Completing a master’s degree at age 40 has its inherent rewards, and for local high school teacher Kevin Landry it has also allowed him time to play more golf.
Landry showed that his game was in good shape Saturday afternoon after posting an even-par round of 72 in the Baton Rouge Amateur qualifying tournament played at Webb Park.
With wet conditions causing the course to play longer and more difficult than recent qualifiers, Landry’s score easily had him among the top qualifiers. More than one-third of the qualifier’s field of 103 will advance to the amateur. The limited field of 64 makes earning a playing spot a coveted accomplishment.
The Baton Rouge Amateur will be July 26-27 at Santa Maria golf course with the top 28 seeds already set. The remainder of the field comes from the top 36 available finishers from the qualifying tournament.
Robbie White shot the low round of the day with a 3-under 69. A former baseball player at Runnels High School and LSU-Eunice, White began his round with back-to-back bogeys before finding a groove.
White’s birdie at the sixth started a six-hole stretch that included four birdies. He made the turn at 1-under 35, and made birdies at 11 and 16 for a back nine tally of 34.
“I three-putted the first green, and then I couldn’t get it up and down after pulling my approach left on the second,” White said. “I could have easily packed it in right there because I really wanted to go low.
“I just grinded it out. I strung a few pars together, and made a few birdies coming in.”
Gayle Sanchez and Seth Holley played in the first group of the day, and each shot 71 for the lowest round early in the day. It was a number that four other golfers matched before White finished up.
Donnie Chatelain, Stephen Maciasz, Terry Ledet and Lyle Peak each carded a 71 to share the second spot on the leader board.
Ledet’s round of 71 featured superb iron play as he hit the first 17 greens in regulation. After a pair of three-putts early in the round, Ledet settled in with his putter.
“It took me until a birdie at 11 to get under two putts per green in regulation,” said Ledet, who is in the top 10 of the BREC player of the year standings. “It was a good ball-striking day, and once I got adjusted to the greens everything was fine.”
Maciasz also needed a few holes to warm up his game. He bounced back from a pair of early bogeys with two birdies and an eagle at the par-5 11th.
“It was slow starting out,” said Maciasz, who hit a 7-iron to four feet at 11 before making the eagle putt.
“There’s no driving range, and we started early. Once I got loosened up, I eagled 12, and after that it was good.”
Landry’s story is a familiar one for weekend players with commitments that often keep them away from the golf course. After retiring from high school soccer coaching three seasons ago, he used the extra time to earn a Master’s degree in educational technology.
Now, with time to put a little work into his golf game, Landry made it pay off with a qualifying spot in the Baton Rouge Amateur.
“I play in these tournaments occasionally, but just for fun. I don’t play a lot of serious golf any more,” Landry said. “I’ve played in the amateur two or three times over the years, but its been sporadic because of my schedule. I was usually doing soccer stuff in the summer.”