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Making the Turn: 'The Robe' Tournament will be experience unlike any other golf event

Dan McDonald, golfballs.com , The Advertiser, Aug. 21, 2019

It’s pretty much a certainty that Friday’s “The Robe” Tournament at Les Vieux Chenes is going to be different from just about any other golf event in the area.

The 288 scheduled participants — the maximum 72 four-player teams in morning and afternoon waves — will get to take part in an event to honor the late UL baseball coach Tony Robichaux while enjoying a golf tournament filled with “extras.”

For anyone who’s not playing in either the 8 a.m. morning or 1 p.m. afternoon flights, it’s still going to be worth making a Friday stop at Les Vieux Chenes to meet and greet the people involved AND take part in a huge and very diverse silent auction that includes many one-of-a-kind items.

You want a jersey that Coach Robe wore during Ragin’ Cajun games? How about a College World Series “Road to Omaha” poster, signed by every player and coach from the 2000 Cajun squad that made that journey?

What about helmets and jerseys signed by Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Jake Delhomme and other football legends? You want to claim the future with a Zion Williamson-autographed basketball? A Bubba Watson-autographed 2014 Masters flag from his Augusta win that year?

How about a “Game Day Experience” in the dugouts at either UL or LSU for the coming baseball season? Gift certificates valued up to $1,000 from area merchants and businesses? A round of golf for your foursome at some of the South’s most prominent courses, or lessons from golf professionals?

Dozens of items are available during the day-long silent auction, which is open to anyone and not just to tournament participants. Fans may bid on any item that will be on display all day Friday in the Les Vieux Chenes clubhouse.

In addition to the auction, nearly 100 individuals and businesses have contributed $100 or more for tee signs that will be placed around the course. Each will have a unique “Robeism” that expresses one of the long-time coach’s canons and witticisms.

The auction and tee signs are only part of the activities that will benefit the family of the late coach, who passed away July 3 at the young age of 57 after a couple of devastating heart attacks. Every cent raised goes directly to that cause, and tournament organizers have upped their goals from the original concept of a smaller event to provide financial assistance.

“We’d love to write a check of $50,000 or more,” said LVC head professional Todd Robertson, one of the four-man organizing committee for “The Robe.” “The support we’ve received from UL fans and the community is unlike any tournament I’ve ever been around, and I’ve been doing these for a lot of years.”

The committee may just make that number. The field was full within days of the announcement of the tournament, and many others have stepped forward in support.

Participants will get the chance to meet UL president Dr. Joseph Savoie, athletic director Dr. Bryan Maggard and newly hired Cajun baseball coach Matt Deggs and his staff while on the course. They’ll also get to meet members of the Cajun golf team, who will be on selected holes to hit tee shots with each team.

Players will also enjoy five food locations throughout the course, those provided through sponsorship of Cajun Express Catering, Wireline Specialties, Prejean’s Catering, the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office, Twin Peaks, Don’s Specialty Meats, and of course the amazing men and women who make up the Cajun Cooking Club, who will relocated from their spot down the first-base line at Russo Park for an all-day feast on the 12th hole.

Participants will receive souvenir items from the tournament, and will be asked for a $25 mulligan contribution ($100 per four-person team) that will be worth much more than face value. Mulligan purchasers will be eligible for two “Red Blasts” on the 5th and 13th holes, an automatic 10-foot putt on the par-three 7th, long drive and closest to the hole awards, and a putting contest between the 9th and 10th holes that also includes a unique “Throw a Strike” contest.

The top three teams in both the morning and afternoon divisions will win pro-shop prizes, and the long drive, closest to the hole, putting contest and “Throw a Strike” will be determined from both divisions.

The tournament committee is urging all players, participants and supporters to wear red in homage to Coach Robe.

Individuals wishing to get involved at the last minute may contact Mike Strentz at (337) 356-5869 or at mikestrentz@gmail.com; Travis Guidry at (337) 258-8801 or at guidrygolfer@yahoo.com; Ken Meyers at (337) 257-7777 or at ken-meyers@att.net, or Todd Robertson at (337) 371-9084 or at trobertson@lafayettela.gov.

Chip Shots

LAND IN SENIOR AM: Lafayette’s Bill Land will become the second Acadiana-area player in as many years to take part in one of the USGA’s most prestigious events, the U.S. Senior Amateur Championships, beginning this weekend.

The country’s top amateur event for players age 50 and over begins Saturday and runs through Aug. 30 at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina. Land claimed the only spot available in an Aug. 1 local qualifier when he carded a two-under 70 at Oakbourne to finish atop a 20-player field. Grady Brame of Hammond posted a one-under 71 and is the first alternate.

Land earned his second-ever berth in a USGA national championship with a three-birdie, one-bogey round, shooting 35 on each side of an Oakbourne course set up at 6,725 yards and playing longer than that after almost three inches of rain in the week preceding the tournament. Land birdies the par-five seventh hole on the front, and birdied the par-four 14th hole after his only bogey of the day at the par-four 12th.

Then, needing a birdie at the tough 430-yard 90-degree dogleg 18th hole, he rolled in a downhill 20-foot putt to get to two-under and claim the qualifying spot.

Youngsville’s Dennis Smith qualified for the Senior Amateur last year, carding a stellar 66 at Le Triomphe to make it to the national tournament held at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Oregon.

