SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Sophomore Luis Gagne fired a career-low round of 6-under par 65 while sophomore Sam Burns added a 4-under 67 and sophomore Nathan Jeansonne carded a 3-under 68 to lead the Tigers into contention in Friday’s opening round at the inaugural Maui Jim Intercollegiate being held at Mirabel Golf Club.
While adding a counting score of 1-under par 70 from senior All-American Brandon Pierce, the Tigers finished the day six shots off the pace in a tie for third place overall with a team score of 14-under par 270.
Kent State jumped out to an early lead in the three-day, 54-hole event with a first-round score of 20-under 264, including a 7-under 64 from first-round leader Josh Whalen. Baylor followed five shots back with its first-round score of 15-under 269, while the Tigers ended the day tied for third place with Kansas at 14-under 270. South Carolina rounded out the Top 5 of the team standings in fifth place with an 11-under 273.
Gagne One Off The Pace
Gagne teed off on his 18th and final hole of the day – the par-four ninth hole – at 7-under par after carding seven birdies without a bogey through his previous 17 holes. The only blemish on his scorecard was a bogey 5 at the ninth green as he signed for a career-low round of 6-under par 65 to finish the day just one shot back of Whalen’s 64 in a three-way tie for second place.
Gagne was fast out of the gate as he birdied two of his first three holes at the par-four 10th and 12th holes before making the turn at 4-under par with two more birdies at the par-four 15th and par-five 17th holes. He got to 7-under par on his round with birdies at the par-five second, par-four fifth and par-five seventh holes before finishing at 6-under with his only bogey of the day at the ninth.
The Orlando, Florida, native will contend for his first collegiate title in a 54-hole event with his best career finish to-date coming at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational last spring where he tied for third.
He will tee off in Saturday’s second round tied with Kent State’s Ian Holt and South Carolina’s Scott Stevens for second place on the leaderboard and just one shot back of Whalen in top spot. Four golfers are two shots back in a tie for fourth place as Baylor’s Brayden Bailey, South Carolina’s Ben Dietrich, Baylor’s Garrett May and Kansas’ Daniel Sutton each fired a 5-under par 66.
Burns Back in the Top 10
Burns finds himself back in the Top 10 of the leaderboard just two weeks after earning his first collegiate top-10 finish in a 54-hole event at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic where he tied for sixth place overall. With his opening-round 67, Burns broke par for the third time in four rounds this season to finish the day in a tie for ninth place overall.
A double bogey 5 at the par-three sixth hole was Burns’ only setback of the day as he also carded six birdies en route to a 67, dropping his scoring average to 68.75 stroke per round in his four rounds played this fall.
Jeansonne Strong in Season-Opening Round
After missing out on LSU’s trip to the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic held at The Farm Golf Club two weeks ago, Jeansonne was certainly quick off the mark in the first round of his sophomore season as his 3-under 68 tied him for 15th place on the opening day of the inaugural Maui Jim Intercollegiate. His was a scorecard that featured five birdies and three bogeys in the first round played at Mirabel Golf Club.
It tied for the second-lowest round in relation to par in Jeansonne’s collegiate career after firing a 7-under 64 in the final round at The Prestige at PGA West in LSU’s 2016 spring season opener. He also twice posted a 3-under 69 during his rookie season in 2015-16 in the final round of his collegiate debut at the Golfweek Conference Challenge and first round at the David Toms Intercollegiate last fall.
Seniors Round Out Lineup on Day 1
Pierce provided the fourth and final counting score of the day for the Tigers with his opening-round 70 to tie for 32nd place overall. The former Second-Team All-American ended the day in red figures with three birdies and two bogeys on his scorecard. Rounding out LSU’s five-man lineup was fellow senior Eric Ricard with a 5-over par 76 to finish the first round in a tie for 83rd place overall.
Senior Rhyne Jones ended his day with an even-par round of 71 as he leveled three birdies with one bogey and one double bogey to finish the day in a tie for 37th place while playing as an individual.
Second-Round Tee Times
The Tigers are paired with Kent State and Kansas in Saturday’s second round as they will tee off in the second wave off the front nine beginning at 10 a.m. CT. Tee times will run through 10:48 a.m. Fans can follow along as Golfstat will provide live scoring of the championship at http://golfstat.com. Fans can also follow @LSUMensGolf on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsumensgolf.
MAUI JIM INTERCOLLEGIATE – FIRST ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 284)
1. Kent State 264 -20; 2. Baylor 269 -15; T3. LSU 270 -14; T3. Kansas 270 -14; 5. South Carolina 273 -11; 6. UAB 279 -5; 7. Georgia Tech 280 -4; 8. Houston 281 -3; T9. California 285 +1; T9. Georgia State 285 +1; 11. Chattanooga 286 +2; 12. Notre Dame 288 +4; 13. Augusta 289 +5; T14. Hawaii 290 +6; T14. South Florida 290 +6; 16. Grand Canyon 291 +7.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 71)
1. Josh Whalen, Kent State, 64 -7; T2. Luis Gagne, LSU, 65 -6; T2. Ian Holt, Kent State, 65 -6; T2. Scott Stevens, South Carolina, 65 -6; T5. Daniel Sutton, Kansas, 66 -5; T5. Garrett May, Baylor, 66 -5; T5. Braden Bailey, Baylor, 66 -5; T5. Ben Dietrich, South Carolina, 66 -5; T9. Sam Burns, LSU, 67 -4; T9. Papito Gonzalez, Houston, 67 -4; T9. Chase Hanna, Kansas, 67 -4; T9. Chase Johnson, Kent State, 67 -4; T9. Charlie Hillier, Kansas, 67 -4; T9. Andre Leveque, South Florida, 67 -4*.
* - Denotes player competing as an individual.