BROUSSARD — One interested spectator at this week’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open has rarely had a chance to enjoy the local tournament action, even though he’s a member of the host Le Triomphe Golf Club.
Ted Scott’s usually been a little busy.
The Lafayette native is normally tied up with his day job, as caddie for PGA Tour star and two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson. Normally he and Watson would be at Bay Hill this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which has been played opposite the Louisiana Open in three of the past four years.
But Watson has been fighting a sore back, which he aggravated at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Trump National-Doral two weeks ago. Watson withdrew from Bay Hill this week, even though a recent MRI showed no reasons for concern.
“I wanted to just rest so I can be ready for Augusta,” Watson said on The Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive” show Tuesday. “The Match Play is coming up so I took a week off, just deciding what’s going to be best for me the rest of the year with the Olympics and Ryder Cup and everything.”
Watson has already won this year at Riviera and was runner-up at the Cadillac, and the 43-year-old Scott was on his bag, just as he has been for the past decade. But with Watson’s withdrawal, the Comeaux High graduate got an unanticipated weekend at the home that he and wife Melanie finally finished remodeling not long ago. He’s also spending some time out at Le Triomphe, and the always-affable Scott had a succession of friends and acquaintances coming to greet him during the Web.com Tour event’s practice rounds.
“It’s good to be at home,” Scott said on Tuesday at Le Triomphe while hanging out with some of the Web.com Tour caddies next to the No. 1 fairway. “People think it’s an easy job and it’s a glamorous life, but it’s tough. It’s tough not to be able to sleep at home every night. All that travel can really wear you down after a while.”
The final dozen
The final 12 spots in the Louisiana Open field were claimed in two Monday qualifiers staged at the Oak Wing Golf Club and Links on the Bayou courses in Alexandria. The top six at each course, out of 144 players at each layout, earned spots in Thursday’s championship field.
Sebastian Vazquez of Pharr, Texas, and Brad Hopfinger of Chicago, both of whom hold limited Web.com Tour status, each blazed to a nine-under 62 over the par-71 Oak Wing layout to lead the six qualifiers there. Sebastian Cappelen of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., had a 63 and Justin Shin of Mesa, Ariz., Grayson Murray of Raleigh, N.C., and Zack Sucher of Mobile, Ala., posted 64 scores, with no playoff needed for any of the six spots there.
That wasn’t the case at Links on the Bayou, where six players were in a playoff for the final five spots. Blake Pugh of Southlake, Texas, led at the Links with an eight-under 63, but six players tied at 64 and held a sudden-death playoff. Two-time Web.com Tour winner D. J. Brigman of Clovis, New Mexico, was the unfortunate one to be eliminated, hitting into the water on the first playoff hole.
Advancing along with Pugh from Links on the Bayou were Greg Chalmers of Colleyville, Texas, Curtis Reed of Castroville, Texas, J. C. Horne of Jacksonville, Fla., Justin Lower of Charlotte, N.C., and Austin Quick of Phoenix, Ariz. All but Pugh and Lower of the 12 qualifiers hold Web.com Tour status.
Pro-ams on Wednesday
The Coca-Cola Pro-Am and the Tathata Golf Pro-Am are set for 8 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Wednesday, each with a field of 27 four-amateur teams pairing up with the Tour pros one day prior to the start of championship competition Thursday.
Among the pro notables playing in the pro-ams are local sponsor exemptions Michael Smith, Devin Carrey and Ethan Savoy, former LSU standout Curtis Thompson, previous Web.com Tour winner Sebastian Munoz at the Club Colombia Championship in February, and six players who have won on the PGA Tour during their careers: Jonathan Byrd, John Rollins, Tommy Gainey, John Merrick, Eric Axley and Chris Smith.
With the field expanded to a tournament-record 152 players, tee times have also been bumped up and play will begin at 7:20 a.m. Thursday off both the Nos. 1 and 10 tees.
Official sunrise for Thursday is 7:19 a.m.
To accommodate player warmups in the pre-dawn hour — most of the pros will loosen up and hit on the range for an hour before they begin play — large floodlights are set to be placed Wednesday throughout Le Triomphe’s practice area in both the driving and short-game areas.
Luke Guthrie of Quincy, Ill., and Tag Ridings of Keller, Texas on No. 1, and former LSU standout Curtis Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., Andy Winings of Fishers, Ind., and Brady Schnell of Phoenix, Ariz., on No. 10, drew the earliest tee times at 7:20 a.m. Thursday.