BATON ROUGE – Following a trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for an appearance at this year’s Querencia Cabo Collegiate last week, the LSU Tigers will return to their home state this week as they make their annual appearance at the Louisiana Classics as the 29th-annual event kicks off Monday at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette.
This marks the fifth-straight season in which the Tigers will compete at the Louisiana Classics as the University of Louisiana-Lafayette will play host to the two-day, 54-hole championship again this week. The course will play to a par 72 and 6,898 yards for the championship as 36 holes will be played Monday with the final round scheduled for Tuesday.
Monday’s opening day of action will begin with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. CT, while Tuesday’s final round will also start with tee times at 8 a.m. off of holes No. 1 and No. 10.
The Tigers have enjoyed great success in their four most recent appearances at the Louisiana Classics as they have won two team titles and earned two runner-up finishes since the 2010 season.
In their two victories, they posted a winning score of even-par 864 to take home the team championship in 2010 before firing their best team tournament score since 1985 with a winning total of 17-under par 847 while earning a 14-shot victory in 2012. LSU also finished runner-up in 2011 with a score of 4-under par 860 and 2013 with a team total of 10-over par 874.
Golfstat will provide live scoring of all three rounds of the 29th-annual Louisiana Classics tournament at http://www.golfstat.com/. The University of Louisiana-Lafayette will also provide live streaming video for all three rounds of the event in high definition at its official athletics website on Monday at http://bit.ly/1lkiKDO and on Tuesday at http://bit.ly/1i0ZH1a.
The No. 33-ranked Tigers are among three teams in the 12-team field that enter the tournament ranked among the Top 50 nationally in the latest Golfstat power rankings as they are also joined by No. 9 Illinois and No. 47 New Mexico State. Rounding out the field are Illinois State, Kansas, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Southeastern Louisiana, Southern Miss, Texas State, Texas-San Antonio and Tulsa.
The Tigers are paired with tournament host Louisiana-Lafayette and Illinois during the first and second rounds on Monday, while pairings for Tuesday’s final round will be determined after 36 holes are complete.
The Tigers will once again be led by the junior duo of Stewart Jolly and Curtis Thompson as each will be making his seventh appearance in LSU’s lineup in as many tournaments for the Tigers in the 2013-14 season.
Jolly is fresh off of an impressive performance at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate last week, where he tied for sixth place on the final leaderboard with a 54-hole score of 2-over par 215 to earn his team-best third top-10 finish in six appearances on the season. He is also the team’s leading scorer while entering the event with a career-low 71.6 scoring average in 18 rounds played this season.
Jolly is in the midst of an All-American caliber season as he enters the event as the No. 27-ranked collegiate player nationally in the latest Golfweek individual rankings. His other top finishes include his tie for third place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic and sharing the individual title at the Golfweek Conference Challenge during the 2013 fall season.
Thompson got off to a flying start to the 2014 spring season when he tied for fourth place at The Prestige at PGA West last month. He averages 72.6 strokes per round in his six starts on the campaign.
Like Thompson, fellow junior Ben Taylor makes his return to the LSU lineup for the Louisiana Classics after earning his best finish of the season at The Prestige at PGA West held in La Quinta, Calif., three weeks ago. The England international tied for seventh place on the leaderboard with a seasonal-best score of 4-under par 209, including rounds of 3-under 68 and 4-under 67 in the second and third rounds.
Rounding out LSU’s five-man starting lineup are senior Smylie Kaufman and sophomore Zach Wright as they will be among the favorites to help lead the Tigers to their third team title in five seasons this week.
After competing at the Louisiana Classics in Lafayette this week, the Tigers will make the trip to Palm City, Fla., in two weeks to compete at the Floridian Invitational being held March 24-25 at Floridian Golf Club. LSU will then wrap up the regular season with a return to Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas, to compete at this year’s Aggie Invitational being held April 5-6.