SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Sophomore All-American Luis Gagne fired his second-straight round of 6-under par 65 on Saturday to move to the top of the individual leaderboard and help give the Tigers a two-shot lead in the team standings with just 18 holes to play at the inaugural Maui Jim Intercollegiate at Mirabel Golf Club.
The No. 7-ranked Tigers turned a six-shot deficit to Kent State at the start of the day into a two-shot lead over the Golden Flashes after posting a team score of 13-under par 271 in the second round. LSU finished off its round at 27-under par for the championship with a 36-hole total of 541, including a 14-under par 270 in Friday’s opening round.
Kent State, which took the first-round lead with a team score of 20-under 264 on Friday, followed with a 5-under 279 on Saturday to end the day two shots off the pace heading into Sunday’s final round.
The Baylor Bears will also tee off in the final round in contention for the team title after posting a two-day total of 23-under 545 to trail LSU by four shots in third place in the team race. SEC rival South Carolina follows in fourth place overall at 19-under par 549, while Georgia Tech rounds out the Top 5 of the team standings in fifth place at 12-under 556.
The Tigers are poised to win their first team championship in just their second tournament of the 2016 fall season, as well as their 26th tournament title in the 12th season of the Chuck Winstead era.
Gagne in Pole Position for First Collegiate Title
Gagne has been outstanding through two rounds at the inaugural Maui Jim Intercollegiate as he has carded just two bogeys in his 36 holes of play along with a staggering one eagle and 12 birdies en route to a two-shot lead at 12-under par. He matched his career low round of 6-under 65 on Friday with a second 65 on Saturday for a two-day total of 130 and move two shots clear of South Carolina’s Scott Stevens in second place overall at 10-under par 132.
As he did Friday, Gagne benefitted from a quick start as he moved to 3-under par for his round after just four holes with consecutive birdies at the par-five second, par-four third and par-four fourth holes. A bogey 5 at the par-four fifth was his only setback on the day as he quickly rebounded with a birdie at the par-five seventh hole before making the turn at 3-under par on the day.
He closed strong as well Saturday with an eagle 3 at the par-five 17th and a birdie at the par-four 18th for his second-straight career-low round to grab the top spot from Kent State’s first-round leader Josh Whalen.
Gagne will battle for his first collegiate title in a 54-hole event with the likes of Baylor’s Braden Bailey sitting three shots back in third place at 9-under par and Kent State’s Ian Holt, Kansas’ Chase Hanna, Baylor’s Garrett May and Georgia Tech’s Chris Petefish all five shots back in a tie for fourth place overall at 7-under par for the championship.
Ricard Bounces Back with Big Round
Despite struggling across the finish line with a round of 5-over par 76 in Friday’s opener at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate, senior All-American Eric Ricard bounced back in a big way Saturday as he matched Gagne shot-for-shot with a 6-under 65 of his own to catapult himself 56 spots up the leaderboard and into a tie for 27th place overall with a total score of 1-under par 141.
Ricard’s scorecard showed seven birdies with just one bogey on the day to equal his third-lowest round in relation to par as an LSU Tiger as he has also twice fired rounds of 7-under 65 in his collegiate career.
Ricard turned at 2-under par for his round with birdies at Nos. 2, 5 and 6 before his only bogey of the day at the eighth green. He got to 6-under par on the back nine while making birdie on four of his last seven holes in the round at the par-four 12th, 13th and 15th and the par-five 17th. Ricard moved into a tie for 27th place overall after teeing off in the second round in a tie for 83rd place following his first-round 76.
Burns, Jeansonne Eyeing Top 10s
Sophomores Sam Burns and Nathan Jeansonne will tee off in Sunday’s final round just two shots outside the Top 10 of the leaderboard in a tie with one another for 15th place overall with scores of 4-under par 138. The former Calvary Baptist Academy teammates helped the Tigers finish at 13-under par for the day as Jeansonne broke par with a 1-under 70 and Burns added an even-par 71.
Burns will challenge for his second-straight top-10 individual finish to kick off his sophomore season after opening with a tie for sixth place at the Carpet Capital Collegiate Classic two weeks ago where he posted his low tournament score for his career at 8-under par 208.
Seniors Break Par Through Two Rounds
All-American Brandon Pierce contributed a counting score of his own at even-par 71 in Saturday’s second round to finish the day tied with his senior teammate Ricard for 27th place in the individual standings. Both have broken par at 1-under par 141 through 36 holes of the championship with just one round to play.
Fellow senior Rhyne Jones followed his even-par 71 in the first round with a 4-over 75 in the second round to finish the day in a tie for 57th place on the leaderboard while playing as an individual this week.
Final-Round Tee Times
Teams will play in foursomes in Sunday’s championship finale as the Tigers are paired with Kent State, Baylor and South Carolina in the second wave off the front nine with tee times beginning at 10:06 a.m. CT. Golfstat will provide live scoring of the final round as fans can follow the Tigers in action at http://golfstat.com or by following @LSUMensGolf on Twitter at http://twitter.com/lsumensgolf.
MAUI JIM INTERCOLLEGIATE – SECOND ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 568)
1. LSU 270-271 – 541 -27; 2. Kent State 264-279 – 543 -25; 3. Baylor 269-276 – 545 -23; 4. South Carolina 273-276 – 549 -19; 5. Georgia Tech 280-276 – 556 -12; 6. Kansas 270-288 – 558 -10; 7. Houston 281-280 – 561 -7; T8. Georgia State 285-284 – 569 +1; T8. California 285-284 – 569 +1; 10. Augusta 289-282 – 571 +3; 11. South Florida 290-282 – 572 +4; 12. Grand Canyon 291-286 – 577 +9; 13. Notre Dame 288-291 – 579 +11; T14. Chattanooga 286-294 – 580 +12; T14. UAB 279-301 – 580 +12; 16. Hawaii 290-309 – 599 +31.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 142)
1. Luis Gagne, LSU, 65-65 – 130 -12; 2. Scott Stevens, South Carolina, 65-67 – 132 -10; 3. Braden Bailey, Baylor, 66-67 – 133 -9; T4. Chris Petefish, Georgia Tech, 68-67 – 135 -7; T4. Garrett May, Baylor, 66-69—135 -7; T4. Ian Holt, Kent State, 65-70 – 135 -7; T4. Chase Hanna, Kansas, 67-68 – 135 -7; T8. Cristian DiMarco, South Florida, 68-68 – 136 -6; T8. Keenan Huskey, South Carolina, 72-64 – 136 -6; T8. Luke Schniederjans, Georgia Tech, 69-67 – 136 -6.
1. Luis Gagne, 65-65 – 130 -12
T15. Sam Burns, 67-71 – 138 -4
T15. Nathan Jeansonne, 68-70 – 138 -4
T27. Brandon Pierce, 70-71 – 141 -1
T27. Eric Ricard, 76-65 – 141 -1
T57. Rhyne Jones, 71-75 – 146 +4*
* - Denotes player competing as an individual.