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Mr. William Michael Heinen
3031 Surrey Ln.
Lake Charles, LA 70605
Golf Cars Unlimited
5606 Common St.
Lake Charles, LA 70607
|All American 1988, 1989
Played Canadian, Nationwide and PGA tour from 1989-2008.
Now own and operate Golf Cars Unlimited in Lake Charles.
Updated May 25, 2011
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Spotlight on Former Athlete: Mike Heinen, Golf 1986-89
Special to the Athletic Network
Bruce Brown BBrown@smgpo.gannett.com May 24, 2011
This story is a copyrighted enterprise by Bruce Brown.
Getting his driver's license made all the difference for Mike Heinen.
That can be true for many teenagers, but in Heinen's case it eventually led to a college scholarship and a professional golf career.
"When I was 12, I started playing around in the yard," said Heinen, who grew up on a farm in rural Acadia Parish near Rayne. "It was nothing serious until I was 14. Then I got my driver's license when I was 15, and I was able to drive to the golf course."
The closest course was 30-40 minutes from the farm, so Heinen couldn't just stroll across the street to play. But the sport quickly took hold with him, as it had with other members of the Heinen clan.
"My dad, uncle and grandfather all played," Heinen said. "On Heinen family trips in June, we'd all play. When I got to the point where I could play with a couple of uncles, I was good enough."
Heinen went on to an All-American college career with Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns, earning honorable mention notice in 1988 and third team acclaim in 1989. He was the American South Conference medalist in 1989, leading the Cajuns to the team title as a two-time All-ASC choice.
"It's funny," Heinen said. "Golf is an individual sport. You don't really need a team. But in college golf, you need a team. We had a good group of guys and we were able to have success.
"And, because of our team success, we got nationally ranked and got better tournaments. I think it really helped me to get nationally ranked, become an All-American and play in the NCAA Tournament."
Soon, Heinen made a splash on the PGA Tour, winning the Shell Houston Open as a rookie in 1994 with a 16-under-par score of 272.
"Obviously, Houston was a highlight of my career," Heinen said. "My sophomore (pro) year, I had two seconds. I lost in a playoff in New Orleans, and was a couple of shots short of Ernie Els in Dallas.
"I seemed to play better close to home. It was always fun playing in Louisiana, Texas or Mississippi. There, I was comfortable, at ease."
For a down-home product, the tour eventually became a grind, however.
"At the beginning and mid part of the year, I played my best golf," Heinen said. "By the end of the year I was usually a little burned out. You just try to get through it. It's hard to be out there, week-in and week-out.
"On TV, fans see players when it's going well, the fist-pumping. They don't see the other 20 weeks when you're not in contention. There are so many tough years. It's a grind."
Like any profession, golf involves constant work.
"You've got to live it when you're a pro, 7 days a week," said Heinen. "In college, you have some time to focus on school. But on tour, even when you have a week off you're chipping and putting. When you have down time, you still have to make sure you don't lose the things you've worked on."
At certain times, it's crazy if you're not playing real well. You miss time with your wife and kids. That's the tough part of it."
Heinen and wife Kathy have been through the ups and downs since 1991. They have daughter Olivia, 15, and sons William, 11, and Christopher, 6, and the children are the focus.
"I bought a golf cart shop (in Lake Charles)," Heinen said. "My friend is the manager. We stay really busy. I thought I could do this and still play, but it's been (time consuming) like golf. We're trying to grow the business.
"When I played, I struggled with not making a full commitment. Should I be on the road, making money, or at home, helping with the kids? I was part-time on both, and was in a no-win situation.
"Now I'm at a point where I've had enough of being at the wrong place all the time. Now I'm in my bed every night."
Of the three children, Christopher has shown the most interest in golf. But Heinen is not pushing the sport that helped earn his livelihood.
"My dad would drive me to tournaments, but that was it," Heinen said. "He wouldn't tell me when and where to play. I did it myself, and that was the better way, because once you leave college it's all on you."
Heinen remains in contact with current UL coach Theo Sliman, and would welcome the chance to meet current Cajuns and play a round or two. But he's left the grind behind.
"Now my time off is a little different," he said. "I don't put as much stress on myself."
This story is a copyrighted enterprise by Bruce Brown.
Pictured above are Mike and his 1988 teammates. (1988 Golf Team-1st Row-Ed Gianelloni, Jeff Calloway, Mike Genovese, John Dupont. 2nd Row-Louie Alford, Hoyle Granger, Mike Heinen, Mike Spillman, Dwaine LeGros, Flint Nelson)
Click here for Mike's Athletic Network profile, including his "Golf Cars Unlimited" information.
Click here for the Golf photo gallery, then the years you wish to view, including the 1988 and 1989 years which include pictures and information about Mike Heinen.
Our rich athletic traditions were entrusted to the vision, hope, loyalty, and dedication of those former athletes and we will forever owe them a debt of sincere gratitude. May God bless each of them and their families.
Anyone with information, materials, pictures, memorabilia, etc., of the university's former athletic program participants is requested to contact Ed Dugas at email@example.com Thank you.
