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Cajun Golfers Enjoy Great Week by Dan McDonald

Their season ended a month ago, but UL’s golf team still enjoyed a huge weekend on three different fronts. And that doesn’t even include the soon-to-be-completed search for a head coach to replace the retiring Bob Bass.


One recent alumnus made his professional debut and cashed a four-figure check, three current squad members finished in the top 10 in Sunday’s final round of the state’s premier amateur event, and three Cajun players were honored on the All-Louisiana Golf Team selected by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association.


“I’d say that was a pretty outstanding week for the off-season,” said Bass, who retires at the end of June after 18 years as the Cajun coach. “We had a lot of success in two different tournaments from guys who had just finished and from guys who will be back next year, and that shows why they were picked for some of those honors.”


Lafayette product Michael Smith, who finished his senior year by earning All-Sun Belt Conference honors, announced his intentions to turn professional and played in his first pro event over the weekend. He finished tied for 15th in the Adams Golf Pro Tour’s Mary Bird Perkins Merrill Lynch Open at LSU’s University Club course in Baton Rouge.


Smith posted a 71-67-71-70—279 score, nine-under for the four days, and pocketed $1,336 for his efforts. Former Lamar player Dawie Van der Walt won the event at 20-under 268, while Lake Charles product, former Cajun and ex-top 10 Louisiana Open finisher Greg Sonnier was one stroke behind Smith at 68-73-69-70—280.


Over the same four days, three current UL players finished in the top 10 at the Louisiana Golf Association’s State Amateur Championship at Gray Plantation in Lake Charles. Junior Dustin Petit of Luling and Hahnville High rallied from an opening 77 to finish tied for sixth at two-over 77-72-71-70—290.


Andrew Noto, also a product of Luling and Hahnville who signed with the Cajuns last fall and will join the squad in August, was one stroke back in eighth place at three-over 291. He was among the leaders after three rounds before a final-round 77.


Mark Brockhurst of London, England, who played two seasons before redshirting last year, was one more stroke back and tied for ninth at 73-74-72-73—292. The top 40 finishers insure themselves of slots in next year’s event without going through qualifying.


Smith was also one of three UL players picked to the All-Louisiana squad announced this week. He was named to the first team in the voting by an LSWA committee, and a pair of British Columbia products, junior Devin Carrey of South Surrey and freshman Thomas Petts of North Vancouver, were named to the second team.


It won’t be the last time that the UL golf team is in the news this summer. UL athletic director David Walker said that interviews with the five top candidates for the golf coaching position are in progress, and a decision is expected before the end of the month.


The top candidates reportedly include one current college head coach, three collegiate assistants and one PGA professional. Rumor has it that one of the five finalists is current University of Florida assistant Brad Stracke, whose team finished in the top 12 at last week’s NCAA Championships.



Chip Shots



MORE CAJUN NEWS: Kyle Pritchard carded a six-under-par 66 Tuesday morning in the Collegiate Players Tournament in Houston. An afternoon round was rained out, so the sophomore from San Antonio has a five-stroke lead on the field with one round to play. Pritchard had six birdies, an eagle and two bogeys in his best round of the year.


Meanwhile, Andrew Noto added to his success at the State Amateur with a two-under-par 70 Tuesday in the first round of the Southern Junior Championships being held at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss. Noto is tied for first with Church Waesche of Timonium, Md., and Matthew Mabrey of Little Rock, Ark., in a 144-player field after the first of three rounds.


Ironically, Michael Smith also made a splash at the Southern Juniors just prior to enrolling at UL, winning the South’s top junior title four years ago.



MORE LGA STUFF:  The State Amateur was the third event on the LGA’s eight-tournament schedule, with the Junior Amateur next up on July 9-11 at Santa Maria in Baton Rouge. One of the LGA events will be held locally, with Farm d’Allie hosting the Senior Amateur Aug. 14-16.


Entries remain open for the Junior Amateur, the Mid-Amateur on Aug. 1-3 at Ellendale Country Club in Houma and the State Four-Ball July 19-20 at Carter Plantation in Springfield. Entries for the Mid-Amateur, for players age 25 and up, close on June 24, and a local qualifying for the Mid-Amateur is scheduled for July 7 at Squirrel Run. Entries for the Junior Amateur are due July 1 and Four-Ball entries are due July 7. Information on all events is available online at www.lgagolf.org.



DEMO DAY: Les Vieux Chenes will be holding a Callaway Golf Demo Day this Friday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the course’s driving range. Representatives from Callaway will be on hand with displays of their most recent advances in equipment, and players will have the chance to test out the complete product line.


All players are invited free of charge, and more information is available from the pro shop at 837-1159.



ALL REBELS AT ARROWHEAD: Bo Boudreaux of Broussard and Jacob Broussard of Lafayette, senior teammates on last spring’s state Class 4A runner-up Teurlings Catholic squad, finished one-two at the Arrowhead Junior Golf Tour’s Contraband Bayou Junior Classic last week in Lake Charles.


Boudreaux won his first AJGT title by winning a one-hole sudden-death playoff with Broussard after both finished at nine-over 153 for the two-round event. Boudreaux birdied the 549-yard par-five 18th hole in the playoff with a 4-iron approach and a chip to seven feet to set up the birdie putt.


