t without question marks in 2022. They have big shoes to fill at quarterback — the position many value as the most important in the sport.

Gone is Landry Lyddy, the state’s reigning Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year. His replacement? That’s to be determined.

Two players — junior Bryce Carpenter and sophomore Abram Wardell — are deep into the competition to be the No. 1 guy.

“We’re going to have to see them in the jamboree and scrimmage,” Guin said. “We have OCS and Union Parish. They will be well-tested early.”

The good news, Guin is geeked about the rest of the squad.

“We can be really good on defense, and we’re going to have to be,” he said. “It’s very important and I’m very pleased what they’ve been doing. And our skill guys and our lines are as good as we’ve had since I’ve been there. We just have to get that quarterback position ironed out.”

Senior linebacker Cade Bedgood and safeties Hutch Grace (junior) and Landon Sylvie (senior) are expected to lead the Cavs’ stout defense.

“We have some athletes and we are excited to see them run around,” Guin said.

No matter who emerges behind center, it’s clear, once again, the Cavaliers’ talent and that ring-or-bust mentality are going to be tough to handle come November.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Calvary back in District 1-2A for 2022 football season

Calvary’s Grace is a divine talent

Calvary, Evangel head list of district, state champions since 2012

Calvary, Byrd top SBJ list of wins over past decade


Beat the heat: Mudbugs skate into training camp

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Despite temperatures still hovering near 100 degrees, the ice at George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum is fresh and ready for another season of Shreveport Mudbugs hockey.

The Mudbugs can protect just 24 players and will carry barely more than that during the 2022-23 season, but more than 80 players will attempt to make that squad when training camp begins Saturday.

Shreveport aims to reboot following a tumultuous 2021-22 campaign. In defense of their 2020 North American Hockey League Robertson Cup, the Mudbugs were forced to climb out of a massive hole just to qualify for the postseason – which they’ve done every year as a developmental junior franchise. However, Shreveport was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.

Now, Jason Campbell and his staff are tasked with replacing roughly half the roster.

One of the newbies with an eye on a Mudbugs sweater is 17-year-old Kason Muscutt, son of general manager Scott Muscutt, the original Mudbug and a former coach of the franchise.

“I don’t look at him like a Muscutt,” Campbell said. “He’s practiced with us a lot in previous years and I’ve seen a lot of development from him just in the past year. He’s been rewarded for all the work he’s put in.”

It would be hard to imagine a better example of the impact made by Shreveport’s hockey franchise over the past two decades than if Kason Muscutt were to make the roster. But marketing isn’t the goal.

“He’s coming in as an undrafted, untendered free agent with a chip on his shoulder,” Campbell said. “He’s going to get a fair look like everybody else.

“There are a lot of different scenarios in play here, but the main thing for him, or any young guy – ‘Am I going to develop enough in the role the team sees me in?’”

In addition to sweeping changes on the ice, Shreveport made one behind the bench, too. Michael Hill, a part of three junior hockey championships during his coaching career, will serve as the Mudbugs’ associate head coach.

“He’s everything I’m not,” Campbell said. “He’s extremely organized. He has a library full of videos and practice plans and drills. He’s young and he has a good eye for the game. He wants to be heavily involved and that’s what he’s going to be.”

Training camp includes practices, scrimmages, and player appearances and runs through Aug. 20. Then, Campbell and his staff will make significant cuts prior to preseason games in North Richland Hills, Texas, and Springfield, Ill.

The 2022-23 opener is slated for Sept. 14 against the Minnesota Wilderness at the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota. The first game at The George is set for Sept. 23 against Amarillo.

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com

Photo by DEREK CONSTANTINO


Win streak moves to five weeks as Fed Ex Playoffs begin

No, we didn’t nail a 165-1 shot as we’ve done in the past, but another profitable week was delivered.

Our biggest bet of the week — Alfredo Garcia-Heredia to finish in the Top 20 – sent us to the window for a fifth-straight profitable week.

The PGA Tour Playoffs begin this week in Memphis, but I think they’re onto us. I did not find one single bet of value for the FedEx St. Jude Classic, but we have some Euro and Korn Ferry action!

Good luck and take a little bit of your profits from the past month to help make the day better for someone else.

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so if don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: +2.68 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

DP WORLD TOUR

ISPS Handa World Invitational 

Top 20 bets

Deon Germishuys, .8 units, +270 (FD)

Richard Mansell, .6 units, +135 (FD)

Joakim Wikstrom, .5 units, +750 (FD)

Matthew Baldwin, .4 units, +250 (FD)

Maverick Antcliff, .4 units, +550 (FD)

Craig Howie, .4 units, +280 (FD)

Marco Penge, .3 units, +650 (FD)

Simon Thornton, .3 units, +1100 (FD)

David Borda, .3 units, +1100 (DK)

KORN FERRY TOUR

Pinnacle Bank Championship

Win bets

Taylor Montgomery, .1 unit, +2200 (DK)

Byeong Hun An, .1 unit, +19000 (FD)

MJ Daffue, .1 unit, +4100 (DK)

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Former Parkway star Eric Brown Jr. moves quickly to Low-A

Eric Brown Jr.’s whirlwind summer continued Sunday with a near-cross-country flight from Arizona to North Carolina. After just a week at the Arizona Complex League, the Milwaukee Brewers bumped the former Parkway baseball star to their Low-A minor league club in Zebulon, North Carolina.

“It’s all happened pretty fast,” Brown told the Shreveport-Bossier Journal as he waited in baggage claim Sunday night.

Brown was the 27th overall pick in the 2022 MLB Draft on July 17 and the 21-year-old shortstop hasn’t had a lot of time to reflect on his dream come true.

Brown, his parents, his girlfriend and his hitting coach were whisked to Milwaukee to visit the big club.

“I got to walk around (American Family Field), signed my contract and I met Christian Yelich and Andrew McCutchen — guys I’ve looked up to since high school,” said Brown, who has attempted to replicate parts of Yelich’s swing.

His first on-the-field stop came in Phoenix at the ACL, where he found a somewhat rude introduction to pro ball.

“I was up against a Double- or Triple-A pitcher, and after not seeing live pitching for about two-and-a-half months, it took a second to adjust,” Brown said.

Brown recovered from the 0-for-3 debut to post a .308 batting average and a 1.009 OPS during his first week.

“The Brewers have a great video crew,” Brown said. “They send the at-bats to your phone through an app and you can watch it whenever. Once I saw those first at-bats I was able to get back into the swing of things. When I got the first (hit) out of the way, everything started to click. It was pretty awesome.”

The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder also scored seven runs and swiped four bases in 17 plate appearances.

“It’s fun to steal bases,” Brown said. “I recently added that to my game. (Cape Cod League) coach (Mike) Roberts showed me a trick to steal bases. It’s made the games 10 times more fun. Basically, I feel that when I have a single I can make it into a double.”

The Brewers wasted no time moving him to the Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon, located less than three hours from where Brown exceled for Coastal Carolina University.

The Mudcats enjoy an off-day today before game action resumes Tuesday against the Delmarva Shorebirds in Salisbury, Maryland.

“The coach texted me and said, ‘For your first minor-league game you have to travel six hours on a bus.’”

