Golf: Golfers, coach have been busy, productive this summer
Dan McDonald, The Advertiser, golfballs.com
Some members of the UL golf team have had a busy summer, and that list includes head coach Theo Sliman.
With the departure of assistant coach Derek Plucienski to take over as head coach at McNeese State, and that position not filled as of yet, Sliman has been meeting himself coming and going with teaching, administrative duties preparing for the coming season, and most notably traveling thousands of miles on the recruiting trail.
“I’ve been on the road a lot,” said Sliman, who will also be headed to New Orleans next weekend for the Sun Belt Conference’s golf meetings with the rest of the league coaches.
Some of his players are, have been and will be traveling over the next month prior to the start of the fall semester, most notably a trio of Cajuns who will be participating in a couple of prestigious amateur championships this week and in August.
Sophomore-to-be Charlie Flynn of Alexandria qualified to participate in the 119th U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 12-18 at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina. Two weeks ago, Flynn posted a six-under 138 score in his sectional qualifying, shooting 68-70 at the Bayou Oaks City Park South Course in New Orleans, earning one of the two qualifying spots there for the most prestigious event in amateur golf.
Another Cajun signee, Jose Dibildox of Mexico, also qualified for the U.S. Amateur field with a 70-66—136 score at a sectional qualifier in Mexico City. Dibildox signed with UL during the winter but will be playing his first collegiate season at Odessa Community College in Texas.
Flynn’s participation marks the second straight year that a Cajun made the field for the national amateur championship, with senior Jack Tolson of Lafayette qualifying for the 2018 U.S. Amateur held at Pebble Beach.
Sliman said he was impressed with several of his players’ performances during the New Orleans sectional qualifier.
“We had a lot of rounds in the '60s there,” Sliman said, “and that was against some pretty good competition.”
In addition to Flynn’s opening-round 68, Goulas had a 67, Tolson a 68 and signee Matt Weber a 69 during that 36-hole, one-day event. Meanwhile, transfer signee Hunter Hammett also had a sub-70 round last week in the Magnolia Amateur in Hattiesburg, coming back from an opening 77 to shoot a final-round 65 in that rain-shortened event.
Flynn and Cajun teammate Micah Goulas, a senior-to-be from New Iberia, will open competition in the 113th Southern Amateur, which runs through Saturday at Chenal Country Club in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Goulas, the state’s Newcomer of the Year last year and a member of the All-Louisiana team, finished second at the Baton Rouge sectional qualifying at the University Club three weeks ago with a two-over 74, earning one of the two available spots in a 14-team field. Cajun teammate Peter Hinnant is the section’s first alternate in the field after finishing third in the sectional.
Flynn, who led the Cajuns in stroke average at 73.27 as a freshman, is exempt into the Southern Amateur field courtesy of winning last summer’s Southern Junior Championship at Squire Creek in Choudrant.
Weber, who signed out of Lafayette’s St. Thomas More in the fall, had one of the best rounds of any Cajun this summer last week at the Louisiana Golf Association’s State Junior Championships. Weber posted a two-under 70 in the opening round Wednesday over the Bayou Oaks at City Park course, but came back with a stellar eight-under 64 that included eight birdies and no bogeys in Thursday’s second round to forge a tie with 2017 champion Nicholas Arcement.
Arcement, though, drained a 30-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win a sudden-death playoff after Friday’s final round was canceled due to last weekend’s storm and weather conditions. It was Weber’s second runner-up finish in an LGA event in as many tries, as he finished a surprising second in last year’s State Amateur event at Oakbourne in his first-ever LGA outing.
Weber, Tolson — who also finished in last year’s top five — and Peter Hinnant are all competing in this week’s 100th State Amateur which gets underway Thursday at Baton Rouge Country Club. Weber and Tolson earned spots courtesy of their finishes last year and Hinnant earned a spot in local qualifying for the 100th renewal of the state’s premier amateur event.
A 144-player field begins play Thursday with the top 60 and ties advancing to the final rounds Saturday and Sunday.
STATE AMATEUR: The 144-player field for this week’s State Amateur is also loaded with local players, many of whom got in courtesy of top 40 finishes last year when the tournament was played at Oakbourne.
Along with Tolson, Weber and Hinnant, the field includes three former Cajuns in Jeff Calloway, Brandt Garon and Triston Elston and 20 other players with Acadiana ties. That group includes Lafayette’s Robert Shelton, who won the State Amateur title 37 years ago in 1972 while playing collegiately at then-Northeast Louisiana. Dennis Smith of Youngsville, a qualifier for last year’s U.S. Senior Amateur, is also in the field.
The field also includes Jacob Broussard, Brennan Deslatte, Ben Dupont, Ryan Ruggiere, Billy and Denny Guilbeau, Matt Smith, Jeff D’Amico, Jody Lormand and Drew Reaux of Lafayette, Ryan Fulton, Brett Guilllot and Oliver Nickel of Crowley, Eli Ortego of Broussard, Kyle Camp of Rayne, Dustin Harris of Scott and John Talley of St. Martinville.
MORE LGA: Along with Matt Weber tying for the overall title, other Acadiana area juniors also fared well in the LGA’s Junior Amateur last week.
Eli Ortego of Broussard tied for 16th with a70-76—146 score and Zachary Hardy of Lafayette finished 20th with a 72-78—150 score.
Canon Clark of Lafayette shot 72-74—146 to finish third in the first flight, while Bryce Sutterfield of Opelousas tied for sixth (75-73—148), Jay Mendell of Lafayette tied for 10th (74-77—151), Oliver Nickel of Crowley tied for 12th (74-78—152) in that same flight.
In the second flight, Nick Davis of New Iberia posted a solid one-under 71 in the final round to win that flight with a 78-71—149 score. Blake Marcelissen of Broussard finished 15th (81-86—167) in the second flight.
VIEUX CHENES SENIORS: The weather held off long enough for the Vieux Chenes Senior Men’s Golf Association to hold its first July tournament Thursday at Les Vieux Chenes.
The team of Glenn Morales, Gerald Latiolais, Don Judice and Henry Menard finished atop a 28-player field with a 10-under-par 62. Joe Use, Morris Hoagland, Damon Hanson and Gary Colomb posted a 64 to finish second while Aaron Hollier, John Simon, Herb Reites and Richard Cormier were third and Don Everett, Bob Barrileau, John Fitzmaurice and Pat Hebert were fourth, both at 65.
Glenn Biron took closest to the hole honors at the par-three 17th.
Next outing for the group is next Thursday, July 25. Sign-in is from 7 to 7:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 8 a.m. The group is open to all senior players, and information is available at Les Vieux Chenes at (337) 837-1159.
“Making the Turn” appears each Wednesday in the Daily Advertiser. Clubs, courses and individuals with information about local golf events may email Dan McDonald, editorial director at Golfballs.com, at firstname.lastname@example.org, FAX to (337) 857-8763 or call (337) 857-8754 and leave a message with phone number.