St. Thomas More boys golfers finish fourth in Division I again _lowres

Advocate photo by BRAD KEMP St. Thomas More's Drew Gonzales l putts on the 13th hole during the second round of the Division I LHSAA State Golf Tournament at The Farm D'Allie in Carencro.

St. Thomas More fell short of its own high expectations.

STM ended last year’s first round of the Division I boy’s golf state championship tied for first place, and even led Byrd by two strokes entering the final round. The Cougars, though, didn’t finish strong at last year’s championship in Shreveport as the team finished fourth, 14 strokes behind champion Byrd.

STM coach Chad Massie said he thought that disappointing experience would help his team excel at this year’s state championship at The Farm d’Allie in Carencro. But the Cougars finished in fourth place again, 34 strokes behind Byrd who repeated as champion.

“The team is strong but really didn’t play that well,” Massie said. “I didn’t lose anyone from last year, and we were actually leading after the first round last year and just didn’t finish. This time around they couldn’t make any putts, tried to push to get back. They are disappointed and rightfully so.”

Catholic High of Baton Rouge finished as runner-up, 15 strokes behind Byrd. Barbe took third, and Jesuit finished in fifth. .

Fast greens, windy conditions and challenging pin placement were cited by golfers and coaches alike for the lack of low scoring.

“I am not going to blame it all on the course,” Massie said. “But they put the pins (Monday) in some place that were unreasonable,” Massie said. “They were tucked behind slopes where they weren’t holding, so they didn’t have a fair shot of getting the ball close. The pins were more accessible (Tuesday), but they struggled with the wind.”

Byrd’s Philipp Barbaree repeated as the Division I boys champion as he posted a two-round score of 141 (68-73). That was seven strokes better than runners-up Jesuit’s Grant Glorioso (78-70-148) and Catholic-Baton Rouge’s Williams Myers (76-72-148).

St. Thomas More’s Drew Gonzales (74-75-149) finished fourth while St. Paul’s Beau Briggs (78-72-150), Hahnville’s Colin Troxler (76-74-150) and Byrd’s Carter Toms (73-77-150) all tied for fifth.

Earlier in the day at The Farm, the Notre Dame Pioneers had a solid showing in Division III.

Notre Dame finished third with a two-round total of 640, 16 strokes behind state champion Dunham and 10 back of runner-up University Lab.

“I feel pretty good, but obviously we are a little disappointed,” Notre Dame coach Michael Fruge said. “We got a young team. We have a ways to go, but these kids have good things in front of them. We played about as good as we can play”

Notre Dame’s Tristan Fruge shot an even-par 72 in the second round to finish his two rounds at 147 (75-72), which was good enough to finish as state runner-up. The younger Fruge admitted that the front nine gave him a few problems; as he shot a combined 7-over par the two days and 4-under par on the back nine.

“I just couldn’t get in my groove early enough,” Tristan Fruge said. “I could have done better, but I am happy with it.”

Catholic-New Iberia finished sixth, with Micah Goulas placing fourth in the individual category with a two-round score of 150 (74-76). This was only the second time that the Panthers reached the state tournament.

“The first day they just had the jitters,” Catholic-NI coach Donna Goulas said. “A lot of them don’t have experience with two-day 18-hole tournaments that may have gotten to them.”

Goulas said that this time is just the beginning of continued success at the school.

“I think we are going to be strong the next couple of years,” Goulas said. “With each year of experience is going to make us better.”

University Lab’s Winstead shot a combined two-round score of 144 (70-74) to win the state individual title, a crown previously held the past two years by Calvary Baptist’s Sam Burns who missed defending his title due to playing in another event.

“I really played solid yesterday,” Winstead said. “I didn’t miss any shots, and when I did get out of position, I got right back in position. I was able to draw on that when I didn’t have that much success early today.”

Parkview Baptist’s B.J. Ragillio (72-76-148) finished third, Catholic-NI’s Goulas was fourth while St. Charles’ Mikey Landry (79-72-151) and Dunham’s Miller Maestri (80-71-151) finished tied for fifth.

Dunham won the team title by six strokes for its first state championship under coach Philip Zimmerman. University Lab finished second with Notre Dame coming in third, followed by Parkview Baptist in fourth, Holy Savior Menard in fifth, Catholic High-New Iberia in sixth with two-time defending Div. III champion Calvary Baptist in a distant seventh and Iowa in eighth.