The Mudcats have barely more than a month left in the regular-season, but Brown will soak in every second, including the final series of the year, set for Sept. 6-11 at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – where his draft stock rose while with the Chanticleers.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com

https://shreveportbossierjournal.com/2022/07/18/first-round-mlb-pick-brown-to-carry-memories-of-20-into-pros/


Another bomb winner shows we are LIVing our best life

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

A few weeks ago, we nailed a 165-1 shot. This week, we rode 82-1 Henrik Stenson to the winner’s circle at LIV Bedminster. This run is insane and it certainly will end someday, but let’s just enjoy the ride.

During our four-week winning streak we’ve collected a profit of nearly 37 units!

This week, the PGA Tour hosts its final regular-season event, while it’s the Cazoo Open on the DP World Tour. We’re a little lighter on the units this week – the value just wasn’t plentiful out there.

Good luck!

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around! Remember this is a VALUE-based system, so if don’t settle for a price significantly less than the one listed. And jump on better prices!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: +9.3 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

PGA TOUR

Wyndham Championship

Win bet

Brian Harman, .1 unit, +4100 (DK)

Top 20 bets

Martin Laird, .3 units, +350 (DK)

Lucas Glover, .2 units, +500 (DK)

Matthew NeSmith, .2 units, +400 (CAE)

Kramer Hickok, .2 units, +1000 (DK)

DP WORLD TOUR

Cazoo Open

Win bet

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, .1 unit, +9900 (MGM)

Top 20 bets

Alfredo Garcia-Heredia, .6 units, +410 (FD)

Francesco Laporta, .3 units, +600 (FD)

Jazz Janewattananond, .2 units, +550 (FD)

Dale Whitnell, .2 units, +460 (FD)

Tapio Pulkkanen, .2 units, +600 (FD)

Jens Fahrbring, .2 units, +850 (FD)

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


Shreveporter makes history with college commitment

Even before he knew anything about college hockey, Kason Muscutt heard stories about what it’s like to play inside the University of Maine’s Harold Alfond Sports Arena.

“Maine has been my dream school ever since my dad told me about the environment in that building,” said Muscutt, whose father, Scott, made trips to Orono, Maine, as a member of the University of New Brunswick hockey team from 1992-97. “He felt like the (opposing) players were watching the fans instead of the fans watching you. And then they would erupt when Maine would come out.”

Kason is looking forward to a little different perspective and likely created another piece of local history this weekend. The 17-year-old Shreveport native committed to play for the Maine Black Bears, a two-time national champion.

It’s not every day Louisiana born-and-breds commit to play college hockey. In fact, Scott Muscutt, who (since 1997) has served as a player, coach and now general manager of the Shreveport Mudbugs, believes his son could be the first.

In June, Kason Muscutt participated in the 2022 USA Hockey Boys Select 17 Camp, where the best 60 players in the country showcased their talents to the top junior hockey organizations and college programs.

Muscutt was believed to be the first Louisiana-born player selected for that camp – he was certainly the first from Northwest Louisiana, where there is just a single sheet of ice (George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum) and it’s not available 12 months a year.

“It feels nice to be committed to college, there’s no question, but the work is really just now starting,” said Kason, who visited the Maine campus last week. “I still have a lot of work to do.”

That work will continue at The George, where Muscutt will attempt to make the 2022-23 Shreveport Mudbugs roster when training camp begins Aug. 12.

“I don’t really have any expectations,” the 5-foot-10, 160-pound Muscutt said. “I’m going to do what’s given me success – I’m going to work my butt off.”

The Mudbugs have won two national championships in the North American Hockey League, which features 16-to-21-year-olds. Unlike many athletes, who enter college immediately following high school, hockey players often play in junior leagues past the age of 20 before they enter college.

Former Mudbugs captain David Breazeale, 22, is set to enter his sophomore season at Maine. When will Muscutt don a Black Bears sweater? That’s anyone’s guess.

“It’s not necessarily going to happen when I want it to happen, it’s a matter of when I’m ready,” Muscutt said. “(Maine) is not committing me now because they think I’m ready to play Division I hockey right now. They see the potential and I’m going to work harder than ever to get there.”

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


LIVing large as golf season winds down

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Another week, another profit on the links for Lang’s Locks. And, dang, we barely missed another massive haul. We won nearly two units and had win bets on the runners-up on the PGA Tour (Sungjae Im) and Korn Ferry Tour (Taylor Montgomery). What could have been!

However, we will never complain about a profit. We’re up more than 31 units on the year. That’s remarkable. We’ll do our best to give some back this week with three different Tours (including LIV).

Not feeling much on the PGA Tour this week, but we hit the European Tour pretty hard and have a foursome of win tickets in play at LIV’s third event.

The PGA Tour field isn’t terrific and things will get very interesting after the FedExCup is complete. Who will stay and who will bolt? Until then, let’s see if we can grind out another profitable week! Good luck!

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: +1.8 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

PGA TOUR

Top 20 bet

Dylan Fritelli, .1 unit, +650 (FD)

EUROPEAN TOUR

Hero Open

Top 20 bets

Oliver Wilson, .9 units, +850 (FD)

Jacques Kruyswijk, .7 units, +600 (FD)

Brandon Stone, .5 units, +360 (FD)

Callum Skinkwin, .5 units, +200 (FD)

Scott Jamieson, .5 units, +360 (FD)

Andrew Wilson, .4 units, +900 (FD)

LIV GOLF

Bedminster

Win bets

Sam Horsfield, .1 unit, +4100 (FD)

Charles Howell III, .1 unit, +3350 (FD)

Eugenio Lopez-Chacarra, .1 unit, +11000 (FD)

Henrik Stenson, .1 unit, +8200 (FD)

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


Most-famous Furr? Tour player Wilson, Bieber-backed Prentiss back each other

TOTTENHAM, Ontario — Wilson Furr is only 24, but he already owns a strong golf resume. The former University of Alabama star played in last year’s U.S. Open, was a member of the 2016 United States’ Junior Ryder Cup team and is currently playing on PGA Tour Canada.

However, the oldest of Bill and Denise Furr’s three children may have already lost the title of the most-famous Furr.

In fact, he’s fast-becoming known as “Prentiss’ brother.”

Wilson’s brother, Prentiss, is just 15 years old, but is a musical prodigy who has already been endorsed by superstars like Justin Bieber, Skrillex and Meghan Trainor.

While Wilson aims to play in this week’s Ontario Open, Prentiss will deliver a Saturday night set at one of the biggest music festivals in the world, Lollapalooza, in Chicago. Later this summer, he’s playing in the Rose Bowl.

“It’s pretty wild,” said Wilson, who also has a sister, 21-year-old Hartwell.

On any given day, Wilson will learn his brother is working on a collab with a mega-star or the family home in Jackson, Miss., is being visited by Rolling Stone magazine.

“Watching Wilson’s golf career was so different,” Denise Furr said. “It was a slow learn but I had mothers like Beth Burns (Sam’s mom) to show me the ropes. Music is completely different — everything is out of right field. It’s so opinionated; there is not a score. It was like, ‘People really like Prentiss’ music and the New York Times is flying in.’”

Next week, it’s L.A. to meet with Interscope records and to film a music video.

“It’s become a little too normal,” Wilson Furr said. “It’s become a running joke — it’s always crazier than the last week.”

Then 13-year-old Prentiss’ big break came after the release of October. He’s since delivered a multitude of hits he crafted in his home.

“I was about to go to a date party in college,” Wilson said. “It was 9 p.m., I was about to leave and I looked at Twitter and saw a headline on a Barstool tweet that said, ‘13-year-old can rap.’ I was thinking, ‘I don’t think I’ve had too much to drink, that’s (Prentiss).’

