A day of starts and stops finally ended on a high note for Chad Braud on Sunday afternoon at the Baton Rouge Amateur Golf Championship.
Braud won his third round of match play Sunday morning, and then waited through two rain delays in a scheduled 18-hole final before finding out his fate.
Weather delays or not, tournament officials decided to make nine-hole scores official, leaving Braud, who shot even par 36 on the front 9 at Santa Maria Golf Course, as the amateur champion.
“My goal was to make the top eight,” said Gonzalez-resident Braud, a tournament veteran who had finished eighth in his only other final round appearance.
“Once I made the top eight, everything else was icing on the cake. I never thought I’d go this far.”
Play was halted twice, but it was the second delay that turned into a final stoppage. Four golfers had only completed nine holes, and that became the benchmark used to determine the champion.
Can Le and Ryan Schulz were a shot behind Braud at 37, Gayle Sanchez and Brandt Garon shot 38, and Chuck Laudermill and Bryan Mitchell played the front in 40.
Schulz edged defending champion Paul Castro, 2 up, in third round play. Neither player could separate himself during the match, and it took all 18 holes for Schulz to close out the win.
“There weren’t a lot of birdies, but every time someone made a big putt the other would answer back,” said Schulz.
Le and Laudermill each hooked drives out of bounds on the par-4, first, and took double bogey. Le missed short birdie putts at three and four, but got two back with birdies at six and seven.
Braud began the tournament with a 4&2 first-round win over Scott Sorrell. After that, he settled down to oust third-seeded Russ Gaudin, 3 and 2, Saturday afternoon.
Braud advanced to the fourth round with a 2 up win over Mike Maronge Sunday morning, and the momentum continued to build in the stroke play final.
“The worst I played was my first match,” Braud said. “After that, I just kept getting stronger and stronger. I hit a lot of greens, and my putting came around a good bit.”
Of note for Braud’s putter was a 25-foot birdie at three, and a 12-foot par save at four following a long sand shot from the front left bunker to the back right of the green.
“I hit a decent shot, but it was just such a long bunker shot,” Braud said. “I was fortunate on both putts to have a competitor putt from just outside my line. It gave me good reads on both of them.”
Garon had been the hottest golfer on the course Saturday, but cooled off on Sunday even as he took a 7 and 5 third-round win over Adam Zayor.
“It wasn’t an exciting match. Neither of us were playing well,” said Garon, who won most of his holes with par.
In the afternoon final, Garon had only two bogeys to show for his front nine. It was a nine defined by a mistruck wedge, and two three-putts.
At the par-5 third, Garon’s approach with a wedge flew over the green leaving him to scramble for par. He reached the par-5 seventh in two, but three-putted from 15 feet.
After the first lightning delay, Garon also three-putted the ninth hole as he slipped to 2-over.