Sam Burns earned his 13th top-10 finish in 13 tournament appearances this season!
Gary McCullough

Men's Golf Locks Up No. 3 Seed in SEC Match Play

Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
Associate SID

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The No. 3-ranked LSU Tigers closed out stroke-play qualifying at the 2017 SEC Men’s Golf Championships with a 5-under par round of 275 on Saturday to lock up the No. 3 seed in match play and set up a quarterfinal match No. 6 seed and No. 36-ranked Alabama on Sunday beginning at 7:20 a.m. CT.

The Tigers closed out the stroke-play portion of the championship with a 54-hole score of 3-under 837 to finish third overall and advance to the eight-team match-play competition for the SEC Championship.

LSU will face Alabama on Sunday morning after the Crimson Tide placed sixth in stroke play with a final score of 11-over par 851. Vanderbilt claimed the No. 1 seed by six strokes over Texas A&M with a total score of 11-under par 829 to earn a quarterfinal match against No. 8 seed Ole Miss (852). No. 2 seed Texas A&M (835) will face No. 7 seed Missouri (852), while No. 4 seed Florida (838) will face No. 5 seed South Carolina (845).

The Tigers feature in the second wave of quarterfinal matches teeing off from the back nine at 7:20 a.m. CT as play gets underway Sunday at 6:30 a.m. Two semifinal matches then follow at approximately Noon.

Gagne Tops Tigers

Just as he did in Friday’s opener at the Seaside Course, sophomore All-American Luis Gagne set the pace for the Tigers again in Round 3 as he added his second score of 1-under 69 to tie for seventh place individually in the final standings. The Orlando, Florida, native closed out a score of 4-under par 206 for the weekend after opening with a 1-under 69 in the first round and 2-under 68 in the second round on Friday.

Gagne got to 2-under par for his final round thanks to birdies at the par-four fifth and par-four 10th holes before making his only bogey of the day at the par-four 18th on his final hole of the round.

We’re Going Streaking

Sam Burns’ streak of top-10 finishes this season appeared under threat as he teed off in Saturday’s final round tied for 19th overall at 1-over par after playing 36 holes on Friday. In fact, the sophomore All-American and Ben Hogan Award semifinalist had finished among the Top 10 in each of his previous 12 starts this season heading into the championship.

Burns put those fears to rest with an emphatic 4-under 66 on the day as he climbed into a tie for ninth place on the final leaderboard with a 54-hole score of 3-under par 207 in stroke play. That finish ran his streak to an astounding 13-straight top-10 finishes in 13 tournament appearances in 2016-17 while dropping his scoring average to 69.69 strokes per round for the season.

He quickly moved up the leaderboard with four birdies in a five-hole stretch in the middle of his round in the par-five seventh, par-four eighth, par-four 10th and par-four 11th holes. Burns traded a bogey at the par-four 14th with a birdie at the par-three 17th to close out the team’s lowest round of the weekend.

Rounding Out

Seniors Brandon Pierce and Eric Ricard added two rounds of even-par 70 to LSU’s team total in the third round as Ricard climbed into a tie for 27th place in the final standings at 4-over 214 and Pierce finished the day in a tie for 48th place at 9-over par 219. Ricard posted his second 70 of the weekend after finishing even-par in the first round on Friday, while Pierce ended stroke play with his best round of the three.

Freshman Philip Barbaree followed his back-to-back rounds of 70 on Friday with an 8-over par 78 on Saturday to finish off his debut appearance at the SEC Championships in a tie for 43rd place overall at 8-over 218.

Playoff

Florida’s Alejandro Tosti defeated Vanderbilt’s Patrick Martin in a sudden-death playoff for the title of SEC Individual Champion after they tied one another for the top spot at 10-under par 200 after 54 holes.

After equaling one another with pars at the par-four first hole, Tosti was crowned the SEC Champion with a par at the par-four second after Martin made a bogey to finish runner-up. Texas A&M’s Chandler Phillips and Ole Miss’ Braden Thornberry finished four shots off the pace in a tie for third place individually with final scores of 6-under par 204 for the championship.

Quarterfinal Matches

The quarterfinal draw was held following the individual playoff Saturday as the head coaches of the eight remaining teams selected their lineups to begin match play. For the Tigers, Burns will open play against Crimson Tide junior Lee Hodges in the first match between the two teams scheduled to tee off at 7:20 a.m. CT.

Ricard follows against Josh Sedeno at 7:30 a.m., while Gagne faces Steven Setterstrom at 7:40 a.m., Pierce battles Davis Riley at 7:50 a.m. and Barbaree rounds out the quarterfinal against Jonathan Hardee at 8 a.m. The teams advancing from the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds on Sunday advance to the SEC Championship Match on Monday with play set to begin at 6:30 a.m.

SEC CHAMPIONSHIPS – FINAL STROKE PLAY RESULTS

TEAM SCORES (Par 840)
1. Vanderbilt 276-281-272 – 829 -11; 2. Texas A&M 273-282-280 – 835 -5; 3. LSU 278-284-275 – 837 -3; 4. Florida 269-289-280 – 838 -2; 5. South Carolina 283-286-280 – 845 +9; 6. Alabama 275-288-288 – 851 +11; T7. Missouri 284-279-289 – 852 +12; T7. Ole Miss 282-290-280 – 852 +12; T9. Georgia 291-289-276 – 856 +16; T9. Auburn 278-287-291 – 856 +16; 11. Kentucky 292-289-276 – 857 +17; 12. Arkansas 299-292-268 – 859 +19; 13. Tennessee 301-294-279 – 874 +34; 14. Mississippi State 298-298-281 – 877 +37.

TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 210)
T1. Alejandro Tosti, Florida, 64-69-67 – 200 -10; T1. Patrick Martin, Vanderbilt, 66-68-66 – 200 -10; T3. Braden Thornberry, Ole Miss, 69-66-69 – 204 -6; T3. Chandler Phillips, Texas A&M, 67-70-67 – 204 -6; T5. Greyson Sigg, Georgia, 71-66-68 – 205 -5; T5. Cameron Champ, Texas A&M, 66-71-68 – 205 -5; T7. Luis Gagne, LSU, 69-68-69 – 206 -4; T7. Tanapat Pichaikool, Mississippi State, 70-71-65 – 206 -4; T9. Sam Burns, LSU, 69-72-66 – 207 -3; T9. Keenan Huskey, South Carolina, 69-70-68 – 207 -3.

LSU SCORES
T7. Luis Gagne, 69-68-69 – 206 -4
T9. Sam Burns, 69-72-66 – 207 -3
T27. Eric Ricard, 70-74-70 – 214 +4
T43. Philip Barbaree, 70-70-78 – 218 +8
T48. Brandon Pierce, 75-74-70 – 219 +9

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