“He had no idea. I FaceTimed him and he was doing math homework.”

Said Denise Furr: “Wilson told us, ‘He’s about to blow up.’ I almost didn’t believe it. Then we had our lawyer call and ask, ‘Why is Justin Bieber promoting Prentiss?’ We said, ‘We have no idea.’

“The creative minds know other talent and they are so supportive — no matter your age or color or wherever you’re from.”

Like many upstart musicians, there have been doubters in the family.

Wilson describes his grandparents as “old South.” Getting behind a young teenager trying to become a music star seemed far-fetched, even “trouble.”

However, the grandparents never miss an Ole Miss game. At the 2020 Egg Bowl (the Rebels’ annual clash with rival Mississippi State), October suddenly blared inside Vaught–Hemingway Stadium.

“It dawned on them at that moment,” Wilson said. “Prentiss is famous.”

Although Prentiss could be the next Bieber, he still looks up to his big brother.

“We are more alike than you’d think,” Prentiss told The Journal. “I still look at him as just an older version of me.

“Golf and music require a ton of mental strength and time. I grew up watching him spend every day on the golf course, most of what he was thinking about was golf and he gave his whole life to it. I took that mentally going into music because I knew it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I have to give my time and energy to it and never let one fall or one bad thing stop me from the bigger picture.”

As two careers rise, Prentiss had a great idea of how to celebrate in the future. He recently took up golf and has his eyes on the biggest PGA Tour event that combines a professional with one amateur partner and is played at iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links.

“Prentiss came to me and says, ‘Let’s team up in the AT&T National Pro-Am,’” Wilson recalled. “I said, ‘Yeah, dude, that would be sick.’ But then he said, ‘But, yeah, you have to get your (stuff) together.’

“The more I thought about it, he’s right. He’s probably closer to getting invited as a celebrity than I am qualifying as a pro.”

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


When you’re on a roll, you hit the Cazoo Classic

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The train kept chugging along last week as the best Top 20 bets in both the British Open and the Barracuda Championship cashed. We didn’t hit for 23 units like the prior week, but we added more than 3 units to our season profit. 

A little lighter slate this week despite three events, but we are eyeing the Cazoo Classic on the European Tour … well, just because!

We did spread five win bets around the Korn Ferry Tour event. Good luck!

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: +3.17 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

PGA TOUR

3M Championship

Win bets

Sungae Im, .2 units, +2000 (CAE)

Matthew NeSmith, .1 unit, +5500 (MGM)

Top 20 bets

Tom Hoge, .4 units, +350 (DK)

Doug Ghim, .4 units, +320 (CAE)

C.T. Pan, .3 units, +290 (FD)

EUROPEAN TOUR

Cazoo Classic

Win bet

Callum Shinkwin, .1 unit, +5500 (MGM)

Top 20 bets

Jens Dantorp, .4 units, +250 (MGM)

Simon Thornton, .2 units, +1400 (MGM)

KORN FERRY TOUR

Price Cutter Championship

Win bets

Taylor Montgomery, .1 unit, +3025

Pierceson Coody, .1 unit, +3470 (DK)

Erik Barnes, .1 unit, +7050 (DK)

Yechun Yuan, .1 unit, +3470 (DK)

Byeong Hun An, .1 unit, +9900 (DK)

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


Cooking the stats is a recipe for failure, not victory

I eat, breathe and sleep numbers.

When I was a child, I’d wake up, grab the newspaper and immediately turn to the sports section (shocker). The next stop: the stock page to record and chart prices.

The scoreboard pages, loaded with statistics, schedules and standings, were my domain. I didn’t just study them, I lived them.

Stats don’t lie.

Well …

This week, the Ouachita Citizen uncovered a local version of Statgate. The gaudy 2021 season numbers of former Calvary football quarterback Landry Lyddy, the state’s reigning Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year, were exposed as inflated.

The original number of passing yards submitted by Calvary of more than 4,200 were reduced to over 3,300. The story also said Lyddy’s 53 touchdowns were really 40, but that was wrong. The 53 TDs were correct.

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way.

Fudging the numbers doesn’t change a single thing about Landry Lyddy the quarterback or the person. In fact, those stats are now irrelevant. Louisiana Tech has a heck of a talent with an impeccable work ethic. The Bulldogs have a great young man, too.

As a member of the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, I was honored to present Lyddy with the 2021 Mr. Football award at Calvary’s graduation day awards ceremony. I’d introduce Lyddy again tomorrow, whatever the event, whatever the honor. He’s always been gracious with his time. He’s humble, respectful and carries himself like a champion.   

However, submitted statistics frame major awards like Mr. Football and the Gatorade Player of the Year. Voters, many of whom have never seen the players in person, are often armed with nothing more than stats and the local media representative’s campaign when it comes down to casting a ballot.

Lyddy probably would have collected the same number of postseason awards with his real stats, but the inflated version likely helped voters view him as a no-brainer.

If the touchdowns truly had been marked up by 13 I would have no problem with stripping Lyddy of the honors. It wouldn’t hurt him. He’s got his scholarship, he’s been at Tech for months and his career is ahead of him. Any resulting success will be determined by what happens moving forward, not by prior awards.

The rise in yards is egregious and harmful, but this ordeal isn’t unique to Calvary or to football. It’s fortunate the two people this affects the most, Lyddy and Calvary head coach Rodney Guin, didn’t have a hand in the farce.

Guin, who immediately reviewed the numbers when questions were raised, took full blame even though he had nothing to do with the recording or distribution of stats. He could have thrown the offending party under the bus, but simply leveraged his first-class reputation from 40 years of coaching.

It wasn’t in Guin’s DNA to expose the offender. This situation adds, not subtracts from his legacy.

The LSWA has already said Lyddy is and will remain their Mr. Football. I bet the Gatorade folks (if this even hits their radar) will have the same approach.

This sets a dangerous precedent.

What will deter someone from cooking the books? Where’s the breaking point for taking action? Two-thousand fake yards? Twenty touchdowns that didn’t exist? One-hundred bogus rebounds?

Situations like this will fuel the doubters, especially when a player actually compiles video-game stats (like Lyddy’s real numbers were). That’s certainly not fair.

The media has a role in this, too. We need to continue to be gatekeepers and can flush out such atrocities. We’ve done it before and will do it again.

The awful tradition of padding stats needs to cease – at every level, in every sport. Your players, your sons and your daughters will be OK with their real statistics next to their names. In fact, they should own them – good or bad.

 Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


‘Walk through pits of hell’ by Shreve’s Schnell saves UFC career

AND HE WON: A broken nose and swollen eye are simply part of the job for Captain Shreve graduate Matt Schnell, who recorded one of the most exciting victories in UFC history Saturday.

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Sunday, nearly 24 hours after he authored an unforgettable 90-second rescue mission in New York that changed his life and his career, Matt Schnell finally had a moment to reflect at his home near Houston.

The man nicknamed “Danger,” who’d left his opponent unconscious and incredibly bloodied inside the Octagon in one of the most thrilling fights in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) history, was reduced to tears.

“Of course, I’m thinking about (my Mom) the whole time, but five minutes ago it hit me hard,” Schnell, whose mother, Vertie Hebert, passed away in March, told The Journal. “I do my best to remember her. She would have been so happy.”

