St. John’s Michael D’Albor uses clutch shots on No. 18 to win Division IV boys golf individual title _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Michael D'Albor, from St. John High School, tees on the the sixteenth hole of The Wetlands Golf Course on Thursday during the final round of the boys State Golf Championship.

LAFAYETTE — Michael D’Albor of St. John and Eric Brown of Hamilton Christian traded strokes all morning in the final grouping of the Division IV boys state golf championships at The Wetlands. And they found themselves tied atop the leaderboard as they prepared to tee off on the 18th and final hole of regulation.

“Eighteen was quite a hole,” said D’Albor. “I knew when we got on the tee box I was tied with Eric, and I told myself birdie is going to win.”

Birdie did indeed win, D’Albor stepped up and hit his best drive of the day, then using a chip shot to reach the par four 18th in two. The senior then calmly sank a 20-foot downhill putt to clinch the championship.

Over the two-day tournament D’Albor shot 73 and 69 for a total of 142, finishing two strokes in front of runner-up Eric Brown.

On the team side, Episcopal School of Acadiana ran away from the competition to capture their second consecutive state championship. The Falcons shot a 307, a 13-stoke improvement from Wednesday. ESA’s 36-hole total of 627 was 34 strokes better than second-place St. Mary.

Coach Stephen Nickel said consistency played a big role in ESA repeating as champs.

“Some of the players that shot higher scores yesterday shot lower scores today,” Nickel said. “That’s just the type of team we have. They are all fairly steady and consistent.”

Thirty six holes simply was not enough in the Division II tournament as two friends played until daylight turned into dusk, matching each other shot for shot. Only Mother Nature defeated Loranger’s Kristofer Kerr and Benton’s Hayden White who were named co-champions.

Kerr began the day with a two-shot lead but after 11 holes White had erased the deficit and opened a two-shot lead of his own. But three Kerr birdies in the last six holes forced the two into a playoff.

The two embarked on an epic six-hole playoff that saw both players and the gallery hang on every shot. Only after daylight expired was the decision made to declare Kerr and White co-champions.

In a much less dramatic fashion, Benton wrapped up its fifth straight team title. Coach Tim Cram’s team beat Wednesday’s score of 294 by two strokes to finish with a team total of 586.

Runner up E.D. White shot a 600.