Men's Golf Leads CCLA After Day One by Two Shots
BATON ROUGE — A tournament-record 38 golfers broke par in the first two rounds and host LSU fired an 8-under-par 36-hole total 568 on day one of the Country Club of Louisiana Intercollegiate on Monday to finish the day in first place by two strokes heading into the final round at the Country Club of Louisiana.
The 15-team field, which includes seven teams currently ranked in Golfweek’s top 60, put up sizzling scores in the unexpected cool weather and enjoyed a course that tournament coaches have raved about since they arrived on Saturday, one that is in top condition. The best news, though, was simply the ability to play on Monday, after last season’s event was rained out due to heavy rain which rendered the course unplayable.
LSU, in search of its first CCLA title since 2000, was led by junior Heath West, who fired a 3-under 141 and is in a tie for fourth place. West, a native of Dothan, Ala., is in position for his fourth-consecutive top-10 finish this season. West tied for 24th place as a freshman in the 2001 event, as the Tigers placed fifth.
“Well we have one more round to go, and I know we played well today but it does not mean a thing unless we play well tomorrow,” said LSU head coach Greg Jones. “We just have 18 more to go and we need to play well.”
“Heath (West) has just been super so far this season and he played well today,” said Jones. “He is just good and he always has a lot of birdie opportunities and usually makes the most of them.”
West did just that as he ended his first round on No. 18. West rifled the ball out of the sand roughly 165 yards out and put it three feet from the cup where he proceeded to sink the putt and move three under par for the round.
Arkansas, currently ranked 17th in the nation by Golfweek, is two shots behind the Tigers in second place after shooting a 6-under 570. North Florida, the 1999 CCLA champion, is third at 4-under 572. SMU shot a 2-under 574 to end the day in fourth and Baylor rounded out the top five at even-par 576. Georgia Southern, ranked 18th, shot a 4-over 580 to finish Monday’s play in ninth place. Vanderbilt, positioned at No. 29, are in 13th place after struggling to shoot a 15-over 591. LSU is No. 39 in the latest rankings.
The majority of the teams in the field had no trouble with the par 5s on Monday, as nine teams were no worse than 12-under par in that category. Arkansas shot 18-under, while UAB and LSU each finished 17-under on the par 5s. LSU’s 568 score is tied for fourth-best in tournament history after 36 holes and North Florida’s Michael Young’s round-one 66 is tied for the second-lowest round shot in CCLA history. The record is a 7-under 65 shot by Auburn’s Lee Williams in the 2001 first round.
North Florida’s Michael Young is leading all individuals after 36 holes as he shot an 8-under 136. Young fired a first-round 6-under 66 and followed that with a 70 in round two. Arkansas’s Seth Murphy is in second place at 5-under 139 and UAB’s Tigh VanLeeuwen is third at 4-under 140. Twenty two golfers ended the day at par or better.
Four LSU golfers are tied for 10th place, as each shot a 1-under 143, those being senior Garrett Prather, Andrew Lanahan, Brandon Aydlett, and individual Jason Horrell. Prather shot rounds of 72-71 and is looking for his first top-10 finish of the season. Lanahan, making his CCLA debut, shot identical rounds. Aydlett fired a career-low 3-under 69 in round two and is in search of his first-career top-10 finish. Horrell, making his second appearance in the CCLA, shot a career-low round of 2-under 70 in the afternoon.
The Tigers have already recorded five top 10s as a team this season. Junior Jeff Riemann is in a tie for 32nd place at 3-over 147. Transfer Greg Mason, also playing as an individual in his Tiger debut, shot a 5-over 149 to tie for 55th place. Jake Shaw and Justin Sevier, both individuals, are tied for 69th at 8-over 152. Sevier, a native of Shreveport, shot a career-low 75 in round two. True freshman Garrett Runion shot 10-over 154 to finish the day in a tie for 75th.
Horrell and Mason are paired with fellow individual, Michael Fortier of Southeastern Louisiana, and will tee off at 7:52 a.m. on Tuesday to begin the final round of play. LSU is paired with Arkansas and North Florida and will tee off beginning at 9:20 a.m. Riemann, Aydlett, Lanahan, Prather, and West will be the order that the Tigers will tee off. West, Murphy, and Young will be the final group of the day, as the three go off at 9:52 a.m.
The CCLA is the final event of the fall season for LSU. The Tigers are hoping to win their second event of the season, having already won the Baylor Invitational last month in Waco, Texas. LSU will begin the spring season with the Gator Invitational on Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in Gainesville, Fla.