Saturday, the Captain Shreve product preserved his UFC career with a victory that rocked the MMA world.

“I could have gotten my pink slip,” said Schnell, whose UFC contract ended Saturday. “I could have been on the outs. That changed my life, but I’ve always believed you can never count me out.”

In the first round of the last fight of his UFC contract, Schnell, the No. 8 contender in the Featherweight Division, was a unanimous 10-9 winner over Su Mudaerji. However, “The Tibetan Eagle” found his range early in the second round. He often staggered — and once knocked down — Schnell with a fury of fists and devastating elbows.

“Jesus Christ. The guy got rocked five or six times and it looked like it was over, like he was out,” UFC president Dana White said.

Incredibly, Schnell didn’t succumb to Mudaerji and began to flip the script with an occasional right hand.

After getting pummeled for 2 ½ minutes of the second round, Schnell executed a takedown and was suddenly in a dominant position on the ground, where he took his turn delivering a litany of elbows.

Moments later, Schnell transitioned to a triangle choke that put Mudaerji to sleep with 36 seconds left in the round.

“He had full control, but I think he tired himself out punching on me,” Schnell said. “He’s one of the best guys I’ve ever had stand in front of me. I’ve never been hit like that.”

Schnell and Mudaerji earned $50,000 each as recipients of “Fight of the Night.” White said the bonuses for Schnell wouldn’t end there.

“He’s not getting another 50 (thousand), but I’ll probably write him another (check),” White said. “He killed it tonight. He looked incredible.”

Schnell will likely be considered for other honors such as Fight of the Year and Comeback of the Year.

While the bonuses and accolades are great, more importantly, Saturday’s turn of events likely allowed the 32-year-old Schnell to retain control of his career path. After collecting a mountain of fans with his performance on Long Island, Schnell (16-6) hopes he’s part of the UFC card when it returns to New York and a historic venue in November.

“I’m up for a new contract,” Schnell said. “I could not give a rat’s ass about a few thousand dollars. I want that new deal and I want that Madison Square Garden slot. I just want to keep on working. The UFC always treats me well.

“Are there guys better than me at individual aspects of this game? Absolutely,” said Schnell, whose three wins via triangle choke are the second-most in UFC history. “Is there anybody in this world better than me at everything? I don’t know.”

Two months ago, Schnell fought in the wake of “Momma Danger’s” death, but was unable to secure the storybook finish in a first-round submission loss to Brandon Royval.

“It’s probably a more interesting story that I didn’t (win then),” said Schnell, whose wife, Morgan, is expecting his second child (a son) in January. “Life is not a freaking fairy tale just because something is supposed to happen — that’s not how it works. You have to earn it. Sometimes you have to walk through the pits of hell to make it happen.”

Contact Roy via email at roylangiii@yahoo.com

Submitted photo


Former Parkway star eyes spot in first round of Sunday’s MLB Draft

PANTHER POISED TO LEAP: Parkway product Eric Brown Jr. became one of college baseball’s best players at Coastal Carolina and should make the leap to pro ball Sunday evening.

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

As the most important day of his baseball career approached, Eric Brown Jr. had a simple, but eye-opening, request – especially for a 21-year-old.

“Can you call some other people, too?” Brown asked The Journal. “My story isn’t just me. Everyone in it has played a big role and I would like them to be a part (of the story), too.”

You see, Brown’s journey to the 2022 Major League Baseball Draft has been lathered in gaudy statistics and accolades, but the former Parkway star has weathered his fair share of gutting moments. And the people who helped make him a potential first-round pick Sunday are the same folks who offered unwavering support when things didn’t look so great.

“My Dad (Eric Sr.) was a military guy,” Brown said. “He’s responsible for my structure and the motivation to be the best every day. My Mom (Debbie) has been my rock throughout my life. Eddie Fitzpatrick has been my hitting/fielding coach since I was 10 years old. He changed my life. I’ve been dating my girlfriend (Lauren Kirkley) for a year. She’s the one I can vent to.”

As a precursor to 2022 MLB All-Star Game festivities, the Draft will begin at 6 p.m. (CDT) on Sunday in Los Angeles with the first two rounds (televised on MLB Network and ESPN). Monday will feature the next eight rounds (MLB.com); the final 10 rounds take place Tuesday (MLB.com).

Brown won’t be in LA Sunday — well, not that LA. Instead of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, he chose to hang with Team Brown for a watch party at Frozen Pirogue in Bossier City.

“It’s going to make the moment 10 times more special to share it with them,” Brown said.

Brown is coming off another big season at Coastal Carolina. As a junior, Brown hit .330 with seven home runs and 40 RBIs. He posted a 1.004 OPS and added 12 stolen bases for the Chanticleers.

In conference games only, the 2022 Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year led the way in doubles (14) and ranked in the top 10 in a multitude of categories, including: batting average (.360), hits (40) slugging (.667), on-base percentage (.450) and runs (33).

His glove isn’t bad, either.

“He was the best defensive player I’ve ever coached against,” said Glynn Maynor, the Haughton baseball coach and former District 1-5A foe.

ESPN MLB insider Kiley McDaniel projects Brown to be the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first pick. Brown’s father, Eric Sr., has heard his son could go anywhere from the middle of the first round to the middle of the second round.

As for Eric Jr., he won’t make the mistake of listening to the draft noise again. Three years ago, Brown allowed himself to be convinced he was going to be drafted coming out of Parkway.

“I had really high hopes,” Brown said. “I told Mom when I was a kid that I was going to get drafted by the New York Yankees, just like my favorite player, Derek Jeter. When I didn’t get picked, it was a mental shock to me. I thought it was going to happen and it got ripped away.

“It was one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with.”

It wasn’t the first surprise for Brown during his prep career. When Brown, who was offered by Louisiana Tech as a sophomore, made his decision to commit to the Bulldogs, he was told there was no longer room in Ruston.

Despite the fact his college offers now stood at zero, Brown didn’t panic. Instead, he traveled to Atlanta that week and raked in the World Wood Bat Tournament.

“It was the best tournament of my life. It was insane,” Brown said. “I walked away with 17 offers.”

This time, he wasn’t going to take his time.

Immediately after Brown’s team was bounced from the tournament, his family jumped in a car and drove to Conway, South Carolina to visit Coastal Carolina. The Browns arrived on campus about 9 p.m. and coach Gary Gilmore gave them a tour of campus until about 1 a.m.

The next day, the Browns drove another 17 hours to visit Dallas Baptist University.

DBU offered everything and was just three hours from home. However, Brown didn’t choose the easy route.

“I wanted to go somewhere I was different and could be different,” Brown said. “I also wanted to help people grow in their faith.

“Being 14 hours from home, I had to mature faster. Being at Coastal helped make me take ownership of every aspect of my life.”

Given how his son has responded to prior disappointments, Eric Sr. is confident the future is bright no matter what Sunday offers.

“I expect him to go where God wants him,” Eric Sr. said. “If he goes there, he can go the 25th round and I will be satisfied. In that case, there is no failure.”

Read more about Brown’s journey as a baseball player/young man and his draft fate in Monday’s editions of the Shreveport-Bossier Journal.

Eric Brown Jr. file

 Age: 21

High school: Parkway

College: Coastal Carolina

Position: Shortstop

Bats/throws: R/R

Height/weight: 5-10/190

Email Roy at Roylangiii@yahoo.com.

