St. John’s Michael D’Albor wins state golf title _lowres

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

LAFAYETTE — Michael D’Albor of St. John and Eric Brown of Hamilton Christian traded strokes all morning in the final grouping in Division IV. And as a result, the two 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” D’Albor said. “I knew when we got on the tee box I was tied with Eric, and I told myself birdie is going win.”

Birdie did indeed win, as D’Albor stepped up and hit his best drive of the day, then used a chip shot to reach the par-4 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 Brown.

In individual competition, Episcopal School of Acadiana ran away from the competition to capture its second consecutive boys state golf championship in Division IV at the Wetlands on Thursday.

The Falcons shot a combined 307 on Thursday, a 13 stroke improvement from Wednesday. ESA’s 36-hole total of 627 was 34 strokes better than second-place St. Mary.

Consistency is what allowed ESA to repeat as champs.

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

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

The longtime friends battled throughout the afternoon.

“We’ve known each other since we were little kids, and when I found out I was playing with him, I thought we would have fun and then we ended up having more fun in the playoff,” White said.

Kerr began the day with a two-shot lead, but after 11 holes, White erased the deficit and opened a two-shot lead. 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 onto every shot.

Only after daylight expired was the decision made to declare Kerr and White co-champions.

“Hayden and I went out and played awesome today, and I just could not be any happier,” Kerr said. “I think we both deserve the state title.”

They finished the tournament with a two-day total of 136.

Benton wrapped up its fifth straight team title, finishing with a team total of 586. Runner-up E.D. White completed the 36-hole competition with a 600.