BATON ROUGE - After posting a team score of 1-over par 289 in Tuesday's final round, the No. 9-ranked LSU men's golf team defended its team championship during a record-setting performance at the second-annual David Toms Intercollegiate held at The Country Club of Louisiana with a collegiate course record tournament score of 16-under 848 in 54 holes.
The Tigers doubled the previous 54-hole team record of 8-under par at The Country Club of Louisiana that was set three times in 12 previous events held at the course. The squad also matched its lowest team score in nearly three decades as it also fired a 16-under 848 at the University Club Intercollegiate in 2004.
The Tigers captured a two-stroke victory over the No. 8-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks after kicking off the final round with a seven-stroke lead over their Southeastern Conference rivals.
Arkansas, which fired a 4-under 284 in the final round, actually cut LSU's lead down to a single stroke on the back nine with just three holes to play, but the Tigers held on to take their second team title of the fall.
LSU opened the 2010-11 campaign by running away with the team title at the Gopher Invitational held at Spring Hill Country Club in Wayzata, Minn., back on Sept. 11-12. In fact, the Tigers have now captured a total of eight tournament titles in the last two-plus seasons with three apiece in 2008-09 and 2009-10.
Not only did LSU capture its second team title of the season with the win, but junior Austin Gutgsell fired a 3-under 69 in the final round to take home his first medalist honor as he fired a career-low 54-hole score of 10-under 206 in three rounds to win the individual title by a comfortable four shots.
"We had a great week as a team. Playing here at The Country Club of Louisiana in our home event gave us a chance to play 10 guys, which is critical for our program to get 10 guys that kind of experience," said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. "I'm encouraged with their play through one to 10. Certainly, we made it harder on ourselves today relative to the team title, but to have Austin Gutgsell play the way he did, and have the younger guys play the way they did this week are just some signs of where we are headed."
While playing as an individual, Gutgsell was outstanding in winning the David Toms Intercollegiate as he sandwiched a career-low 4-under 68 in the second round between matching rounds of 3-under 69 during the first and final rounds for a career-low 54-hole tournament score of 10-under par 206.
Gutgsell, who opened the event with a previous career best of 1-over 217 in a top-five finish at last year's John Hayt Invitational, tied the fourth-lowest individual score by an LSU golfer since 1985.
A native of Mandeville, La., Gutgsell was locked in a tight battle with teammate Ken Looper in the chase for the individual title as each reached 9-under par for the tournament as teams started to make the turn in the final round. The duo opened the final round in a tie for top spot on the leaderboard.
Gutgsell, who teed off from the back nine in the final round, got off to a sluggish start with two bogeys in back-to-back holes on No. 14 and No. 15 to fall to 1-over for his round. But he quickly turned it around in his final 12 holes while carding four birdies during that stretch, including his last of the day at the par-four seventh hole to drop to 10-under par and take the clubhouse lead at approximately 1:10 p.m. CT.
"I just made it easy on myself because I hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens and I made the putts when I needed to for momentum. I was able to do everything pretty well," Gutgsell said. "It felt great to post my number and wait for the other guys to come in. I got to go back out and watch my team win the title in the back nine. That was just as great a feeling for me to see us win the team title."
Despite falling out of the running on the back nine with double bogey on the par-four 10th hole and bogey on the par-four 18th hole, Looper holed out in the final group of the day at about 3 p.m. with a round of 1-under 73 for a 54-hole score of 6-under 210 to finish four shots back in a four-way tie for second place.
Looper, who opened with rounds of 2-under 70 and 5-under 67 on Monday, finished on the Top 10 of the leaderboard for the third time in three tournament appearances this season to lead the team.
Looper teamed with senior All-American John Peterson to lead the LSU starting five to the team crown as Peterson also finished in a tie for second place overall with a three-round score of 6-under 210, including a 2-under 70 in the final round. Peterson has now finished runner-up on the leaderboard in each of the last two seasons in LSU's home event at the David Toms Intercollegiate.
Fellow All-American Andrew Loupe picked up his first top-10 finish of the year as he posted a 2-over par 74 on Tuesday to finish in a tie for eighth place with a tournament score of 4-under 212.
While also competing as part of LSU's tournament lineup, junior Sang Yi and freshman Smylie Kaufman posted matching rounds of 1-over 73 for the team score in the final round. Yi finished in a tie for 29th with a score of 1-over 217, while Kaufman followed in a tie for 46th with a score of 7-over 223.
Freshman Andrew Presley fired a season-low 2-under 70 on Tuesday to earn his second-consecutive Top-20 finish as he tied for 16th place at 2-under par 214. Franco Castro tied for 23rd place at even-par 216, while Clayton Rotz tied for 37th place at 3-over 219 and Landon Lyons tied for 50th place at 10-over 226.
"We didn't count Andrew Loupe today and were still able to hold on and beat Arkansas, which has a very good team. We've got a lot of respect for Brad McMakin and his team," Winstead said. "Without being able to count a guy like Andrew Loupe in our four counting scores today and still come out with a victory is a great accomplishment. We had a good week this week."
The Tigers will return to action Sunday when they travel to Windermere, Fla., to tee off in the prestigious Isleworth College Invitational being held at Isleworth Golf and Country Club.
DAVID TOMS INTERCOLLEGIATE - FINAL ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 864)
1. LSU 283-276-289 - 848 -16; 2. Arkansas 283-283-284 - 850 -14; 3. South Alabama 284-286-285 - 855 -9; T4. Middle Tennessee State 287-282-297 - 866 +2; T4. North Florida 288-285-293 - 866 +2; 6. Southeastern Louisiana 300-279-294 - 873 +9; 7. Ole Miss 288-295-291 - 874 +10; 8. Louisiana-Lafayette 293-289-293 - 875 +11; 9. Kansas State 301-288-287 - 876 +12; 10. Mississippi State 293-285-301 - 879 +15; 11. UAB 297-291-295 - 883 +19; 12. Louisiana Tech 294-291-303 - 888 +24; 13. Georgia Southern 304-389-299 - 892 +28; 14. Rice 287-304-302 - 893 +29.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 216)
1. Austin Gutgsell, LSU, 69-68-69 - 206 -10*; T2. John Peterson, LSU, 73-67-70 - 210 -6; T2. Ken Looper, LSU, 70-67-73 - 210 -6; T2. Chris Piumelli, South Alabama, 70-72-68 - 210 -6; Ethan Tracy, Arkansas, 70-69-71 - 210 -6; T6. Jack Watson, Kansas State, 70-70-71 - 211 -5; T6. Cedric Scotto, Southeastern Louisiana, 75-67-69 - 211 -5; T8. Andrew Loupe, LSU, 69-69-74 - 212 -4; T8. Michael Whitehead, Rice, 69-74-69 - 212 -4; T8. Kevin Aylwin, North Florida, 70-69-73 - 212 -4; T8. Jamie Marshall, Arkansas, 73-70-69 - 212 -4.
1. Austin Gutgsell, 69-68-69 - 206 -10*
T2. John Peterson, 73-67-70 - 210 -6
T2. Ken Looper, 70-67-73 - 210 -6
T8. Andrew Loupe, 69-69-74 - 212 -4
T16. Andrew Presley, 74-70-70 - 214 -2*
T23. Franco Castro, 71-72-73 - 216 E*
T29. Sang Yi, 71-73-73 - 217 +1
T37. Clayton Rotz, 69-72-78 - 219 +3*
T46. Smylie Kaufman, 77-73-73 - 223 +7
T50. Landon Lyons, 75-74-77 - 226 +10*
* - Indicates player competing as an individual.