LAFAYETTE — Golf is usually considered an individual sport, but don’t tell that to the top-seeded Episcopal School of Acadiana golf team.
No one member of the Falcons finished near the top of the field as individuals, but the team put together a balanced performance both days of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA state golf championships at the Wetlands golf course and won the Division IV state title by 14 strokes.
“We’re the epitome of a true team,” said ESA coach Jean Paul Boullion. “Our goal this year, we had the number 80 in mind. If we could get four guys to score in the 80s, two consecutive days, we felt like we had a good chance.”
The Falcons exceeded that goal in the first day of competition, as they had three players score in the 70s, giving them a 13-stroke lead heading into the second half of the tournament.
ESA did not perform as well during the windy second round but still managed to reach its goal with four of its five golfers finishing in the 80s to seal the team victory.
“Golf’s an individual sport, but it’s amazing how these guys feed off each other’s success,” Boullion said. “It really is a true team.”
Westminster Christian junior Jack Tolson quickly ran away from the field Monday and didn’t let up Tuesday on his way to a 12-stroke victory and his second consecutive Division IV individual championship.
Tolson tallied the best score on both days of the competition with a 64 on Monday that gave him a six-stroke lead going into Tuesday, when he shot 69 to finish with total of 133 — 11 under par — and earn back-to-back victories at the tournament.
“It feel’s great,” Tolson said. “My hard work is paying off, and I’m starting to play some good golf.”
Benton won the Division II title for the fourth consecutive year and did so in convincing fashion. After posting a team score of 283 on Monday to take a 20-stroke lead on Division II runner-up St. Louis, the Tigers followed up their dominant performance with a 303 to secure another championship.
“We had won one in 2004, but this group of seniors grew up together playing,” said Benson coach Tim Cram. “They were the nucleus of everything. It means a lot to the school and to the kids. Them going out together like that is big.
Benton senior Jacob Wyatt also won the individual championship with an even-par 144, edging out Nathan Grossi of Sam Houston and Matt Ramsey of North DeSoto, each of whom finished at 147.
Wyatt and his fellow seniors helped lead Benton to state championships all four years they participated, something they’ve been wanting to achieve since before they even arrived to high school.
“We talked about it during all of our middle school years,” Wyatt said.
“We wanted to win state championships every year. We finally accomplished it, and it feels awesome.”