The Photo Gallery Link located on the left side of the home page at www.athleticnetwork.net contains over 10,000 pictures of former and current athletes and support groups. Just click on photo gallery and when the menu appears, click on the sport or support group you wish to view. The years of pictures posted for that team or group will appear and you may click on the year you wish to view. One click on a thumbnail picture or narrative and it is enlarged; a click on the enlarged photo and it reverts back to the thumbnail.
The Athletic Network seeks to post pictures of each team and support group for each year they represented the university.
The stories of the 2009 and 2010 honorees featured in the Spotlight on Former Athletes are still included in the News Page and may be viewed by clicking on "more news" at the bottom right of the News Box, scrolling down, clicking on the title of the story. Those spotlight features which are no longer shown in the News Page, have been moved to the Lagniappe Link of the "History of UL Athletics" located on the left side of the home page.
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Former Golf: Former Cajuns Vie For PGA Tour Cards
Nov. 11, 2010
Two former Cajuns, Michael Smith and Mike Heinen, will head to the PGA Tour's Q-School second stage next week in hopes of earning a spot on the PGA Tour for the upcoming season.
Smith, who played for UL from 2004-07, advanced to the second stage after finishing tied for 10th-place in the first stage at the end of October. Smith shot 66-66-75-70 to finish at 11-under in Port St. Lucie, Fla. round.
For Smith, the second stage will take place in Panama City Beach, Fla. at the Hombre Golf Club. The four-round stage last from Nov. 17 to Nov. 20.
Mike Heinen played for the Cajuns from 1986-89. He advanced to the second round after receiving a first-round exemption for being a former champion on the PGA Tour. He won the 1994 Shell Houston Open in Houston, Texas.
Heinen will be playing at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas. He will tee off a day earlier than Smith and finish on Nov. 19.
Three other Cajuns had an opportunity to reach the ultimate goal of going on the PGA Tour but came up short in the first stage.
Deven Carrey shot five-over (293) at Kingswood, Texas and Greg Sonnier finished one stroke back but missed the cut. B.C. Thibeaux played the same course as Smith but finished at five-over par and was unable to advance.
Carrey teed it up for the Caujns from 2006-09 while Sonnier was on campus from 1996-99. Thibeaux played for UL from 2005-08.
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Golf: Locals earn exemptions to La. Open
Dan McDonald • Daily Advertiser Golf Writer • January 29, 2009
The Chitimacha Louisiana Open has awarded its four sponsor exemptions for the March 22-29 event, and three of them have local connections.
Two of them - Mike Heinen and Greg Sonnier - have played in the event several times as has Tennessee's Michael Clark, who secured another exemption. The final one, though, is a first-time player as well as a first-year pro, with Lafayette's Michael Smith earning a spot.
Smith, who finished his career at UL last spring and helped lead the Ragin' Cajuns to the Sun Belt Conference title, has already found some measure of pro success with a win on the Adams Golf mini-tour in his second outing after turning pro.
"Our philosophy for exemptions is that they go to players that we feel can compete and have a legitimate chance of finishing in the top 25," said Open executive director Danny Jones. "Michael has already shown that he has the potential to do that."
Smith is the latest in a series of former UL standouts that have found a measure of success in the Open. Heinen, a pro veteran of two decades and a winner on the PGA Tour (the 1994 Shell Houston Open), was runner-up in a playoff here in 2002, and Sonnier tied for eighth here in 2007 including a stellar third-round 62 that vaulted him among the leaders.
Nationwide Tour rules require that two of the exemptions have some Tour status (Heinen and Clark), with the other two unrestricted.
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Local golf: Housing Authority golf outing attracts national, local celebs
Dan McDonald • Local golf columnist • Daily Advertiser, January 8, 2009
Some big names in the sports world, both locally and nationally, will tee it up Friday morning at The Wetlands to help some of Acadiana's disadvantaged youth.
They'll also provide local golfers with an opportunity to play along with some well-known sports figures taking part in this week's Professional Baseball Banquet hosted by the Housing Authority of the City of Lafayette and the Opelousas Housing Authority.
The banquet's 11th renewal is at 7 p.m. tonight at the Hilton Lafayette, with the accompanying golf event set for an 8 a.m. shotgun start on Friday. The events are part of a full weekend of activities that will raise funds for youth programs in the cities' public housing sector.
The baseball banquet originated from Housing Authority executive director Walter Guillory, a former New Iberia and UL baseball standout who also played four seasons in the Oakland A's organization. Guillory enlisted friends in the pro baseball community, most notably former UL coach and athletic director and long-time major league personnel director and scout Mel Didier, and has since put on the annual banquet to provide funding for services not included in basic housing programs.
"Everything we raise goes into the youth programs," said Housing Authority assistant Lydia Bergeron, herself a former minor league baseball executive.
The golf tournament was an outgrowth from the original fundraiser, and Guillory again turned to friends and experts in their field. Todd Weber, a former UL baseball teammate of Guillory's and a five-time winner of the City Golf Championships, agreed three years ago to help stage the inaugural tournament and is still actively involved.
