Carter Toms leads Byrd to Division I golf title; Newman’s Price Butcher ties for second in Division III _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Newman's Price Butcher finished second in Division III at the LHSAA state golf championships on Thursday at the Farm d'Aliie Golf Club in Carencro.

CARENCRO — Carter Toms didn’t feel he played his best during last year’s state golf tournament.

The C.E. Byrd golf star, and son of PGA Tour pro David Toms, placed fifth at last year’s tournament as the Yellow Jackets claimed the championship. This time around, there was no denying that Toms played his best as he won the individual championship by 11 strokes and helped Byrd win its third straight title at The Farm d’Allie in Carencro on Thursday afternoon.

“It is pretty cool,” Toms said. “I was top 5 last year, but I didn’t play my best. It is nice to play well and help the team win another championship.”

Byrd won the championship with a two-round total score of 582, which was 17 strokes better than runner-up West Monroe (599). St. Thomas More finished third (604), last year’s runner-up Catholic High of Baton Rouge placed fourth (613), Jesuit (632) came in fifth followed by Airline (637), Zachary (664) and Fontainebleau (668).

Despite entering the tournament as the two-time defending champions, Byrd coach Casey Martin remained anxious to very end.

“This is the most pressure I have felt in all of three championships,” Martin said. “I was nervous day one and day two. I didn’t relax until they wrote that final score on the board.”

West Monroe completed a turnaround from last season when the team finished a disappointing sixth place at the tournament. West Monroe coach Keith Peveto was proud of what his team accomplished.

“I am extremely proud of all five guys,” Keith Peveto said. “We didn’t play real well yesterday but they fought. They made up a 21-shot difference from yesterday to today.

Toms was the only player in the field to shoot under par both rounds as he carded a 67 on Wednesday and followed that up with a 68 on Thursday. That gave him a two-day total of 135.

“I hit it really well today,” Toms said. “I didn’t make a ton of putts but I hit it close enough and well enough that I didn’t need to. I had two really stress free rounds.”

Last year’s state champion, and Toms’ teammate, Phillip Barbaree battled through a nagging hand injury to shoot back-to-back 73s to take second place. Barbe’s Zac Ciesla shot one of the few under-par rounds of the day with 70 to finish tied for third with West Monroe’s Joey Kirkland.

STM’s Drew Gonzales, who like Toms is headed to LSU next year, posted his second-straight top 5 finish at state by shooting 77-71 for fifth place. Gonzales finished fourth last year.

“It was a good day,” Gonzales said. “We have been in this position in the past and not played well. We wanted to put a good showing out there and battle hard. I didn’t play so well yesterday, and I felt that I needed to redeem myself.”

Earlier in the day in Carencro, University High took top honors in the Division III championship.

U-High easily took home the title finishing 33 strokes better than second place finisher St. Charles Catholic. Catholic High-New Iberia took third place while defending champion Dunham placed fourth followed by Notre Dame, Ouachita Christian, Holy Savior Menard and Loyola Prep.

U-High was led by defending individual champion Trey Winstead, who defended his crown by shooting a two-day total of 140, which was four strokes ahead of the trio of golfers who finished in second place.

In that trio was Winstead’s teammate, Parker Johnson, St. Charles Catholic’s Mikey Landry and Price Butcher of Isidore Newman.

Catholic-NI’s Micah Goulas, who shot the low round of Wednesday with a 67, and Ouachita Christian’s Garrett Dolecheck, who both carded 145 to finish tied for fifth place.