Broussard held a two-stroke lead after an opening round 74 over the L’Auberge du Lac layout that was wind-swept for both rounds. Only 52 birdies were recorded in the entire event.


Both Boudreaux and Broussard are headed for collegiate play this fall, Boudreaux signing with Nicholls State and Broussard with McNeese State.


Opelousas’ Cody Cryer finished tied for fourth after a final-round 77 that included three birdies in the final six holes.


The top finishers are expected to be back in action this Saturday-Sunday when the Arrowhead Tour makes a local stop at The Wetlands. Last-second entries for boys and girls age 12-18 are still being accepted, and information is available from the Arrowhead Tour office at (850) 243-6333.


Arrowhead also has openings for its Match Play Championship at Carter Plantation in Springfield June 30-July 3. All participants will play a minimum of four singles matches Monday through Wednesday with the finals set for Wednesday and Thursday. Last-minute entries are available at the above number or online at www.arrowheadjgt.com.



BINGO, BANGO, BONGO: Slots are still available for Hebert Municipal’s annual Bingo, Bango, Bongo Plus 9 Tournament this Saturday and Sunday, but those interested in playing should register with the course as soon as possible.


The unusual two-person event will include nine holes of four-ball and nine holes of alternate shot on Saturday, and nine holes of total score and nine holes of scramble on Sunday. Tee times begin at 10:45 a.m. each day.


Entry fee is $50 per player plus course fees and teams will be flighted by the lowest handicap on the team, with players not in the LGA handicap system needing a verified handicap. Entry fee includes snacks on Saturday and a fish and chips dinner on Sunday. Requests for pairings are available for Saturday, and more information is available at the course or by calling 291-5557.



AND BY REQUEST: Two readers had questions about how a “bingo, bango, bongo” game works. This weekend’s event at Hebert doesn’t fit the actual definition, since the format is mostly a competition within a group or series of groups.


In true “bingo, bango, bongo” each hole is worth three points. The first player to get a ball on the green gets one point, the player with the closest ball to the hole once all balls are on the green gets a point, and the first player to hole out gets a point.


The system allows weaker players several chances to earn points and compete with better players. On a par-4, for example, the player who hits the worst drive plays first for his second shot, and therefore has the first chance to get on the green for the first point. Likewise, on that same hole, the weaker player has a chance for the second point if other players hit the green on their second shots and the weaker player is chipping for his third shot, with a good chance to chip inside all the other shots (the second point comes only when all balls are on the green). The weaker player could also be away with his putt and have the first opportunity to hole out for the third point.


With this format, it is obviously essential that protocol be followed and participants follow the rule that the player away plays first.



AT THE HILLS: Linda Giron was elected president of the Acadian Hills Ladies Golf Association last week. Also serving for 2008 are vice president Carol Delahoussaye and treasurer Laura LeBlanc. The Men’s Golf Association had previously named John Helwig as president, Don Miller vice president, Everett Daigle secretary-treasurer and Bill Finley and Gene Brackin members at large.


Acadian Hills continues its membership special, waving the regular $300 activation fee and giving the 12th month free from membership dues. Information is available by calling 232-1979.


The course is now accessible again from N. St. Antoine Drive after construction had closed that street for several weeks. Patrons are asked to drive with caution since construction continues on side streets.



WOMEN’S AM: Sunday is the deadline for players to register for the 80th Louisiana Women’s Golf Association State Amateur Championship, scheduled June 22-24 at Koasati Pines in Kinder. The event is open to all female residents of the state with a certified handicap of less than 36, and the field is limited to the first 104 registered players.


Players interested in the championship flight, including all players with 10 or under handicaps, must play in a qualifying round for that flight on Sunday, June 22, with the top 16 players going into that flight. The rest of the field will be pre-flighted by handicap and will begin play on Monday, June 23.


Entry fee is $95 plus $50 cart fee, covering two rounds and all social activities. More information is available from LWGA president Mary Edwards at (318) 339-8578 or online at www.lwgolfa.com.


The LWGA’s State Mid-Amateur Championship is scheduled Nov. 1-2 at Farm d’Allie in Carencro.



ACES: Mitch Montgomery used a 6-iron to record a hole-in-one last Thursday on the 140-yard 13th hole at Acadian Hills. It was his second career ace on the course after he holed out on the 16th hole earlier. Gary Parker, Steve Younger and Dee Lambert were witnesses to the shot.



LAGNIAPPE: The Vieux Chenes Men’s Senior Golf Association holds its regular monthly tournament Thursday, with sign-up beginning at 7:30 a.m. and tee time at 8 a.m. All members are welcome, and senior golfers wishing to join the group may contact Les Vieux Chenes at 837-1159 … Acadian Hills’ twilight scrambles continue today and every Wednesday at 5:30 p.m., with spots available through the pro shop at 232-1979.



Dan McDonald’s local golf column appears each Wednesday. Clubs, courses and individuals wishing to submit items may call 857-8754, fax to 857-8763, e-mail danmcdonald@cox.net or mail to 112 Piedmont Lane, Youngsville, LA 70592. Please include a return phone number.