LAFAYETTE, La. - Freshman Zach Wright became the third LSU Tiger in four seasons to capture the individual championship at the Louisiana Classics tournament as he wrapped up a wire-to-wire victory with a round of 1-under par 71 in Tuesday's action en route to a three-shot win in the 28th-annual event held at Oakbourne Country Club.
Wright joined former Tiger standout Andrew Loupe in 2010 and junior teammate Andrew Presley in 2012 as champions of the event hosted by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
After opening with a career-low 6-under par 66 in the first round and an even-par 72 in the second round on Monday, Wright fired a 1-under par 71 in Tuesday's final round for a career-low 54-hole score of 7-under par 209 to take home a three-shot victory over Houston's Curtis Reed while playing as an individual during the event.
The 14th-ranked Tigers were impressive during Tuesday's action as they posted the lowest team score of the tournament at 6-under par 282 to climb four spots into second place in the final team chase to finish eight shots of the pace with a runner-up score of 10-over par 874 for 54 holes. Setting the pace for LSU in the final round were Presley with a 5-under par 67, sophomore Stewart Jolly with a 2-under par 70 and sophomore Curtis Thompson with a 1-under par 71 on the afternoon.
Following the Illini and the Tigers in the final team standings were Houston in third place at 12-over par 876 and 23rd-ranked Tulsa and Kent State in a tie for fourth place at 13-over par 877.
"Today was a solid day for the team. It was a really good response after our slow start yesterday," said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. "We just dug too deep a hole yesterday to put any real pressure on Illinois. They're a good team and played very well throughout the event. They certainly deserved to win it.
"We're all very happy for Zach. He was impressive with his play this week. His game has been coming around over the last week or two. It was great to see him get the win today."
Wright certainly stole the show for the Tigers at the 28th Louisiana Classics as he not only earned his first career top-10 finish in a collegiate event, but captured his first career individual crown at LSU with a strong week at Oakbourne Country Club. He is the seventh different LSU Tiger to win an individual tournament title in the Winstead era.
It also marks the fourth time this season that an LSU Tiger has taken home an individual crown as Jolly and Thompson shared the title at the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate (Sept. 24-25) and Presley scored his victory at the David Toms Intercollegiate (Oct. 6-7) during the fall season.
And Wright picked up right where he left off following Monday's opening day of action while wrapping up the tournament with a 1-under 71 on Tuesday afternoon.
After teeing off on hole No. 17 with Tuesday's shotgun start, Wright carded four-straight birdies on the par-four first, par-four second, par-five third and par-three fourth holes to quickly drop to 4-under par on his round. He then followed three-straight bogeys on holes Nos. 5-7 with a pair of birdies at the par-three ninth and par-five 11th holes to drop back to 3-under par. Wright then ended the day with bogeys at the par-four 12th and 16th holes to lock up the his first collegiate title with a 1-under 71.
Wright's 7-under 209 is not only a career-low score for a 54-hole event, but it is also the lowest tournament score by an LSU Tiger this season.
Jolly earned his fourth top-10 finish in seven tournament starts this season as he led LSU's starting five with a 54-hole score of even-par 216 to tie for seventh place on the final leaderboard.
Despite coming up short in defending his Louisiana Classics title from a year ago, Presley fired his lowest round of the season on Tuesday with a 5-under par 67 to finish on the cusp of the Top 10 with a tie for 11th place overall at 1-over 217 for the championship. Presley's carded six birdies and just one bogey on his round to rebound from his scores of 4-over 76 and 2-over 74 on Monday.
Presley now leads the team with six top-20 finishes in his seven starts for the Tigers as he pushes for All-SEC and All-America honors again during his junior campaign.
Thompson scored a top-20 finish of his own after firing a 1-under par 71 in the final round to tie for 17th place overall at 3-over par 219. Sophomore Myles Lewis and junior Landon Lyons each added scores of 2-over par 74 toward LSU's team total as Lewis tied for 41st place at 10-over par 226 and Lyons tied for 48th place at 12-over par 228 for the championship.
Junior Smylie Kaufman carded a 1-over 73 in Tuesday final round as he tied Lewis for 41st place at 10-over 226 while playing as an individual during the event.
With the 2013 spring season now in full swing, the Tigers will return to action next week as they look to defend their team championship at Louisiana Tech's Argent Financial Classic being held March 11-12 at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, La. They will then make their annual trip to Awendaw, S.C., for the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate being held March 24-26 at Bulls Bay Golf Club.
28TH LOUISIANA CLASSICS - FINAL ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 864)
1. Illinois 292-287-287 - 866 +2; 2. LSU 298-294-282 - 874 +10; 3. Houston 294-298-284 - 876 +12; T4. Tulsa 303-287-287 - 877 +13; T4. Kent State 298-289-290 - 877 +13; 6. Kansas 292-294-295 - 881 +17; 7. Southeastern Louisiana 301-288-296 - 885 +21; 8. South Alabama 298-294-294 - 886 +22; 9. Memphis 304-298-296 - 898 +34; 10. Louisiana-Lafayette 305-295-299 - 899 +35; 11. Texas State 302-304-304 - 910 +46; 12. Southern Mississippi 312-301-298 - 911 +47; 13. Texas-San Antonio 306-310-297 - 913 +49; 14. Louisiana Tech 303-309-304 - 916 +52.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 216)
1. Zach Wright, LSU, 66-72-71 - 209 -7*; 2. Curtis Reed, Houston, 72-72-68 - 212 -4; 3. Alex Gutesha, Kansas, 69-74-70 - 213 -3; 4. Brandt Garon, Louisiana-Lafayette, 73-68-73 - 214 -2; T5. Chris Gilbert, Kansas, 72-69-74 - 215 -1; T5. Thomas Pieters, Illinois, 75-72-68 - 215 -1; T7. Stewart Jolly, LSU, 71-75-70 - 216 E; T7. Taylor Pendrith, Kent State, 73-70-73 - 216 E; T7. Roman Robledo, Houston, 70-75-71 - 216 E; T7. Thomas Perrot, Memphis, 70-72-74 - 216 E.
1. Zach Wright, 66-72-71 - 209 -7*
T7. Stewart Jolly, 71-75-70 - 216 E
T11. Andrew Presley, 76-74-67 - 217 +1
T17. Curtis Thompson, 75-73-71 - 219 +3
T41. Myles Lewis, 80-72-74 - 226 +10
T41. Smylie Kaufman, 78-75-73 - 226 +10*
T48. Landon Lyons, 76-78-74 - 228 +12
* - Player competing as an individual.