It's been more than 50 years, but the Louisiana Golf Association’s state amateur championship is returning to Baton Rouge Country Club for its 100th edition.
Baton Rouge Country Club, which opened in 1916 with a nine-hole course, is one of the founding members of the LGA. The state amateur has been staged in Baton Rouge twice in the past 13 years, both times at the Country Club of Louisiana.
“We’re looking at this as a recommitment to amateur golf,” Baton Rouge Country Club general manager Michael Masson said. “While it has been 50 years, we have hosted the tournament five times prior in the club’s long history. We thought the time was right to bring this premier amateur event back to the Baton Rouge Country Club.”
Derek Busby, who won the 2017 state amateur at CCL, and Patrick Christovich help to highlight a field of 144 golfers. Play begins at 7:30 a.m. Thursday with golfers teeing off at the first and 10th tees. The field will be trimmed to the low 60 golfers plus ties for the final two rounds.
Brandon Aydlett won the 2018 LGA state amateur at Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette with a four-day total of 2-under par 282. He closed with nine consecutive pars to pull away from Matt Weber and win by four strokes.
Aydlett has since moved out of state and will not be on hand to defend his title.
Busby won the 2017 LGA amateur by four strokes over current LSU golfer Trey Winstead. He is currently ranked No. 139 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.
Christovich won the LGA amateur in 2012 at TPC Louisiana with an 8-under score of 208 after the tournament was shortened to 54 holes. He has also been a mainstay at LGA Mid-Amateur tournaments, and strung together four consecutive wins from 2010-13.
Other former LGA amateur champions in the field include Eddie Lyons (1991) and Robert Shelton (1972).
The LGA staged its first championship in 1920, and Baton Rouge Country Club hosted the event for the first time three years later. The tournament also visited BRCC in ’42, ’49, ’53 and ’68. The 1968 tournament featured the last of three wins in four years by Lafayette Police Detective Shirley Picard, who won with an even par score of 288.
Still considered one of the top courses in the state, BRCC has been renovated several times during its 102-year history. Most recently, Rees Jones and David Toms did work on the course in 2006-07.
“That really brought the course up to a modern standard,” Masson said. “We were able to lengthen the course to over 7,000 yards from the back tees. It definitely became a more challenging tract, and I can tell you the membership loves it.”
The course’s long history includes hosting 10 Baton Rouge Opens, a PGA tour event for 11 years from 1952 to 1962. Legendary golfers Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead each won in Baton Rouge, while Jack Nicklaus made an appearance as a chubby rookie in 1962.