LAFAYETTE — The state’s top high school golfers — all 256 of them — will descend on the Acadiana area over the next two days and shoot for top honors at the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA state championships.
The tournament is divided into six divisions, four boys and two girls divided by enrollment, and will be held at three Lafayette-area courses. The Farm d’Allie will host boys Divisions I and III, the Wetlands will stage the boys Divisions II and IV, and Les Vieux Chenes will host the girls Divisions I and II competition.
Play begins at 8 a.m. Monday at all three sites for the two-day, 36-hole event that is being held in the Lafayette area for the first time.
The LHSAA’s premier golf event is in its third year of bringing all classifications in both boys and girls divisions together in the same geographical area and at the same time. Before 2013, the various divisions were scattered throughout the state and each classification held its championships independently.
Two years ago, the LHSAA consolidated the tournaments, and the first two combined events were held in the Shreveport-Bossier City area. Lafayette won the bid to host the tournaments for a two-year period last May.
“We’re going to make this the best golf event the LHSAA has ever had,” said Robert Boudreaux, local tournament chairman and the golf coach at host school Teurlings Catholic. “Combining the tournaments was a great idea, but we’re going to take that idea and take it to the next level.”
Activities for the tournament began Sunday night with the tournament welcome banquet — a function that had not been held in the past. Former PGA Tour professional Mike Heinen was the guest speaker, and UL-Lafayette golf coach Theo Sliman served as moderator. Coaches and players also received gift bags upon arrival — another tournament first.
“This tournament should be a first-class event, and we’re going to do everything we can to make that happen,” Boudreaux said. “The three courses are all in great shape.”
All six defending team champions are returning this year — Byrd in boys Division I, Benton in boys Division II, Calvary Baptist in boys Division III, St. Mary’s of Natchitoches in boys Division IV, Zachary in girls Division I and University Lab in girls Division II. Of the 48 teams to participate in last year’s tournament in the six divisions, 33 of those teams survived last week’s regional competitions to earn berths in the state tournament.
Each division has eight teams as well as eight individual players who had the best regional scores among teams that did not qualify for the team competition.
Among the players to watch is Shreveport’s Sam Burns, a senior at Calvary Baptist and the Division III individual champion in each of the last three years.
Burns did not play in the regional competition because of his participation in a national American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournament but will return to the Calvary lineup for the state meet.
Burns, an LSU signee, is the top-ranked junior in the United States by the AJGA and won last summer’s national Junior PGA Championship, which earned him a spot in last month’s PGA Tour Valero Texas Open in San Antonio. He will also play in the Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic later this season.
Fellow Shreveport products Phillip Barbaree and Carter Toms, son of longtime PGA Tour player and PGA champion David Toms of LSU, led Byrd to the regional win last week. Barbaree, who set a Louisiana Golf Association Junior Amateur record last year with a three-round 197 score, blazed to a 9-under 63 at Alexandria’s Oak Wing course in the regional round.
Trey Winstead of University Lab, son of LSU golf coach Chuck Winstead, carded a 6-under 66 in leading University Lab to the Division II, Region II team title at the Atchafalaya course in Patterson last week. But Winstead had to share individual honors with Catholic-New Iberia’s Micah Goulas, who also posted a 66 only a few days after winning top individual honors in the Acadiana Area High School Golf League championship.
The girls divisions are paced by Mary Frances Chauvin of Hammond, who was a freshman was the runner-up in girls’ Division I individual play last year, and East Iberville’s Julia Johnson. Chauvin posted a stellar 7-under 65 and Johnson a 67 in last week’s Division I and II regional round at Greystone in Denham Springs.