BATON ROUGE – Eighteen holes is all that separates the No. 2-ranked LSU Tigers from a successful defense of their David Toms Intercollegiate title and their second-straight tournament championship this season as they wrapped up Saturday’s action at The University Club 22 shots clear of the field at 5-under par as a team.
The Tigers were the only team in the 14-team field to break par on the opening day of the eighth-annual event as they followed their 9-under 279 in the morning with a 4-over 292 in the afternoon for a 36-hole total of 5-under par 571. North Texas finished the day 22 shots off the pace in second place in the team standings at 17-over par 593.
Senior Brandon Pierce finished the day tied atop the leaderboard with sophomore teammates Luis Gagne and Nathan Jeansonne as each finished in red figures with matching scores of 2-under 142 on the day.
Each of the five Tigers in LSU’s starting lineup cracked the Top 10 through 36 holes as defending David Toms Intercollegiate champion Eric Ricard ended the day four shots behind his teammates with a two-round effort of 2-over par 146, while sophomore Sam Burns finished at 4-over par 148 to tie for 10th place heading into Sunday’s final round.
With a successful defense of their team title on Sunday, the Tigers would earn their second tournament title of the fall season for the third time in five seasons after being crowned champions at the inaugural Maui Jim Intercollegiate two weeks ago. They also won the Shoal Creek Intercollegiate in 2012 and Golfweek Conference Challenge in 2014 while also winning the David Toms Intercollegiate both seasons.
Tigers Eye Second Sweep
The Tigers are also poised to sweep team and individual titles for the second-straight tournament after Gagne was crowned an individual champion for the first time in his collegiate career while leading the Tigers to an impressive victory at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate in their last tournament appearance.
Gagne followed his 1-over 73 in the morning round with a 3-under 69 in the afternoon Saturday to finish the first day of action at 2-under par for the championship. Golfweek’s No. 10-ranked carded six birdies and only three bogeys in a second round that proved challenging for the rest of the field to climb 11 spots up the leaderboard after tying for 12th place in the first round.
Pierce fired the low round of the day with a 6-under 66 in the first round as he carded eight birdies and two bogeys to tie Pennsylvania’s Josh Goldenberg for the top spot through 18 holes. Pierce held his position after posting a 1-over 73 in the afternoon round, while Goldenberg finished the day one shot back in sole possession of fourth place at 1-under par.
Jeansonne will also compete for his first collegiate title after firing rounds of 2-under 70 and even-par 72 to tie Gagne and Pierce for the top spot at 2-under par after two rounds at The University Club.
Ricard claimed his first individual title at last year’s David Toms Intercollegiate with a career-low tournament score of 10-under par 206 en route to a seven-shot victory. Ricard must make up four shots on the leaders to defend his title after shooting 1-under 71 and 3-over 75 for a two-round total of 2-over par 146 on Saturday.
Burns is poised for his third-straight top-10 finish in three tournament appearances this fall after tying for 10th place on the day as he followed his even-par 72 in the first round with a 4-over 76 in the second.
Senior Rhyne Jones led four Tigers playing as individuals as he posted back-to-back rounds of 4-over 76 for a 36-hole score of 8-over par 152 to tie for 27th place on the leaderboard. Freshman Carter Toms ended his day in a tie for 39th place overall at 10-over 154, followed by junior Blake Caldwell in a tie for 56th place at 16-over 160 and freshman Drew Gonzales in 75th place at 28-over 172.
Behind The Numbers
Scoring proved difficult for many of the 77 golfers in the field on the opening day of competition as the course yielded a 77.64 scoring average at nearly 6-over par per round between the two rounds. While averaging a modest 76.40 in the morning, the field added 2.48 strokes per round in the afternoon with a 78.88 scoring average to close out the day.
The par-four 18th hole, playing at 458 yards for the weekend, surrendered just two birdies in 77 rounds played in the morning as the most difficult hole in the first round at +0.66 average relative to par. University Club’s signature hole wasn’t much kinder in the second round while yielding six birdies and playing at a +0.52 average relative to par for the fifth-most-difficult hole in the afternoon.
The most challenging hole to score in the second round proved to be the 215-yard, par-three 16th hole which played at a 36-hole high of +1.06 average relative to par. It saw just three birdies in the afternoon along with 32 bogeys, 14 double bogeys and seven scores of triple bogey or higher.
Competitors were able to take advantage of the par-five 17th as it played the easiest in both rounds at 528 yards. It was the only hole on the course to average an under-par score in both rounds of Saturday’s opener at -0.35 in the first round and -0.22 in the second round. Nearly half the field was able to pick up at least one shot at No. 17 with three eagles and 71 birdies going on the card in 154 rounds played on the day.
Final Round Pairings
The Tigers are paired with North Texas and McNeese State in Sunday’s final round as they will tee off on holes Nos. 1-3 with a shotgun start scheduled for 8:30 a.m. CT. Golfstat will feature live scoring of the final round of the eighth-annual David Toms Intercollegiate as fans can follow all the action by logging on to http://www.golfstat.com.
DAVID TOMS INTERCOLLEGIATE – SECOND ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 576)
1. LSU 279-292 – 571 -5; 2. North Texas 295-298 – 593 +17; 3. McNeese State 292-302 – 594 +18; 4. South Alabama 294-303 – 597 +21; 5. Louisiana Tech 297-312 – 609 +33; 6. Louisiana-Monroe 296-314 – 610 +34; T7. Southern Illinois 301-310 – 611 +35; T7. Louisiana-Lafayette 308-303 – 611 +35; T9. Pennsylvania 303-311 – 614 +38; T9. Western Carolina 296-318 – 614 +38; T11. Central Arkansas 298-317 – 615 +39; T11. Southeastern Louisiana 312-303 – 615 +39; 13. DePaul 301-317 – 618 +42; 14. Navy 323-319 – 642 +66.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 144)
T1. Brandon Pierce, LSU, 66-76 – 142 -2; T1. Luis Gagne, LSU, 73-69 – 142 -2; T1. Nathan Jeansonne, LSU, 70-72 – 142 -2; 4. Josh Goldenberg, Pennsylvania, 66-77 – 143 -1; 5. Andreas Krokeide, McNeese State, 74-71 – 145 +1; T6. Eric Ricard, LSU, 71-75 – 146 +2; T6. Daniel O’Loughlin, McNeese State, 70-76 – 146 +2; T6. Dylan MacQueen, Western Carolina, 70-76 – 146 +2; 9. Sylas Elliott, South Alabama, 70-77 – 147 +3; T10. Sam Burns, LSU, 72-76 – 148 +4; T10. Devin Jackson, North Texas, 73-75 – 148 +4; T10. Rasmus Karlsson, South Alabama, 73-75 – 148 +4; T10. Cory Churchman, North Texas, 74-74 – 148 +4; T10. Freddy Thomas, DePaul, 75-73 – 148 +4; T10. Ian Snyman, North Texas, 73-75 – 148 +4; T10. Louis Tomlinson, Central Arkansas, 71-77 – 148 +4.
T1. Brandon Pierce, 66-76 – 142 -2
T1. Luis Gagne, 73-69 – 142 -2
T1. Nathan Jeansonne, 70-72 – 142 -2
T6. Eric Ricard, 71-75 – 146 +2
T10. Sam Burns, 72-76 – 148 +4
T27. Rhyne Jones, 76-76 – 152 +8*
T39. Carter Toms, 76-78 – 154 +10*
T56. Blake Caldwell, 79-81 – 160 +16*
75. Drew Gonzales, 86-86 – 172 +28*
* - Denotes player competing as an individual.