"We don't normally have a huge field," Weber said, "and a lot of that is just the time of the year and not knowing what the weather's going to do. But the guys who do play get to spend a lot of time with all the sports celebrities. For sports fans, it's a win-win deal."
Participants in the scramble include three former major league pitchers who have been inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame - Mansfield's Vida Blue, Castor's Lee Smith and Acadiana legend Ron Guidry. Baseball notables Dave Stewart, Carl Boles, Danny Ardoin, Ian Kinsler and Bob Didier, former NBA standout Gus Williams, ex-NFL player Steve Wallace, Olympic handball star Arthur Culbreath and UL assistant baseball coach Anthony Babineaux are also slated to take part.
Four-person teams will pair up with the celebrities for the scramble event. Team sponsorships are $600 including a team and celebrity partner. Other sponsorship packages are available, and information on the tournament is available from Weber at 278-1963.
Entries for the tournament, as well as information on all weekend activities including tickets for the Thursday night banquet, are available from Bergeron at 319-3166.
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Talented field set for Louisiana Open - Former Cajun Golfer Mike Heinen in field
March 23, 2008
Dan McDonald, Daily Advertiser
BROUSSARD - Acadiana's top professional sports event marks its 17th annual renewal this week when the Chitimacha Louisiana Open golf tournament returns to Le Triomphe Country Club.
And this year, despite a conflict with the PGA Tour's Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Open will have a talented and familiar field gunning for the largest purse in tournament history - $525,000, with a $94,500 check going to the champion.
"We can't do anything about the schedule and we can't do anything about the weather," said Open executive director Danny Jones. "But everything we can control, we're going to do to put on a great tournament and raise money for our charities."
The four-round Nationwide Tour event begins Thursday morning over the 7,079-yard par-71 Le Triomphe layout, and the most former champions in at least a decade will be chasing the top prize. Veteran PGA and Nationwide Tour pro Skip Kendall returns to defend the title he won in a playoff over 2001 Open champion Paul Claxton last March.
In addition to Kendall and Claxton, former winners Paul Stankowski (1996), Jimmy Walker (2004) and Ryan Hietala (2005) are in the 130-player field that will expand to 144 after Monday's qualifying rounds.
In addition to over 200 players competing for seven field spots at both The Wetlands and Squirrel Run, Monday's tournament activities include the Dwight Andrus Insurance Pro-Am at 10 a.m. The course is reserved for tournament player practice rounds on Tuesday, and a pair of pro-ams - the AT&T Pro-Am at 8 a.m. and the Cal Chlor Pro-Am at 1:15 p.m. - are slated for Wednesday prior to championship play beginning at approximately 7:30 a.m. Thursday.
The field will be cut to the top 60 players and ties following Friday's second round, and the final two rounds will involve players positioning themselves for shares in the record purse.
The Open is traditionally the Nationwide Tour's first U.S. stop, this year following early-season events in Panama, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. Three of this year's tournament winners so far - Scott Dunlap (Panama), Darron Stiles (New Zealand) and Ewan Porter (Australia) - are in this week's field.
Those three and Mexico Open winner Jarrod Lyle have a leg up on finishing in "The 25," the top 25 total money winners on the 30-tournament tour this year. That group earns PGA Tour cards for the 2009 season.
It's a number all too familiar to Kendall, who snapped a string of 384 PGA and Nationwide Tour events without a victory with last year's third-hole playoff victory and a $90,000 winning check. Kendall came excruciatingly close to returning to the "big" tour after finishing 26th on the money list.
The odds are against Kendall, though, as well as all five previous winners in the field. No player in the 18-year history of the Tour has ever defended a title, and only three players in Tour history - Ryan Howison in the Lakeland Classic (1997 and 1999), Chris Smith in the Dakota Dunes Open (1995 and 1997) and Hunter Haas in the Knoxville Open (2004 and 2006) - have ever won more than once in any single tournament.
That could open the door for a lengthy list of players with local ties. In addition to Hietala, who was a Lafayette resident when he took a surprising win in 2005, the field includes a favorite son in Kris Cox. The former ESA standout and Oklahoma State All-American was an emotional runner-up in 1999 and will be making his 12th appearance in the Open after splitting time between the PGA and Nationwide Tours over the past decade.
Rayne native, former UL All-American and current Lake Charles resident Mike Heinen, winner of the 1994 Shell Houston Open, is also in the field and is also a former runner-up. Heinen lost to Steven Alker in a playoff in 2002.
Acadian-by-marriage and U.S. Ryder Cup player Chris Riley, former UL standout and Lake Charles resident Greg Sonnier, and Le Triomphe host pro David Church also claimed spots in the field. Church won the Gulf States PGA's closed qualifying tournament held at Le Triomphe to earn a slot.
Since the tournament is the first on U.S. soil this year, the field figures to be among the strongest of the Nationwide Tour season even though the PGA Tour's stop in New Orleans - Louisiana's only other major-tour event - hits on the same weekend. And, because of its first-up status, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem will be in town Tuesday to meet with the players and discuss issues relating to each tour.
Daily Advertiser, March 23, 2008
|Golf:|| 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989|
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