BROUSSARD — Steven Ashy has been playing golf for nearly 15 years, but he admitted he’d never taken part in an event similar to his participation Sunday in the Cypress Bayou Casino & Hotel Hole-in-One Shootout.
That lack of experience didn’t affect the Lafayette native, though, as he took top honors in the opening event of the 25th annual Chitimacha Louisiana Open, which takes place this week at Le Triomphe Golf & Country Club.
Ashy hit a 5-iron to within 12 feet, three inches on the difficult 180-yard par-3 eighth hole Sunday, easily the closest shot among the 35 players who qualified for the finals.
“I’ve never been in anything like this as far as a tournament,” said Ashy, who was one of only six competitors to hit the green in the windy conditions. “I’ve certainly never won anything like this before.”
Ashy won a $1,000 prize after qualifying last week at Oakbourne Country Club. Bobby Cormier of Lafayette finished second at 29 feet, one inch after qualifying at The Wetlands, and Denny Guilbeau of Lafayette was third after qualifying at Oakbourne.
No one won the top prize of $1 million, which would have gone to any player making a hole-in-one in Sunday’s final round. The $1 million prize has never been won in the 25-year history of the tournament.
Qualifying events were held at six locations in the two weekends leading up to the finals. The top five shots at each of the six qualifying courses earned spots in the final round.
The only other players to hit the green Sunday on the difficult eighth hole were Don Williams of Lafayette (50-4), Leonard Breaux of Youngsville (69-5) and Rick Boutte of Breaux Bridge (69-8). Williams and Breaux were both final-day qualifiers at Le Triomphe.
Activities in the silver-anniversary Louisiana Open continue Monday with player practice rounds and the Cypress Bayou Casino Pairings Party at 7 p.m. at the Charenton-based casino. A pair of pro-am events are set for Wednesday before championship for the 154-player field begins Thursday morning.
Two others took home prizes during Sunday’s hole-in-one event. High school golfer Ty Martin, representing local NBC affiliate KLAF-TV, won the media/celebrity division of the finals and provided a cash-donation prize to that station’s selected charity.
Cory Richard was the lucky winner of a drawing for a Masters getaway trip presented by the Open and its board of directors. The prize included two Wednesday practice round passes, two four-day badges for the tournament, the use of a house in Augusta for a week and travel expenses.
The Louisiana Open’s two Monday-qualifying events are scheduled for Oak Wing Golf Club and the Links on the Bayou, two courses located less than a mile apart in Alexandria. Both courses have a full 144-player field —- with 67 players on a waiting list.
The top six at each course will earn a spot in the main field, joining the 142 players who were entered as of Friday.
The Louisiana Open is still seeking volunteers to help with tournament staging, with a particular need for marshals and walking scorers to accompany each group for the Thursday and Friday rounds.
The tournament has nearly 500 volunteers who will assist in all areas for the tournament. The walking scorer positions are the only ones where golf knowledge is required.
There is a $25 fee for volunteers, with no charge for student volunteers age 18 and under, and volunteers receive a Louisiana Open souvenir shirt as well as meals and access to a hospitality tent, along with a waiver of the $5 parking fee.
Information on volunteering is available by calling the Open office at (337) 593-8000.