Photo courtesy of Coastal Carolina Athletics


Boom! 165-1 winner sparks massive profits

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

The loyal followers of this series know we’ve been stalking a massive week, while collecting a profit along the way. The near misses have been frustrating.

Well, we finally nailed that bomb we’ve been so close to nailing. Trey Mullinax was a pick at 165-1 here last week. His birdie putt on the final hole at the Barbasol Championship was glorious. In addition to Mullinax, our biggest play of the year, a 2-unit ticket on Taylor Pendrith to finish in the top 20 hit as well. When the smoke disappeared, we were left with a profit of nearly 23 units. I repeat, TWENTY-THREE UNITS.

I hope you cashed in big. I did!

Now, those weeks are going to be few and far between, but if you’ve read this series, you know my goal is to quietly make profits and then sprinkle in a huge week like this.

In addition to the British Open, we have another opposite field event on the PGA Tour, the Barracuda Championship and its modified stableford scoring system.

We don’t go as hard as last week, but hopefully we can continue the momentum with another haul.

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: Plus-22.56 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

BRITISH OPEN

Win bet

Ryan Fox, .1 unit, +8235 (DK)

Top 20 bets

Dean Burmester, .7 units, +650 (DK)

Laurie Canter, .5 units, +1100 (DK)

Sam Horsfield, .5 units, +600 (DK)

Adri Arnaus, .5 units, +650 (DK)

Jordan Smith, .4 units, +450 (DK)

Richard Mansell, .4 units, +1100 (DK)

Wyndham Clark, .4 units, +650 (DK)

PGA TOUR

Barracuda Championship

Win bets

Taylor Pendrith, .3 units, +2930 (FD)

Joseph Bramlett, .1 unit, +7600 (FD)

Callum Tarren, .1 unit, +8235 (DK)

Niklas Norgaard Moller, .1 units, +8990 (DK)

Top 20 bets

Taylor Pendrith, 1.3 units, (140) FD

Niklas Norgaard Moller, 1.1 units, +410 (FD)

Joseph Bramlett, .9 units, +300 (DK)

George Coetzee, .8 units, +550 (FD)

Callum Tarren, .8 units, +320 (FD)

Matthieu Pavon, .6 units, +500 (FD)

Kevin Tway, .6 units, +700 (FD)

Scott Gutschewski, .6 units, +1000 (DK)

Charley Hoffman, .5 units, +600 (FD)

Chad Ramey, .5 units, +500 (FD)

Contact Roy at RoyLangIII@yahoo.com


Dak Prescott ready to use clean mind, body to take next step

A year ago, Dak Prescott prepared for his sixth NFL season under a cloud of uncertainty. A compound ankle fracture and dislocation suffered during the 2020 season left the former Haughton quarterback battling mental and physical roadblocks.

Prescott quelled his concerns and the doubters with 16 starts – he missed Week 8 due to an injured calf. He threw a franchise-record 37 touchdown passes (his previous high was 30 in 2019) and completed a personal-best 68.8 percent of his throws.

It’s no wonder why Prescott can’t wait for the 2022 season.

“I feel great,” Prescott said as training camp looms. “Not being restricted (by the leg) – I’m able to participate in every drill, everything. It counts, it matters, especially being able to get reps with these young guys – a young receiving corps, a young team.”

The Cowboys’ receiving corps will look very different in 2022. Gone is No. 1 option Amari Cooper, who compiled 292 catches and 27 touchdowns in 3½ seasons in Dallas, and Cedrick Wilson (fourth on the team in receiving yards in 2021).

Michael Gallup tore his ACL last season and could miss a few weeks at the beginning of the 2022 campaign.

CeeDee Lamb is the expected top target, but the Cowboys added former Pittsburgh second-rounder James Washington and selected Jalen Tolbert out of South Alabama in the third round of this year’s draft.

“We’re going to have to count on those guys,” Prescott said. “I’m excited for those guys to get their names known. There are guys who will be huge for this offense whose names aren’t known yet.”

In addition to being forced to rely on a young receiving corps, has Dallas shifted its focus in the backfield?

Although former workhorse Ezekiel Elliot eked out a 1,000-yard season and 10 touchdowns, Tony Pollard averaged 5.5 yards per carry (to 4.2 for Elliott) and hauled in 39 passes (to 47 for Elliott).

Heck, maybe Dallas is set to employ three viable options to carry the ball.

A healthy leg and a lean body could lead to more designed quarterback runs, something Prescott embraces with a perspective that’s evolved over the years.

“It’s risk versus reward,” Prescott said. “I have to keep in mind why the run play was called – to get yards, get the first down and get out of bounds.”

Prescott’s availability for the next play is the most important factor.

“I’m leaner, but not faster,” he joked. “They aren’t calling those for me to stiff arm and run over people.”

Prescott may have surprised many with another productive season in 2021, but not many were stunned by another one-and-done performance by Dallas in the postseason.

Like the man (Tony Romo) he shockingly took the reins from in 2016, Prescott has elite fantasy football numbers, but one playoff victory in his first four playoff starts.

Prescott hopes being in the “best” shape of his life helps his team take the next step.

“I’m so much further along than I was last year at this point,” Prescott said. “I can take care of my whole body, not just focus on my leg, and it has been a huge difference. My confidence is through the roof.”

The leg, the stats – that’s all good, but the only way to consider 2022 a success is to eradicate the postseason cloud that’s hovered over the Metroplex for the past 27 years.

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


Lang’s Locks: We attack a pair of PGA Tour events

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

We had a very solid week, outside of the second installment of LIV Golf. Eugenio let us down and dropped us to a small overall loss last week.

This week, we pelt a pair of events, the Scottish Open (a co-sanctioned PGA Tour event) and the Barbasol Championship. Another weak field in the States should play into our hands. As a result, we fire more than usual win bets and strong T20s.

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: minus-.74 units 

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

PGA TOUR

Barbasol Championship

Win bets

Chase Seiffert, .2 units, +9900 (DK)

Taylor Pendrith, .2 units, +2550 (FD)

Seth Reeves, .1 unit, +33200 (DK)

Austin Smotherman, .1 unit, +4900 (CAE)

Tyler Duncan, .1 unit, +4900 (DK)

Trey Mullinax, .1 unit, +16500 (DK)

Brice Garnett, .1 unit, +12400 (DK)

Scott Gutschewski, .1 unit, +19900 (DK)

Greyson Sigg, .1 unit, +6150 (DK)

Max McGreevy, .1 unit, +49900 (DK)

Top 20 bets

Taylor Pendrith, 2 units, +220 (DK)

Austin Smotherman, 1.2 units, +320 (DK)

Paul Barjon, .7 units, +550 (DK)

Greyson Sigg, .7 units, +300 (DK)

Chase Seiffert, .7 units, +400 (DK)

Brice Garnett, .7 units, +400 (DK)

Taylor Moore, .7 units, +260 (DK)

Vincent Whaley, .7 units, +350 (DK)

Doc Redman, .6 units, +450 (DK)

Trey Mullinax, .5 units, +550 (DK)

Kramer Hickok, .5 units, +320 (DK)

Scott Gutschewski, .5 units, +600 (DK)

Tyler Duncan, .5 units, +260 (DK)

Scottish Open

Top 20 bets

Sungjae Im, .5 units, +240 (FD)

Joaquin Niemann, .5 units, +270 (FD)

Jordan Smith, .4 units, +400 (DK)

Matthieu Pavon, .3 units, +1600 (DK)

Grant Forrest, .2 units, +2000 (DK)

Dean Burmester, .2 units, +700 (DK)

Luke List, .2 units, +450 (FD)


Shreveport provided some of ex-Mudbug MacPherson’s ‘best days’

NORTH RUSTICO, Prince Edward Island – As the dinner crowd files in, owner Forbes MacPherson quickly shovels a napkin into a dustpan at Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers and Restaurant.

