The LSU men’s golf team likes the drama.
Hey, it worked for them in 2015.
That year, the Tigers overcame an 11-shot deficit on the final day of their regional to snare the last transfer spot into the NCAA championship tournament. A championship the Tigers eventually won for their fifth golf national title and first since 1955.
Last week at Stanford, LSU came from three back of Ole Miss on the final day of the regional to nip the Rebels by one stroke. It is the third time under coach Chuck Winstead that LSU has advanced to the NCAA Championships by a single shot.
“Regionals are a challenge,” Winstead said. “But I like my guys.
“If they get going, they can play with anyone.”
LSU starts playing early Friday morning in the stroke play portion of the NCAA Championships at The Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
“It’s going to be a really hard test,” Winstead said of the par-72, 7,550-yard layout. “Really difficult greens. Lag putting is kind of a big deal. But it’ll be a challenge for everybody.”
Thirty teams will compete over the first three days, with the field cut to 15 teams for Monday’s final day of stroke play, which will determine the individual NCAA champion. The top eight teams then will advance to two days of match play Tuesday and Wednesday.
Winstead said it’s nice to be back in the south, as the Tigers were when they won the 2015 NCAA title in Bradenton, Florida. But the mountainous terrain in Fayetteville won’t really be an edge to his Tigers,
“Not exactly because,” Winstead said. “Still, it’s nice to be close to home.”
LSU, making its 39th NCAA Championships appearance, travels with the same six-man squad that played at Stanford: Luis Gagne, Philip Barbaree, Michael Sanders, Nathan Jeansonne, Garrett Barber and Trey Winstead, Chuck Winstead’s son. Barber is designated as LSU’s alternate player if another golfer has to drop out for some reason.
A senior from Orlando, Florida, Gagne has been one of the game’s top amateurs for several seasons now. The low amateur in the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills, Gagne is angling to become LSU’s first four-time All-American. The honors will be announced early next month.
“He’s got a chance with a good week to be known for something that has never happened at LSU before,” Winstead said. “That’s a pretty big accomplishment.”
The Golf Channel will televise the final round of stroke play at 3 p.m. Monday, then the match play quarterfinals and semifinals starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The national championship final is at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Scoring is available at GolfStat.com.