The LSU men’s golf team won the Baton Rouge Regional to capture its first NCAA Regional title on Wednesday at the University Club, joining Duke, Oregon, Virginia and Jacksonville in advancing to the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships.
The No. 1 seed Tigers led from the start to finish during the regional.
LSU sophomore and SEC Player of the Year Sam Burns contributed a major role in the Tigers’ success, claiming his fourth individual title of the season and helping LSU finish the regional with a final 54-hole score of 2-over par 866.
With a solid win on its own course, LSU won its sixth tournament for the season, a single-season school record. The win also gave the Tigers its 31st team win in 12 seasons under LSU head coach Chuck Winstead, which is 15 more than any other head coach in program’s history according LSU Athletics.
Winstead said it was difficult to think that it was the Tigers first time winning a regional.
“It’s really hard to imagine that it’s our first time (to win a regional) given all of the great players that have come through LSU. But we will take it,” Winstead said. “This is another tournament. It means a lot so we had to show up and take care of business. The next event will be an event of its own.”
Along with Burns strong performance, three other Tigers finished in the Top 10 of the final leaderboard. Sophomore Luis Gagne earned his career-best seventh top-10 finish, shooting a team low 1-under 71 in the final round and an even-par 216 for the tournament.
Eric Ricard tied for seventh overall after shooting 2-over 74 in the final round and 3-over par 219 overall for the tournament. Outside of top 10 finishes, freshman Philip Barbaree tied for 24th place in the tournament, shooting 8-over par through 54 holes while Brandon Pierce tied for 39th place, shooting 8-over 80 in the final round and finishing at 11-over par 227.
Individually, Burns, the No. 2 ranked player in the nation, held off Oregon’s No. 1-ranked player Wyndham Clark by a single stroke to earn his fourth title, shooting 3-over par 75 on Wednesday and 4-under par 212 for the tournament. He also increased his streak of top-10 finishes to 14 in 14 appearances, posting a 69.77 average.
Despite Burns having a “rough patch” on his back nine holes on Wednesday, he said that he wanted to make sure he played good golf for the fans but ultimately earn a victory.
“You have to ride the wave up and down,” Burns said. “You have to keep your head down and stay focused. Anytime people come out to watch you don’t want to show them bad golf. It’s not fun for me, it’s not fun for them. Getting to come out here and getting a win on our home course in front of all the fans is really special for me.”
Each of the top-five teams at the NCAA Baton Rouge Regional earned their spot in the field of 30 teeing it up at the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships to be held May 26-31 at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club in Sugar Grove, Illinois. LSU and Oregon will compete as the last two NCAA Champions in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Teams advancing to the 2017 NCAA Golf Championships will first play 54 holes of stroke play at Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club from May 26-28 while looking to make the first cut to the Top 15 teams. Each team making the 54-hole cut will then play a final round of stroke play on Monday, May 29, with the goal of advancing to the Match Play Eight for the national championship.
The quarterfinal and semifinal rounds of match play at the NCAA Championships will be played Tuesday, May 30, before the final two teams square off in the NCAA Championship Match on May 31.