The task may seem remedial to some, perhaps beneath others, but reflects the attention to detail and unselfish commitment to excellence that made “Forbie” a legend nearly 2,300 miles and seemingly a lifetime away.

In his previous life, MacPherson played seven seasons during three different stints (1998-99, 2000-05, 2006-07) with the Mudbugs in Shreveport-Bossier City. He is a former team captain and ranks in the top-five in every major offensive category on the franchise’s all-time lists, including a No. 2 ranking in career assists (273), points (412), postseason assists (38) and postseason points (60).

“When I think about Shreveport, the two things I think about are the (Presidents Cup) championship (1999) and the relationships,” MacPherson said. “We had a core group of players that stayed there for so many years. I hate even mentioning names because I don’t want to leave anyone out.

“If I sat in a room with 10 or 12 of those guys tomorrow, it would be such a great feeling.”

MacPherson, who recently turned 50, just completed his 12th season behind the bench as the head coach for his alma mater, the University of Prince Edward Island. Six years ago, he and his wife, Amy, purchased Fisherman’s Wharf Lobster Suppers. They are raising a son, Owen (16), and daughter, Hayden (14).

“We had some amazing years in Shreveport with a lot of special people,” MacPherson told The Journal.

Scott Muscutt, the original Mudbug, was a teammate to MacPherson during the UPEI product’s rookie season in Shreveport. Muscutt then recruited MacPherson back to town after he became the head coach of the Mudbugs.

“Forbes is the ultimate professional,” Muscutt told The Journal. “He probably understood the game better than anyone we had.

“He was a professional who truly understood being relentless doesn’t mean you were always ‘the guy.’ Being that go-to guy means you understand how to play those 60 regular-season games to win those 16 or 12 or however many games it takes to win a championship.”

Following his Mudbugs’ career, MacPherson served as the assistant coach for the Texas Brahmas under Dan Wildfong before he returned home for the job at UPEI.

“He’s a dynamic person,” Muscutt said. “Breaking into coaching, especially University coaching, in Canada is a slippery, tough slope. For him to have the stability and success he’s had tells you everything.”

The MacPhersons’ restaurant features a 60-foot “salad bar,” but the name doesn’t do it justice. The bar features all-you-can-eat items such as steamed Island Blue Mussels, their famous seafood chowder, rolls and assorted desserts.

“Amy is the engine behind Fisherman’s Wharf,” MacPherson said.

Always a stressful arena, restaurant ownership was made even tougher due to the pandemic, which shut things down for a year and forced heavy restrictions for another year. But from his time on the ice, MacPherson already knew plenty about handling stress.

A cousin to NHL superstar Sidney Crosby, MacPherson registered several memorable moments in teal and purple, including an electrifying overtime goal at the then-CenturyTel Center in Game 4 of the 2004 President Cup Final to give Bossier-Shreveport a 3-1 series lead against Laredo.

“The people of Shreveport, the booster families – they were just a big part of my life.”

“When you look over the course of your life, there are still shots that can capture a decade. Other than the bad back from killing too many of Dan Wildfong’s penalties, I wouldn’t give anything back from my time in Shreveport. He got all the glory and I got the bad back,” MacPherson joked.

Owen wasn’t around to watch his dad excel on the ice, and his humble father isn’t one to brag. However, somehow, Owen recently realized he’s got a lot to live up to with the MacPherson name.

A couple of weeks ago, he said, “Holy freak, Dad, did you play for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ farm club (St. John’s of the AHL) for a while?”

A typical, taciturn Forbes MacPherson response followed: “Yes, I did.”

There are a handful of names and numbers hanging from the rafters of George’s Pond at Hirsch Coliseum. If the Mudbugs decide to make an addition, MacPherson and his No. 15 are an obvious choice for consideration.

“He’s been on the short list for quite a while,” Muscutt said. “Most people don’t know how much he brought to the Mudbugs. A lot of great players we had come through here to help us win championships were players Forbes MacPherson helped bring to town. His pipeline was really strong.”

MacPherson would be honored to join the elite names and numbers near the roof, but it won’t change how he views Shreveport.

“That’s for other people to decide, but all I can say is my time in Shreveport was some of the best days of my life,” MacPherson said. “We lived life to the fullest. We played so hard and had so much fun. It was such a great decision to go there and keep going back. It was nothing but the best.”

Forbie file

Stat: All-time Mudbugs rank

Regular-season games played, career (413): 5th

Regular-season goals, career (139): 4th

Regular-season assists, career (273): 2nd

Regular-season points, career (412): 2nd

Regular-season plus-minus, career (plus-109): 4th

Postseason games, career (72): 4th

Postseason goals, career (22): 5th

Postseason assists, career (38): 2nd

Postseason points, career (60): 2nd

Contact Roy at roylangiii@yahoo.com


On this tour, players and caddies will do anything to keep dream alive

WASKESIU LAKE, Saskatchewan – Determined to create another memorable week, Matt Chemago was armed with only a bus ticket, a tent, and a fishing rod. No, this isn’t the beginning of an outdoors tale in the Canadian wilderness, but rather a young man setting the table for a week on PGA Tour Canada.

Many associate “Life on Tour” with private jets, luxury hotels, fancy dinners and playing for multi-million-dollar purses. That can certainly be true on the PGA Tour, where millionaire stars like Rory McIlroy and Sam Burns often make up 150-player fields that include the absolute best in the world.

However, the stories on the feeder tours, like PGA Tour Canada and the PGA Tour Latin America – equivalent to Double-A baseball — aren’t lathered in glitz and glamour. In fact, most of the players are siphoning money in the search of their big break.

At last week’s event, the Elk Ridge Open, you often saw six players to a small cabin (with one shower) and players bunking together in hotel rooms.

Many players carry their own clubs to save on costs or hire a local kid for $35 (Canadian) a day. Your math is correct, that’s less than minimum wage. The stories are legendary.

Even for the caddies. That brings us back to Matt Chemago.

When the second stop of the 2022 PGA Tour Canada season hit Chemago’s hometown of Edmonton, he signed up to loop as he had over the past several years. He was assigned to Luke Schniederjans, a former Georgia Tech star.

Things went well in Edmonton, aside from Chemago’s breakfast (a muffin) getting swiped by the course dog on the range prior to the final round. After a 23rd-place finish by Schniederjans, Chemago made his boss for the week an offer he couldn’t refuse.

If Schniederjans would have him, Chemago said he’d loop for him at the Tour’s next stop here at Elk Ridge. Schniederjans obliged and agree to pay his looper $500 for the week.

Chemago didn’t drive, but rather bought a ticket for a NINE-hour bus ride to Waskesiu Lake.

He arrived in town with nothing more than that tent and a self-proclaimed ability to fish. His campground, on beautiful Waskesiu Lake, is a 10-minute drive from the course.

He didn’t have a bike, much less a car. His idea was to barter fish for a bike rental. One gracious local offered up a new Specialized bike for the week – no fish needed as payback.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature delivered nothing but rain and some cold temperatures last week – every day, all day. Schniederjans played nine holes on Thursday and never hit the course again as the Tour cancelled the event late Saturday morning.

