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Former Golf: Weather halts play at La. Open for first time since 2010 – Smith-Heinen updates

Raymond A. Partsch III, Special to The Advertiser March 27, 2015

The Chitimacha Louisiana Open at Le Triomphe Golf and Country Club would be disrupted by a pair of extensive weather delays on Thursday.

The delays for rain and lightning totaled 2 hours and 41 minutes and it would be the first time the tournament had to halt play since 2010. Those delays also meant that the completion of the tournament’s opening round would be pushed to early Friday morning because roughly half the field was still on the course when play ended Thursday evening.

Despite the start-and-stop nature of the round, several competitors managed to post low scores.

Bronson Burgoon was one of those who were able to wrap up his opening round before the stoppage. Burgoon shot a 6-under 65 and ended the day tied for third.

"That’s just the part of the deal," Burgoon said. "Good and bad draws. This time, I think I will be on the good side and be able to go home and relax."

Burgoon shot a 31 on the front nine, including an eagle on No. 5, but then posted back-to-back bogeys on No. 13 and 14. The former Texas A&M star bounced back with birdies on No. 16 and 17.

"I didn’t even birdie the first hole, which is probably the easiest hole on the golf course," Burgoon said. "I missed a short one on nine, so it could have been really good."

Wes Roach also took advantage of the early tee time Thursday.

Roach shot a 6-under par 65 as well and wrapped up his first round with a clean scorecard, as he posted four birdies, an eagle and zero bogeys.

"Clean scorecards are nice here," Roach said. "I played solid all day and gave myself a lot of good chances for birdie. The few greens I did miss I chipped it pretty close, and there on 18, I made a nice putt for par. Definitely a great start."

No one played better Thursday than 29-year-old Australian Rhein Gibson who leads the tournament after shooting a 9-under par 62.

"I played quite nicely today," Gibson said. "I got off to a nice start with an eagle on the first and just carried that momentum through the round."

Gibson had three birdies and an eagle through the first eight holes but then bogeyed No. 9. He quickly got things back on track with a birdie on No. 10 and then again on No. 12.

"I three-putted No. 9 and that irritated me a little bit," Gibson said. "I got one right back on No. 10 and I hit it on No. 12 in two and then two-putted and that got my back nine rolling."

Glen Day and Cameron Wilson both shot 7-under par 64 and sit two strokes behind Gibson.

Two golfers that call Acadiana home made the most of their sponsor exemptions.

Former University of Louisiana golfer Michael D. Smith shot a 3-under 68, and that was in spite of two double bogeys, the first coming on the Par 4 No. 13 and then another on the Par 4 No. 18.

"It was kind of a weird day," Smith said. "I really hit a lot of good golf shots but I just had two really bad holes."

Broussard resident and former Ole Miss golfer Brian Rowell shot a 1-under 70, making only two birdies and two bogeys the entire round.

"It was out there for the taking today," Rowell said. "It was definitely gettable if you hit the shots. I didn’t put as good as I normally do."

The opening round proved to be struggle for a few veterans of the Louisiana Open. The 2003 and 2011 champion Brett Wetterich shot a 1-under par 70 while 2013 winner Edward Loar shot a 4-over par 75, as did 2002 runner-up and University of Louisiana star Mike Heinen.

Wetterich shot a one-over on the front nine but managed to get things going on the back nine by shooting 4-under on the first three holes. Wetterich though gave some of those shots right back with bogeys on No. 14 and No. 16.

"I was just not swinging well," Wetterich said. "Nothing really feels great — putted bad, chipped bad and hit the ball bad."

Heinen, who is playing in his first tournament in four years, started off his round on the back nine. He played well at first with a birdie at No. 11, but he then double-bogeyed No. 13, bogeyed No. 18 and started the front nine with bogeys on No. 1 and No. 3 and then a double on No. 7.

"Four balls in the water and I didn’t make a putt over three feet all day," Heinen said. "That’s going to be over par."