BATON ROUGE - The LSU men's golf team overcame a five-shot deficit to the Houston Cougars by firing an even-par 288 in Tuesday's final round to capture its first tournament title of the fall season with its victory at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate Hosted by Graeme McDowell at Shoal Creek Country Club.
Houston followed in second place with a score of 5-over par 869, while North Texas took third place at 9-over par 873, host UAB took fourth place at 12-over 876 and Memphis took fifth place at 13-over par 877 to trail the tournament champion LSU Tigers in the team standings.
Despite making the turn in fourth place in the final round, the Tigers caught fire down the stretch and shot 5-under par as a team on the back nine to emerge victorious with their first win of the season.
"We got off to a really poor start today. It was surprising to me that we got off to such a poor start today," said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. "That's something that we certainly need to work on. But they did rally and play really well down the stretch. We played very well on the back nine today, especially for the last two or three holes. We were probably double digit strokes behind at one point.
"Houston gave a couple back to start the back nine, and we made a few birdies to get us back in a position to win it. I know we made three birdies on 17 and another birdie on 18 to stretch it out at the end."
Jolly and Thompson enjoyed a breakout championship as they not only scored their first top-10 finishes at the collegiate level, but they were crowned tournament champions for the first time as LSU Tigers as they shared co-medalist honors with Rodolfo Cazaubon of North Texas. The trio matched the 54-hole record at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate with identical scores of 6-under par 210 to take the title.
Cazaubon entered Tuesday's final round with a one-shot lead over the Tiger tandem after 36 holes of play in Birmingham after wrapping up Monday's action at 6-under par for the week.
While Cazaubon carded an even-par 72 in the final round, Jolly and Thompson closed the gap by shooting equal scores of 1-under par 71 to tie Cazaubon for the individual title with career-low 54-hole scores of 6-under par 210. The co-medalists finished three shots clear of the rest of the championship field.
Jolly set a career-best for the second time in as many tournaments this season as he opened his sophomore season by tying for 11th place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic with a score of 2-under 214.
Thompson also enjoyed his best collegiate finish as he twice set a career-low at even-par 216 and earned a career-best by tying for 13th place at the Argent Financial Classic last spring.
A third LSU sophomore also earned his first career Top 10 finish in a 54-hole tournament as Myles Lewis tied for fifth place on the final leaderboard while playing as an individual this week. Lewis wrapped up an impressive week with an even-par 72 in Tuesday's final round for a final score of 2-under par 214 after he carded rounds of 2-over 74 and 4-under 68 on Monday's opening day of competition.
Junior All-SEC performer Andrew Presley also added an even-par 72 toward LSU's team total in the final round while tying for 16th place at 2-over par 218. Freshman Zach Wright tied for 36th place overall at 11-over par 227 while junior Smylie Kaufman tied for 43rd place at 13-over par 229.
"We have some good young players on this team," Winstead said. "What else can you say about how they played this week? Stewart Jolly and Curtis Thompson played very well. Myles Lewis had a great event as an individual. We saw some great things throughout our lineup here this week."
By firing an even-par 864 in 54 holes, the Tigers equaled the second-lowest team score at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate as the Tennessee Volunteers also posted an 864 in the inaugural event in 2005.
The Tigers set the tournament record of 1-under 863 in winning the 2005 team title in the first tournament of the Chuck Winstead era. With LSU's win at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate on Tuesday, Winstead tied Mike Barbato as the second-winningest coach in school history as the Tigers have now captured a total of 15 tournament titles since he was appointed head coach for the 2005-06 season.
The Tigers will return to action in 11 days when they play host to the fourth-annual David Toms Intercollegiate on Oct. 6-7 at the University Club in Baton Rouge. The Tigers will then finish up the 2012 fall season on Oct. 21-23 with an appearance at the prestigious Isleworth Collegiate Invitational to be held at Isleworth Golf and Country Club in Windermere, Fla.
SHOAL CREEK INTERCOLLEGIATE - FINAL ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 864)
1. LSU 286-290-288 - 864 E; 2. Houston 292-279-298 - 869 +5; 3. North Texas 288-293-292 - 873 +9; 4. UAB 292-285-299 - 876 +12; 5. Memphis 290-288-299 - 877 +13; 6. North Florida 292-295-293 - 880 +16; 7. Tulsa 289-289-303 - 881 +17; 8. Kennesaw State 296-292-305 - 893 +29; 9. Southern Mississippi 313-298-298 - 909 +45; 10. Dartmouth 309-296-308 - 913 +49; 11. Southeastern Louisiana 301-305-311 - 917 +53.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 216)
T1. Stewart Jolly, LSU, 70-69-71 - 210 -6; T1. Curtis Thompson, LSU, 69-70-71 - 210 -6; T1. Rodolfo Cazaubon, North Texas, 68-70-72 - 210 -6; 4. Wesley McClain, Houston, 72-68-73 - 213 -3; T5. Myles Lewis, LSU, 74-68-72 - 214 -2*; T5. MJ Maguire, North Florida, 73-68-73 - 214 -2; T5. Jimmy Beck, Kennesaw State, 70-73-71 - 214 -2; T8. Will Pearson, Memphis, 74-71-71 - 216 E; T8. Carlos Ortiz, North Texas, 74-71-71 - 216 E; T8. Grant Milner, Memphis, 71-71-74 - 216 E.
T1. Stewart Jolly, 70-69-71 - 210 -6
T1. Curtis Thompson, 69-70-71 - 210 -6
T5. Myles Lewis, 74-68-72 - 214 -2*
T16. Andrew Presley, 70-76-72 - 218 +2
T36. Zach Wright, 77-76-74 - 227 +11
T43. Smylie Kaufman, 77-75-77 - 229 +13
* - Denotes player competing as an individual.