LAFAYETTE, La. – Two eagles at the par-five seventh and par-five 11th holes helped LSU’s sophomore All-American Sam Burns overturn a two-shot deficit at the start of day and take home a one-shot victory with a 4-under par 68 in Tuesday’s final round at the 32nd-annual Louisiana Classics held this week at Oakbourne Country Club.
Burns found himself in a dead heat with Kent State’s Ian Holt coming down the homestretch as they were both tied atop the leaderboard at 10-under par for the championship with just three holes to play.
Holt fell one shot off the pace into second place at 9-under par with a bogey at the par-four 16th, while Burns held his nerve with pars on each of the final three holes to capture his third tournament title for the 2016-17 season with his third-lowest score of the campaign with a 10-under par 206. The Tiger sophomore also fired rounds of 2-under 70 and 4-under 68 in Monday’s opener in Lafayette.
Burns led the Tigers to a third-place team finish among the 15 teams competing at the 32nd-annual Louisiana Classics as freshman Philip Barbaree finished with a 2-over 74, sophomore Luis Gagne carded a 3-over 75 and senior Eric Ricard and junior Blake Caldwell both added rounds of 8-over 80 for LSU’s team score of 8-over par 296 in the final round.
The No. 5-ranked Tigers broke par at 1-under 863 to finish third overall as No. 23-ranked Kent State ran away from the pack with a 19-shot victory after posting a 21-under par 843 in 54 holes at Oakbourne Country Club. LSU finished one shot behind No. 22-ranked Texas A&M in second at 2-under 862, while No. 2-ranked Illinois followed in fourth at 9-over 873 and Louisiana-Lafayette placed fifth at 20-over 884.
Tuesday’s final round concluded a whirlwind nine days for the Tigers after they opened their 2017 spring season with a comfortable victory at The Prestige at PGA West in La Quinta, California, just last Wednesday.
Third Time’s A Charm
Burns’ Louisiana Classics victory was his third of the season as he was also crowned a co-champion of the David Toms Intercollegiate along with teammates Gagne, Ricard and senior Brandon Pierce before capturing the Sun Bowl Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic during the 2016 fall season. It marks the first time in 28 years that an LSU Tiger has won three tournament titles in a single-season when David Toms won each of the Golf Digest Collegiate Invitational, Florida Southern-Imperial Lakes Classic and Gator Invitational in 1989.
Season By The Numbers
One look at the stat sheet shows just why Burns has established himself as a Ben Hogan Award and Haskins Award candidate this season, as well as a favorite to join Team USA at the Arnold Palmer Cup this summer.
Not only is the Shreveport native the No. 2-ranked player in the country in both the Golfstat and Golfweek individual player rankings, but he slots in as the No. 2-ranked American in the latest national player ranking by the Arnold Palmer Cup released last week. He leads the Tigers with a 69.00 scoring average in 24 competitive rounds played in 2016-17 with 22 of his rounds being played at par or better.
Burns has now finished among the final Top 10 in each of his eight starts this season, while capturing five first-place and second-place finishes. In fact, Burns has now finished first or second in four-straight appearances dating back to the fall season that includes runner-up finishes at the Ka’anapali Collegiate Classic in Hawaii in November and The Prestige at PGA West a week ago.
Burns was not the only Tiger to crack the Top 10 of the final leaderboard at the 32nd-annual Louisiana Classics as Gagne and Barbaree tied one another for 10th place with final tournament scores of 1-over 217 in 54 holes played this week. Gagne picked up his fourth top-10 finish in eight appearances this season, while Barbaree earned his first Top 10 in just his second career start for the Tigers.
Barbaree has started each of LSU’s first two spring events after enrolling in January as he signed with the Tigers in November as arguably the top high school recruit in the country in the Class of 2017.
Caldwell, who picked up his first collegiate top-10 finish at The Prestige at PGA West last week, tied for 21st place on the final leaderboard in Lafayette while finishing at 7-over par on the week. He followed rounds of 2-under 70 and 1-over 73 on Monday with an 8-over 80 on Tuesday. Ricard rounded out LSU’s five-man lineup in a tie for 39th place at 12-over par 228.
Senior Rhyne Jones was the top individual in Tuesday’s final round as he finished the event with a 5-over 77 to tie freshman Carter Toms for 65th place at 17-over par 233. Toms finished off his week with a 9-over 81 just one day after posting rounds of 6-over 78 and 2-over 74 in Monday’s opener. Sophomore Nathan Jeansonne rounded out the Tigers competing in Lafayette by tying for 75th place at 21-over par.
With the spring season now in full swing, the Tigers will return to action March 11-12 with a trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to compete at the General Hackler Championship being held at Dunes Golf Club. They go to Palm City, Florida, a week later to compete at this year’s Valspar Collegiate Invitational running March 19-21 at Floridian Golf Club.
32ND-ANNUAL LOUISIANA CLASSICS – FINAL ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 864)
1. Kent State 281-280-282 – 843 -21; 2. Texas A&M 287-288-287 – 862 -2; 3. LSU 278-289-296 – 863 -1; 4. Illinois 284-292-297 – 873 +9; 5. Louisiana-Lafayette 287-300-297 – 884 +20; 6. Texas-San Antonio 298-300-300 – 898 +34; T7. Southern Mississippi 291-304-304 – 899 +35; T7. Texas State 304-295-300 – 899 +35; T7. Sam Houston State 291-295-313 – 899 +35; 10. Southern Illinois 298-305-307 – 910 +46; T11. Toledo 296-306-309 – 911 +47; T11. Louisiana Tech 302-302-307 – 911 +47; 13. Missouri-Kansas City 304-301-307 – 912 +48; 14. Southeastern Louisiana 299-305-309 – 913 +49; 15. Texas-Arlington 310-302-315 – 927 +63.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 216)
1. Sam Burns, LSU, 70-68-68 – 206 -10; 2. Ian Holt, Kent State, 65-71-71 – 207 -9; 3. Fernando Cruz Valle, Louisiana-Lafayette, 68-70-72 – 210 -6; T4. Josh Whalen, Kent State, 70-72-69 – 211 -5; T4. Chandler Phillips, Texas A&M, 70-70-71 – 211 -5; T6. Cameron Champ, Texas A&M, 71-72-69 – 212 -4; T6. Gisli Sveinbergsson, Kent State, 72-68-72 – 212 -4; 8. Nick Hardy, Illinois, 66-72-75 – 213 -3; 9. Collin Clark, Texas-San Antonio, 71-73-71 – 215 -1; T10. Luis Gagne, LSU, 68-74-75 – 217 +1; T10. Philip Barbaree, LSU, 70-74-73 – 217 +1; T10. Dylan Meyer, Illinois, 72-71-74 – 217 +1.
1. Sam Burns, 70-68-68 – 206 -10
T10. Luis Gagne, 68-74-75 – 217 +1
T10. Philip Barbaree, 70-74-73 – 217 +1
T21. Blake Caldwell, 70-73-80 – 223 +7
T39. Eric Ricard, 72-76-80 – 228 +12
T65. Rhyne Jones, 79-77-77 – 233 +17*
T65. Carter Toms, 78-74-81 – 233 +17*
T75. Nathan Jeansonne, 75-79-83 – 237 +21*
* – Indicates player competing as an individual.