ST. FRANCISVILLE — Carter Toms’ golf swing is his own, but it’s hard not to glimpse his famous father even when sitting down for a quick chat during a rain delay at the AJGA St. Francisville Area Foundation Junior tournament.
The voice has a familiar tone. There was a self-deprecating apology for a rough start in the golf tournament. And there was a fondness for the state of Louisiana in general, and LSU in particular.
They are all things that could just as easily be associated with his father, former LSU All-American David Toms, a 13-time PGA Tour winner who finished in the top 20 at the recently concluded Travelers Championship.
A senior-to-be at Byrd High School in Shreveport, the younger Toms was one of three LSU commitments competing at The Bluffs Golf Resort; Drew Gonzales and Hayden White for the men’s team, and Julia Johnson for the women.
“We’re going to be a really good team, and it’s going to be really cool to be a part of something like that,” Carter Toms said of his LSU commitment. “It will almost be an all-Louisiana team, and that’s unheard of.”
Lightning and then rain created a weather delay of more than two hours, and left about one-third of the boys field and all of the girls with rounds to finish Wednesday morning.
White was tied for fourth with a 72. Gonzales was tied for sixth after posting a 73. On the girls’ side, Johnson was tied for third at 3-over through 15.
The leader in the clubhouse was Jake Carter of Aiken, South Carolina, last year’s runner-up finisher who carded a 66. Henry Suman was 3-under through 14 while Price Butcher of New Orleans was third after a 70. Two-time defending champion Zach Tracy of Houston shot 73.
Other Louisiana juniors in the top 20 were Zachary’s Stewart Perilloux and Metairie’s Grant Glorioso, each with a 76; Charlie Flynn of Alexandria, 4 over through 14; Ponchatoula’s Justin Caldwell and Gonzales’ Logan Leary, who each shot 77.
Toms, who shot 78, found the greens difficult to navigate, and had one birdie on the day. He also made two mistakes off the tee that led to double bogeys. At the par-3 17th, his approach found the water. On the par-4 first, he pulled his drive into Thompson’s Creek and was forced to take a drop.
“I’m not hitting the ball that bad,” he said. “I made a couple of bad swings on the first nine that cost me some strokes. I haven’t capitalized on the good shots I hit, and the bad ones have really cost me so far.”
Toms finished tied for fifth at last month’s Division I golf tournament, where he and teammate Philip Barbaree helped Byrd win the state team title. Barbaree, also an LSU commitment, took medalist honors for the individual title.
Toms, who already has Shreveport ties with current LSU freshmen Sam Burns and Nathan Jeansonne, is excited about the talent that LSU coach Chuck Winstead is putting together.
“They’re all guys I play with every day,” Toms said. “They’re some of the top juniors in the world, and they’re going to LSU. We’ve got a really good team, and it’s going to be an all-Louisiana team so it’s awesome.”
Following in the footsteps of someone as successful and popular as his father was something that took a back seat to having a chance to play for LSU.
“Everybody knows who I am so they’re looking for my score, and they expect me to do well,” Toms said. “Sometimes I put pressure on myself, but I just try and forget all that. I just want to be the best player I can be.
“I want to stay at LSU four years and help the team out. I want to be a player that contributes to a national championship or something like that. That’s the main goal.”