LAFAYETTE — Louisiana-Lafayette golf coach Theo Sliman is hoping that familiarity breeds better results for his Ragin’ Cajuns squad this week.
The Cajuns welcome 13 teams, including No. 1 Illinois, to the 30th annual Louisiana Classics tournament on Monday and Tuesday. Action at the 7,002-yard Oakbourne layout begins with two 18-hole rounds Monday and a final 18 holes Tuesday.
Joining UL-Lafayette and the defending champion Illini are Kansas, Kansas State, Illinois State, Kent State, Middle Tennessee, Mississippi State, Northwestern, South Alabama, Southern Mississippi, Southeastern Louisiana, Texas State and Texas-San Antonio.
Tournament action is available on a live web stream at ragincajuns.com at 9 a.m. both days.
The Cajuns have finished 13th of 15 teams at the UTSA/Oak Hills Invitational and 12th of 15 at the Bayou City Collegiate in Houston in their two spring tournaments. A return home, Sliman said, could provide a boost in the team’s only home tournament of the year.
“We were in a position to work ourselves up the rankings and put ourselves in position for postseason play going into the spring,” he said. “I didn’t expect us to struggle like this. I’m hoping that our guys remember the success we had here last year and that will give them some confidence.”
The Cajuns finished third in last year’s 12-team field behind Illinois and LSU, which finished six strokes back of Illinois in the 2014 Classics after winning the 2013 title. LSU’s Myles Lewis won last year’s individual title, but the Tigers are in another tournament this week and are not back in this year’s field.
“It’s a shame that LSU isn’t in the tournament this year,” said Illinois coach Mike Small, whose squad is the only one in the nation’s top 50 in the field. “They’ve been in the last few years and they’re a top-10 program. But that doesn’t change things for us. On this golf course, if we don’t play well, we’ll get beat.”