Compiling the most points in BREC’s yearly series of golf tournaments, and winning the Player of the Year trophy has been a goal of Baton Rouge golfer Shane Starns for several years.
A former college baseball player, Starns began to play the game seriously after serving in the Marines. A fixture at local BREC tournaments, he put together his best season in 2015 and is the favorite to win player of the year honors.
“I set the goal to be player of the year three years ago,” Starns said. “Unfortunately, with work, I wasn’t able to play all the tournaments. Last year, was similar, but this year everything fell into place. I feel comfortable about the weekend coming.”
Starns’ steady play has him in first place as local golfers prepare for BREC’s Player of the Year tournament at Beaver Creek. Twenty-seven of the 40 golfers who qualified for the event will be on hand for the tournament, which begins at 7 a.m. Saturday.
Starns didn’t win any of the previous eight tournaments in the series, but he amassed 2,062 points to lead all other players. A top six finish would guarantee Starns’ retaining the top spot and earn him honors as player of the year.
The winner of this weekend’s tournament will earn 500 points. Only a handful of golfers have a chance to catch Starns: Scott Wilfong (1,902 points), Danny Nelson (1,898), Scott Haynie (1,802) and Mike Drury (1,785).
Wilfong, a friend of Starns, finished second in last year’s player of the year standings.
“Scott is a business partner of mine, and, of course, all week long he’s been telling me he would catch me,” Starns said. “I’m certain I’ll be able to keep a good eye on him since we’re playing in the same group.”
Starns’ top finishes this year came at the City Park Championship (second), the Dumas Memorial Championship (tied for second) and the Plainsman 4-ball, where he teamed with John Michael Goins and tied for third.
The tournament will be staged without the winners of five of the eight qualifying tournaments. Triston Elston, who recently won the Baton Rouge Open and the Baton Rouge Amateur, began his freshman year at Louisiana-Lafayette this week. Others not on hand are Seth Holley (Dumas Memorial), Henry Pointer (Howell Park) and Dante Caldera (Webb Memorial).
Caldera shot 4-under par 68 in last year’s second round to win the tournament and secure the title of player of the year. Blaine Patin, the 2013 player’s tournament winner, Gayle Sanchez and Todd Elkins were the only other golfers under par.
Both Patin and Sanchez will compete again this year.