A total of 2,466 players attempted to qualify for the national-tournament field of 156 golfers, of which only 127 qualifying spots were available nationally (29 players were exempt courtesy of previous tournament results). The field will play 36 holes of stroke play Saturday and Sunday before the low 64 advance to match play beginning Monday.

ACADIANA PRO-AM TOUR RESET: The Acadiana Pro-Am Tour will make its second attempt to get in its August event Thursday when the Belleview Golf Club in Franklin hosts the monthly tournament for the first time.

The tournament was rained out last Thursday. Tour events are sponsored by Community First Bank and are open to all golfers, men and women, and handicaps are used to equalize competition. Players may make up their own four-person tee groups and may call the course at (337) 828-2572 to make tee times. More information is available on the tour’s Facebook page.

CAJUN SCHEDULE: UL’s golf team announced its 2019-20 schedule this week, one highlighted as usual by the 35th rendition of the Louisiana Classics tournament at Oakbourne.

That event is set March 16-17, with the college-am tournament on March 15, and the 15-team field has two teams that finished in last year’s top 30 (Illinois and Louisville) and six that finished in the nation’s top 100.

The tournament also includes a trip to Hawaii Oct. 28-30 to play in the Hoakalei Invitational in Ewa Beach on Oahu, and a new venue for the Sun Belt Conference Championship from April 26-29 at the Mystic Creek Golf Club in El Dorado, Arkansas.

“We’re fortunate to have the support of our administration in setting up a very competitive schedule,” said Cajun coach Theo Sliman. “We’ll be facing numerous top 100 programs throughout the season, with the ultimate goal of aligning and preparing us for the NCAA Tournament.”

UL has all five regulars and eight lettermen back for a season that begins Sept. 16-17 at the Lone Star Invitational at TPC San Antonio. The fall season also includes the Graeme McDowell Invitational in Birmingham, Alabama, on Sept. 23-24 and the Maridoe Intercollegiate Oct. 6-8 in Denton, Texas, in addition to the Hawaii trip.

The spring opens Feb. 10-11 at the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate in Mobile, Alabama, followed by the All-American hosted by Houston and Rice Feb. 16-18 in Houston and the Border Olympics in Laredo, Texas, Feb. 24-25. After the Louisiana Classics, the Cajuns will play in the first Craft Farms Intercollegiate March 30-31 in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and the Old Waverly Collegiate on April 13-14 in West Point, Mississippi, prior to the Sun Belt tournament.

LGA NET AMATEUR: The Louisiana Golf Association will stage its 20th annual Net Amateur and 17th annual Net Club Team Championships Saturday and Sunday at English Turn in New Orleans. The event is unique on the LGA’s long schedule of championship events in that it is the only event that is “net” and utilizes handicaps to determine winners.

The Net Amateur is open to all men and women from one of the 85 LGA member clubs in the state — encompassing more than 13,000 Louisiana golfers — who have approved handicaps. It will crown champions in four flights in addition to an overall champion that can come from any flight who records the lowest 36-hole net total.

The Net Club Team Championship will be held concurrently, with four-person teams representing their clubs and the best three out of four scores counted each day. A total of 17 teams representing 11 LGA member clubs are competing.

Local participants include Dwight Prudhomme, Mike Selcer, Ward LaFleur and female participant Christina Popp of Lafayette, David Barham and Kyle DeJean of Opelousas and Jules Fontenot of Ville Platte.

The LGA’s remaining championship events include the men’s Senior Four-Ball on Sept. 21-22 at Koasati Pines in Kinder with an entry deadline of Sept. 10; the women’s Senior Amateur on Sept. 19-20 also at Koasati Pines with an entry deadline of Sept. 10; and the women’s Four-Ball on Oct. 8-9 at Squire Creek with an entry deadline of Oct. 1.

More information on all LGA championship events and USGA qualifying events is available online at lgagolf.org.

VIEUX CHENES SENIORS: Citing the recent hit-and-miss weather pattern and how much rain has hit local courses over the past two weeks, the Vieux Chenes Senior Men’s Golf Association has postponed its scheduled Thursday event, and will move back future events until mid-September.

The next outing for the group is now scheduled for Sept. 12 at Les Vieux Chenes. Sign-in will be from 7-7:30 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.

BILL BASS OPEN: It’s never too early to save the date for the annual Bill Bass Open, UL’s Homecoming golf tournament schedules for Nov. 1, at Les Vieux Chenes. The four-person scramble event is one day in advance of the Ragin’ Cajuns’ Homecoming football contest against Texas State on Nov. 2, at Cajun Field.

The 1 p.m. tournament is open to all golfers, not just Cajun fans, but it does have a distinct UL flair with several special features unique to the Bill Bass Open. Players may make up their own four-person teams or may enter as individuals to be placed on a team. RCAF members will get a $25 price break on the $150 individual and $600 team entry fees.

Entry blanks will be mailed out to past tournament participants and to UL football season ticket holders and will also be available at all area courses.

BASEBALL RELATED: On a similar note, UL baseball’s annual fund-raiser golf tournament is now scheduled for Oct. 7 at Oakbourne. Details will be announced soon.

“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 danmcdonald@cox.net, FAX to (337) 857-8763 or call (337) 857-8754 and leave a message with phone number.




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