LAFAYETTE — With the way putts were dropping, Tyler Ledet had a chance at a special score Saturday in the opening round of the Lafayette City Golf Championships.
The Alexandria native and current Lafayette resident had six birdies through his first 11 holes, before the putts quit dropping and his iron game lost its edge. But he held it together enough to finish with a 1-under-par 71 and take a two-stroke advantage into Sunday’s final round of Lafayette’s oldest golf tournament.
Ledet posted the only men’s subpar score of the day over the long 7,293-yard Wetlands layout and leads a trio that includes locals John Talley and Doug Hobbs and new Louisiana-Lafayette transfer Ragnar Gardarsson, who all finished at 1-over 73.
Three more players, including five-time city champion Todd Weber, are one more stroke back at 74 in the championship flight when play shifts to Les Vieux Chenes for Sunday’s final 18 holes.
The City Championship includes five divisions, and the round of the day came outside the championship flight. Lafayette’s Syndey Martien, a former St. Thomas More prep standout who recently finished her collegiate career at McNeese State, blazed her way to a 5-under 67 and leads the ladies division by 10 strokes going into the final round.
Alex Declouet and Wes Angelle shot even-par 72 and lead reigning champion John Broussard by one stroke in the seniors (age 62 and over) division, while Kyle Broussard and Jason Faul are tied atop the open first flight after a 1-over 73 and Geoff Berniard leads the open second flight with a 6-over 78.
Ledet was even par through five holes Saturday before a streak that included five birdies in his next six holes. The only hiccup in that run was a double-bogey out of the native grass at the par-three eighth hole, and birdies at the ninth, 10th and 11th put him at 3-under.
“I felt like I was really going to get it rolling, coming off three in a row and going to the 12th,” he said. “It wasn’t like I limped in, but I struggled with my irons after that.”
Ledet, making his first City Championships appearance, missed a 6-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th and then three-putted the par-three 16th and the par-four 18th. Before that, he had an up-and-down birdie on the par-5 ninth hole, hit a 9-iron to 6 feet on the 10th and rolled in a 35-footer on the par-5 11th in his birdie streak.
“As good as I putted, I still had three three-putts,” he said. “It could have been a lot better. I think I was one or two swings away from a 67, so I’m looking forward to (Sunday).”
Talley stumbled at the start with a double-bogey at the third and was 4-over through eight holes before a birdie at the ninth and a back-nine 34 that included two short birdie putts.
“I got off to a really bad start,” Talley said. “I did finally get something going after that.”
Hobbs’ consistent round included one birdie and two bogeys. Gardarsson, who joined the Ragin’ Cajuns squad as a transfer for the fall semester, had three birdies and was 1-under for his round before bogeying Nos. 17 and 18.
Weber is tied with Patrick Babineaux and Catholic-New Iberia senior Micah Goulas for fifth in his chase for a record sixth city title. Defending city champion David “Magic” Duhon had to withdraw from the field Friday with a hand injury.
Martien’s dazzling round in the ladies’ division was a roller-coaster, with a pair of eagles mixed with six birdies, six bogeys and only three pars. She hit a wedge to 15 feet on the par-five sixth hole and rolled in that putt, and added an eagle on the par-4 12th when her tee-shot 5-wood came up 20 yards short of the green and she chipped in.
“It’s been a while since I had two eagles in a round,” Martien said. “I was hitting my wedges really well. I pretty much have a wedge into every green out here, so it’s all about keeping my short game in check and getting it up-and-down.”
Martien followed her second eagle with a wedge to 6 feet for birdie on the par-4 13th, and was 6-under at that point despite three three-putts. She is 10 shots ahead of 2013 champion Amanda Rothrock and 11 in front of defending champion and former prep teammate Lauren Aillet entering the final round.