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Golfer comes to Victoria, eats, wins Texas Senior Open

By Julie Garcia
Nov. 11, 2013 at 5:11 a.m.

Javier Sanchez, of Cape Giraradeau, Mo., acknowledges  the crowd after sinking his last putt to secure first place in the Texas Senior Golf tournament at the Victoria Country Club.

Professional golfer Javier Sanchez enjoys coming to Victoria for a few reasons.

"It's been a fun time, the weather has been nice, and the members treat us nice," said Sanchez, who won the Texas Senior Open, a South Texas Professional Golf Association event hosted by Victoria Country Club. "I like it because I have my friend, Noe Torres, here."

Before the second day of tournament play started, Sanchez filled up on menudo and tamales, made especially for him by Torres' mother.

Torres helped Sanchez when he could on the golf course during the tournament and drove his golf cart.

But Torres is no caddie for Sanchez - he's a friend.

In the 20 years since becoming a professional, Sanchez has spent his fair share of nights in hotel rooms.

"It (can be) a struggle," Sanchez said about traveling on the pro circuit. "Just leaving your family behind is a very difficult. Sleeping in different beds, pillows ... you get a crick in your neck, and you miss the cut the next day because of that."

So whenever he met Torres at a golf tournament in Victoria in 2005, they became fast friends.

Torres said he and Sanchez hit it off immediately because of the golfer's humility.

"First time we met him, he said he had a layover and wanted to know if we would play," Torres said, after Sanchez received his first place trophy. "I kind of thought, 'This guy is full of you-know-what because he's a golf pro - he don't want to play with no amateurs.'"

But Sanchez did want to play with Torres, who has been playing golf for more than 40 years, and his friends.

"What he said about us, he said 'Y'all guys are the best amateur group I have ever played with except a third baseman for the Atlanta Braves," Torres said, laughing.

"You could almost call him my brother," Torres said about Sanchez. "He comes down and has his own room. I want to make it as comfortable as I can for him.

"When he comes down here, we treat him first class. He loves my mama's tamales - Mama made him about 10 dozen tamales, so every time he comes down here, he leaves with tamales."

Sanchez started playing golf at age 22 after moving to the states from Mexico and has most recently called Cape Girardeau, Mo., his home.

This is the second year that he has participated in the Texas Senior Open, an 18-year tournament that celebrated its third straight year in Victoria.

Sanchez scored a 70 the first day and 69 on the second for a total score of 139.

Robin Byrd, of Satellite Beach, Fl., scored one hole more than Sanchez at 140.

After the final round of the PGA Champions Tour Qualifying School on Nov. 19, Sanchez plans to stay put for a while.

Sanchez was recently offered an opportunity to be a golf pro for a Cape Girardeau country club.

But the next time he finds himself in Victoria, Sanchez will have a place to stay and good food to eat.

After finishing up Monday, Sanchez and Torres walked toward the parking lot, talking about where to get lunch.

Sanchez said he wanted some tacos. But Torres disagreed.

"We're getting a good steak!"

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