Was Chemago’s effort for nothing? No chance.

Schniederjans took the kid, a stranger less than two weeks ago, out of the cold, saturated campground and offered warmth in his cabin.

“It was great to meet and hang with Matt the last couple weeks out here in Canada,” Schniederjans told the Journal. “Almost everybody that I have come across up here has been very nice and generous and he was no exception.

“It’s obviously very helpful to have someone carry my bag for the two weeks, but it was also great to have someone with such a chill and easy-going perspective on life.”

Sunday, the Elk Ridge Resort put up $43,000 for an 18-hole shootout for players who were still in town. Chemago got one more – perhaps, last – chance to carry the bag for Schniederjans.

“It’s been unbelievable,” Chemago said. “To be around these guys – they operate at such a high level. With Luke, he’s a fantastic human being, first and foremost. His golf game is phenomenal. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

“I’m comfortable (in the tent), but it was a very nice gesture and indicative of Luke and who he is as a person.”

PGA Tour Canada’s next stop: Prince Edward Island. The event begins Thursday.

Chemago won’t make this trek – Schniederjans’ father, Ollie, will meet his son on the island and take the bag. However, when the Tour returns to this part of Canada, who knows.

“We’ll see where things go. If (Luke) wants me, I’ll be there,” Chemago said.

PEI is “just” a 44-hour drive from Waskesiu Lake.Some players – and maybe a caddie or two – may try that route. No matter their choice of travel, it won’t be easy, and it certainly won’t be cheap.

However, the guys on this Tour – and their caddies — will do anything to keep the dream alive.

Contact Roy at Roylangiii@yahoo.com


Lang’s Locks: Another nice win streak snapped at U.S. Open

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

We were teased for a while by Aaron Wise, but ultimately did not cash the big ticket at The Country Club. First losing week in a bit, but we’re right back at it with another big week in the tumultuous golf world. As the game has been turned upside down, we’re just here to make a profit. Our second LIV opportunity comes next week.

For now, we’re playing the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the Korn Ferry Tour. Good luck!

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor!

Shop around!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: minus-2.7 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

PGA Tour

Travelers Championship

Win bets

Sungjae Im, . 1 unit, +3025 (FD)

Si Woo Kim, . 1 unit, +9900 (DK)

Top 20 bets

Anirban Lahiri, .3 units, +650 (FD)

Tyler Duncan, .2 units, +750 (DK)

Martin Laird, .2 units, +750 (DK)

Lanto Griffin, .2 units, +600 (DK)

Lucas Glover, .2 units, +600 (DK)

Troy Merritt, .2 units, +500 (FD)

DP WORLD TOUR

BMW International Open

Win bet

Sergio Garcia, .2 units, +2125 (FD)

Top 20 bets

Billy Horschel, .9 units, +105 (FD)

Sergio Garcia, .9 units, +120 (CAE)

Dean Burmester, .4 units, +250 (CAE)

Ross Fisher, .3 units, +370 (FD)

Victor Dubuisson, .3 units, +500 (FD)

Daniel Van Tonder, .2 units, +600 (FD)

Paul Waring, .2 units, +600 (FD)

KORN FERRY TOUR

Live and Work in Maine Open

Win bets

Logan McAllister, .1 unit, +19900 (MGM)

Erik Barnes, .1 unit, +3125 (FD)

Jacob Bridgeman, .1 unit, +5455 (MGM)


Lang III Classic: Golf loses ‘World’s Greatest Putter’

(This column was written for Father’s Day, 2004)

Unless there is a playoff, someone will raise the silver trophy at the U.S. Open on New York’s Long Island today. With the final round slated for its usual spot — on Father’s Day — it’s a sure bet the winner’s acceptance speech will get emotional when reminiscing about how his father introduced him to the game of golf.

So many father-son teams — from pros to Sunday hackers — have developed special bonds because of the wonderful game and its traditions. And this day offers a great opportunity to reflect on them.

I am grateful for the fact I played more than 1,000 rounds of golf with my father. But, unfortunately, I took every single one for granted. And after spending three years wanting an opportunity to take just one more trek over 18 holes with my dad — one I’d make sure to appreciate — the hope came to a disappointing end Tuesday. My father succumbed to a battle with cancer at 79.

It was his time.

Undoubtedly, the golf world will not blink — not only was my father not a professional, his handicap never dipped below 10. However, my dad was golf’s most passionate member. He not only loved to play the game, but he cherished its rich history and took pride in being an ambassador of the steep traditions.

Golf wasn’t just a sport or a game to my dad — each and every swing became a learning experience. He took to heart golf’s title as a “gentleman’s game.” To him, golf taught etiquette, forced self-control and inevitably would humble any person who attempted to chase the little white ball. He appreciated how everything learned in golf could be applied in many areas of life.

I unknowingly learned so much during our time together on the course — about life, about my dad and about golf. My father often said his favorite thing in the world to do was play golf with his son. Thanks to my shortsightedness — despite his age — I always believed there would be thousands of rounds of golf to come for the both of us. Now, more than 20 years into my golf career, I am finally beginning to realize how much the game meant to me and my relationship with my father.

From Day 1, Dad made it clear he would support my chase for a real golf career — whether it was traversing each fairway I played in competition or coming up with entry fees. At the same time, I never felt pushed to play — something from which many parents of children in athletics could learn plenty.

I played the sport because I loved the competition — that began at about the age of 10 thanks to the $2 Nassaus with my dad. The man who possibly watched me play more rounds than we actually played together always had fun on the course.

It was the one place I was allowed to curse in front of him. He did not tolerate throwing clubs or pouting, but inconspicuous swearing was 100-percent acceptable. He thought the world of the game, but knew the frustration and pain it often unleashed. Despite the multiple generation gap, he’d act like the child when I was in the early stages of my then-blossoming career.

His enthusiasm was contagious. He thought it was the greatest thing when my competitors would come up to him during a tournament and ask “What’s Roy?” He wouldn’t have to say a word, just hold up (or down) a few fingers. Three upside-down fingers meant I was 3-under. We never needed an electronic scoreboard; we had my father. He knew what hole everybody was on and where they stood.

One thing I didn’t get from my father was his golf swing. He was a human metronome and as consistent a player as I’ve ever seen. Although his handicap always stayed between 12 and 17, he broke 80 just twice — an even-par 72 in the early 1970s and a 78 with me about 15 years ago. With each par he made down the stretch that day en route to his 78, for once, my score became irrelevant.

I finally realized the joy he had felt all those years while standing in my corner. I suddenly became the biggest fan of my biggest fan.

His round concluded with another dose of the best advice he ever gave me on the golf course. Before sinking his final putt, he muttered his trademark phase, “I’m the world’s greatest putter.” There was no putt he couldn’t make — or so he thought. His confidence paid off. He was one tremendous putter.

During his 50-year golf career, the only thing he didn’t do was make a hole-in-one — boy how he wanted one of those. Of course, I haven’t had one either; maybe it’s not in the Langs’ cards. When I do make one, my celebration will be bittersweet and extremely emotional.

While my professional golf career never materialized, he made it quite clear how proud he was. Instead of looking for me on the leaderboards on the Internet, he read my stories. Golf is still a huge part of my career and he said, “There’s always the senior tour.”

