LAFAYETTE, La. – Junior Myles Lewis fired a bogey-free and career-low round of 6-under par 66 in Tuesday’s final round to claim medalist honors with a winning score of 10-under par 206, while the Tigers posted a team-record score of 19-under par 845 to finish runner-up at the 29th-annual Louisiana Classics held this week at Oakbourne Country Club.
The Tigers have made a habit of recording record scores at Oakbourne Country Club in recent years after winning the Louisiana Classics team title with a previous team record of 17-under par 847 in 2012.
They eclipsed that effort with their best 54-hole tournament score since at least 1985 with a final team total of 19-under par 845 this week, wrapping up the championship in second place with a score of 5-under 283 in Tuesday’s final round after opening with rounds of 8-under 280 and 6-under 282 during Monday’s action.
Despite facing a seemingly insurmountable 13-shot deficit heading into the final round, the Tigers closed the gap and finished just six shots off the pace set by No. 9-ranked Illinois as the Fighting Illini took the title with their winning score of 25-under 839, including their 2-over 290 in the final round. Rounding out the top five of the final team standings was tournament host Louisiana-Lafayette in third place at 4-over par 868, Louisiana Tech in fourth place at 8-over par 872 and New Mexico State in fifth place at 15-over par 879.
The Tigers have now finished either first or second place at the Louisiana Classics in each of the last five years, including a pair of team titles in 2010 and 2012 and a trio of runner-up finishes in 2011, 2013 and 2014.
While playing as an individual, Lewis became the third-straight LSU Tiger and the fourth in five years to bring the Louisiana Classics individual crown back home to Baton Rouge with his winning score of 10-under par 206 as he followed rounds of 3-under 69 and 1-under 71 on Monday with a career-low 6-under 66 on Tuesday to set a new career-best tournament score by eight shots.
Lewis ended the championship with a bogey-free final round as he carded an impressive six birdies on the day en route to a 6-under 66. He dipped into red figures with birdies at the par-four second, par-four sixth and par-three ninth holes on the front nine before coming in with birdies at the par-four 10th, par-five 11th and par-five 13th holes on the back nine to go along with 12 pars on the day.
The New Orleans native eclipsed his previous best tournament score and finish when he fired a 2-under 214 to tie for fifth place at the 2012 Shoal Creek Intercollegiate during the fall of his sophomore season.
With his first victory, Lewis joined the likes of PGA TOUR rookie Andrew Loupe (2010), Andrew Presley (2012) and Zach Wright (2013) as the four Tigers to be crowned the Louisiana Classics champion in recent seasons.
Fellow junior Curtis Thompson teed off in the final round just one shot off to the top of the leaderboard in second place after firing back-to-back seasonal-best scores of 4-under 68 on Monday, but the All-America had a round of 1-over 73 on Tuesday to finish three shots back of Lewis in a three-way tie for second place at 7-under par 209 for the championship.
It marked Thompson second top-five finish in three tournaments this spring after he also tied for fourth place in LSU’s spring opener at The Prestige at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., back on Feb. 17-19.
Junior All-America candidate Stewart Jolly was the top Tiger in the lineup during Tuesday’s final round as he fired a team-low 4-under par 68 to crack the Top 10 of the leaderboard for the second-straight tournament in 2014 after also tying for sixth place at the Querencia Cabo Collegiate last week. Jolly posted a 54-hole score of 3-under par 213 for the week to continue his march toward All-America honors this season.
Other Tiger scorers in the final round were senior Smylie Kaufman with a 2-under par 70 and sophomore Zach Wright with an even-par 72 to help LSU to a 5-under par 283 team score in the final round. Each secured his second top-10 finish of the 2013-14 season as Kaufman tied for sixth place at 4-under 212 and Wright tied for ninth place at 2-under 214 in three rounds of action at Oakbourne Country Club.
While Wright came up short in his title defense, he did continue a good run of form in his third-straight start for the Tigers to open the 2014 spring season. He won the event last year with a score of 7-under par 209.
Also playing as individuals this week was freshman Brandon Pierce and senior Landon Lyons as Pierce tied for ninth place at 2-under par 214 and Lyons tied for 13th place at even-par 216 for the championship. For Pierce it was his first top-10 finish at the collegiate level as he wrapped up the tournament with an impressive 1-under 71 during Tuesday’s action.
Tying for 17th place on the final leaderboard was junior Ben Taylor, who carded a 3-over par 75 in the final round for a final 54-hole tournament score of 2-over par 218 during two days of the competition.
The Tigers will now break for two weeks before returning to action with a trip to Palm City, Fla., to compete at the Floridian Invitational being held March 24-25 at Floridian Golf Club. They will then wrap up their regular season on April 5-6 with a return trip to the Aggie Invitational that will be held at Traditions Golf Club in Bryan, Texas.
29TH-ANNUAL LOUISIANA CLASSICS – FINAL ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 864)
1. Illinois 279-270-290 – 839 -25; 2. LSU 280-282-283 – 845 -19; 3. Louisiana-Lafayette 281-286-301 – 868 +4; 4. Louisiana Tech 294-279-299 – 872 +8; 5. New Mexico State 296-289-294 – 879 +15; 6. Texas-San Antonio 299-283-298 – 880 +16; 7. Tulsa 286-288-309 – 883 +19; 8. Southeastern Louisiana 299-295-290 – 884 +20; 9. Southern Mississippi 299-299-290 – 888 +24; 10. Texas State 295-295-300 – 890 +26; 11. Illinois State 293-297-307 – 897 +33; 12. Kansas 303-298-298 – 899 +35.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 216)
1. Myles Lewis, LSU, 69-71-66 – 206 -10*; T2. Curtis Thompson, LSU, 68-68-73 – 209 -7; T2. Charlie Danielson, Illinois, 71-69-69 – 209 -7; T2. Thomas Detry, Illinois, 71-68-70 – 209 -7; 5. Chris Verrougstraete, Louisiana-Lafayette, 67-70-74 – 211 -5; T6. Smylie Kaufman, LSU, 70-72-70 – 212 -4; T6. Brian Campbell, Illinois, 69-66-77 – 212 -4; 8. Stewart Jolly, LSU, 74-71-68 – 213 -3; T9. Zach Wright, LSU, 70-72-72 – 214 -2; T9. Brandon Pierce, LSU, 70-73-71 – 214 -2*; T9. Victor Lange, Louisiana Tech, 74-69-71 – 214 -2.
1. Myles Lewis, 69-71-66 – 206 -10*
T2. Curtis Thompson, 68-68-73 – 209 -7
T6. Smylie Kaufman, 70-72-70 – 212 -4
8. Stewart Jolly, 74-71-68 – 213 -3
T9. Zach Wright, 70-72-72 – 214 -2
T9. Brandon Pierce, 70-73-71 – 214 -2*
T13. Landon Lyons, 71-72-73 – 216 E*
T17. Ben Taylor, 72-71-75 – 218 +2