Despite a frustrating absence from the course the past few years, golf meant so much to my father until the very end. “Golf is a great game,” was the last thing he said to me when I saw him for the final time. And fittingly, a Florida golf course will be where his journey on this planet ends.

After giving up the grind of competitive golf over the past few years, I have not been able to enjoy a round of golf. I guess it’s no coincidence considering I haven’t had my mentor in the passenger seat of the cart or there coming off each green.

Hopefully, I can take some of his love for the game forward with me, because when I introduce the wonderful game and all it has to offer to my sons or daughters, I want to be as good a spokesperson for golf as my father. I thought the days of having a gallery were gone when I gave up tournament golf, but that’s not true.

I’ll forever be disappointed we never got to play that final round, but in my mind there’s no doubt he’ll be with me — for every shot I take.

Contact Roy via email: roylangiii@yahoo.com


Lang’s Locks: Controversial LIV Golf an opportunity for all to make money 

By ROY LANG III, Journal Sports

Another week, another profit. This week, a new adventure.

Thanks to the launch of LIV Golf, there is an additional opportunity to make some dough on the links! We dip our toes into the short field with a couple of top-10 bets for the event in London.

On the PGA Tour, we head to the only stop in Canada. The system has produced some of the biggest top-20 bets of the season, so let’s see what happens.

Good luck!

Notes

All bets are measured in units. For instance, if your normal bet on a game is $100, that is one unit. If the bet is listed as .2 units, it’s a $20 bet.

Best line (as of Tuesday) is listed in parenthesis. Find the best price, one key to being a successful sports bettor! Shop around!

Sportsbook legend

CAE: Caesar’s

FD: Fan Duel

MGM: Bet MGM

DK: DraftKings

BS: Barstool

LANG’S LOCKS

Last week recap: +.49 units

THIS WEEK’S SELECTIONS

 PGA TOUR

Canadian Open

Top 20 bets

J.J. Spaun, 1 unit, +430 (FD)

Adam Long, .8 units, +500 (DK)

Doug Ghim, .7 units, +410 (FD)

Joseph Bramlett, .5 units, +900 (DK)

Kramer Hickok, .5 units, +900 (DK)

Scott Gutschewski, .4 units, +1000 (FD)

Dean Burmester, .4 units, +700 (DK)

J.T. Poston, .4 units, +500 (DK)

Patrick Rodgers, .3 units, +500 (DK)

Vincent Whaley, .3 units, +700 (DK)

Danny Lee, .3 units, +900 (DK)

LIV GOLF

LIV London

Top 10 bets

Hennie Du Plessis, .6 units, +320 (FD)

Hudson Swafford, .3 units, +360 (FD)


Former local tennis star nearly nets (golf) Tour win in a pinch

VICTORIA, British Columbia – Tuesday, Shreveport’s Cotter Wilson landed on Vancouver Island without his luggage, but with no worries because a relaxing week — outside the ropes – at Philip Barbaree Jr.’s PGA Tour Canada debut was in store.

Little did he know his competitive juices – he’s a former five-star recruit and No. 1-ranked high school tennis player in Louisiana — would boil again when he was ushered onto the front line in a battle for a victory on a golf course, unfamiliar territory, with a relative stranger.

“I thought they were joking,” Wilson told The Journal regarding the pressure cooker he landed in on Sunday.

Wilson, a 23-year-old former Ole Miss tennis star, was pressed into duty as a caddie – for the first time in his life. His job? Loop for the co-leader in the final group of the first PGA Tour Canada tournament in nearly three years.

“Within a couple hours of landing in Victoria, they told me to be ready for the weekend because Cooper (Dossey) was going to need someone on the bag for him,” Wilson said.

PGA Tour Canada rules give players the opportunity to carry their own bag for the first 36 holes. However, competitors who qualify for the weekend must employ a caddie. Dossey, a Baylor product and longtime friend of Barbaree, Wilson and I (as PBJ’s regular caddie for more than six years now) stayed at an Airbnb for the week.

Dossey, a former Baylor star, has been on a heater since the fall. He may be the only human on the planet with two sub-60 tournament rounds in the past nine months – 59 at the first stage of Korn Ferry Qualifying School (Golf Club of Houston in September) and a 58 at OakWing Golf Club during an APT Tour Event in Alexandria in March.

This week, he was fueled by three pizza dinners and four straight trips to Marble Slab Creamery in downtown Victoria. Dossey carried his own bag and opened with rounds of 67-66 at Uplands Golf Club to climb into the top 10 midway through the event.

One misstep on Friday caused PBJ to miss the cut, but he was a star for his buddy on Saturday. Barbaree, who hadn’t carried a bag since his high school days, had the best seat in the house and played a significant part in Dossey’s dazzling 6-under 64 that vaulted him into a tie for the lead at 13 under.

“It’s always fun to have a buddy carry the bag for you,” Dossey said. “Walking 18 with Phil in the third round gave me peace and comfort. We had a blast. I don’t think there was ever a point in the round where I got nervous. He kept me calm and confident in my game. He did such a good job of forgetting about missing the cut and helping me win a golf tournament — that’s not easy to do and for that I’m so thankful. I’m excited to travel the rest of Canada with Phil this summer.”

However, Barbaree – starting the long trip home to Shreveport — wasn’t available to help on Sunday.

Wilson began his day by driving Barbaree to the airport at 6:30 a.m. and then watching his favorite tennis star, Rafael Nadal, capture his record 22nd major championship with a French Open title.

That afternoon it was time to put on the caddie bib for the first time ever.

“Even though my only contributions were some encouragement and a few jokes, it felt fun to have a dog in the fight and be a part of some competitive action,” said Wilson, whose parents, Lauren (Centenary, SMU) and Grady (LSU), played tennis in college. “I had a blast out there. Between seeing one of my best friends play and getting to caddie for the first time, it definitely made my week in Canada memorable.”

Wilson got the full caddie experience. Not only was he on the leader’s bag most of the afternoon, he weathered a caddie’s worst nightmare – rain. Dossey led by two strokes when play was briefly suspended and wound up one stroke out of a playoff.

“Today was one of those days where the small margins show up big time,” said Wilson, who estimates he’s played 15 rounds of golf in his life – not one since midway through the pandemic. “I can remember a lot of matches where it felt like the win was right on my racket, but you’re always aware that there’s more work to be done, so you do your best to stay present in the moment. Sometimes you clutch up, others you don’t. You have to live with it and be ready to fight the next time you can. No one wants to admit it, but the nerves always turn up a couple notches in those moments.

“It doesn’t matter how long it has been since you last competed; every athlete would agree that closing is the toughest thing in sports. Cooper battled hard down the stretch and he finished well, but there are definitely a few putts that he’d like to have back.”

A 15-under total – 8 under on the weekend – fell just short. However, Dossey briefly heads back to the States in third place in the Fortinet Cup standings (the top 10 at the end of the season earn Korn Ferry status).

“Coming into the week, I didn’t know Cotter too well. I leave knowing him very well. He is such a good man of faith and encouraged Phil and me so well this entire week,” Dossey said. “He made it fun today and that’s all I needed. Although we didn’t get the win, I feel like I’m leaving Victoria with a victory in gaining a brother in Christ.

“I’m extremely grateful for Phil, Cotter and Roy this weekend. They encouraged me, pushed me to be better and made me laugh when I needed it. Edmonton (the next stop on the Tour) isn’t ready for our crew.”