Men's Golf Two Shots Back at LSU National Invitational
BATON ROUGE – The No. 9-ranked LSU men’s golf team wrapped up the first day of competition at the LSU National Invitational just two shots behind the Michigan Wolverines following Saturday’s action at the University Club as the Tigers are in search of their fourth team championship of the campaign.
After opening with a 7-over par 295 in the first round to head into the afternoon in a tie for first place with No. 12-ranked Iowa, the Tigers posted a team score of 6-over par 294 to finish the Saturday’s competition in third place overall in the team standings with a 36-hole score of 13-over 589.
On the strength of a tournament-low 3-over 291 in the second round, Michigan surged ahead of the Tigers and Hawkeyes into first place with a total of 11-over 587 for the day. Iowa wrapped up the first day of the event in second place at 12-over 588, while Chattanooga (595) and VCU (602) round out the top five.
LSU will tee off alongside Big 10 Conference foes Iowa and Michigan in Sunday’s final round beginning at 9 a.m. CDT on the first tee in what is sure to be a tight battle for the team title throughout the day.
The lengthy par-72 layout at the new-look University Club proved to be a challenge for competitors in the first two rounds of the event as the field managed an average of 77.61 strokes per round on the afternoon.
“It’s a tough golf course,” said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. “When you’re at home, you want to try to impress those around you. Whether or not that was an issue for our team today, I know these guys look forward to coming back out here tomorrow and play well. I expect they will come out here tomorrow with a competitive mindset and an attitude to perform to the best of their ability.”
Iowa head coach Mark Hankins gave his thoughts on the new design at the University Club following this tightly-contested Saturday at the revived LSU National Invitational.
“The course is in great shape,” Hankins said. “The greens are pretty tricky, and you really have to control your distance. I think the guys that chipped and putted well today are the ones who played well. We think the weather was absolutely perfect today, so there really were no excuses out there.”
As has been the case for much of the 2010-11 season, LSU seniors John Peterson and Andrew Loupe has the Tigers in position to compete for the team title after finishing the day in the Top 10 of the leaderboard.
Peterson fired rounds of 2-under 70 and even-par 72 on Saturday to finish the day five shots back of first-round and second-round leader Stephan Jaeger of Chattanooga with a 36-hole score of 2-under 142. With his performance, Peterson finds himself in a tie for third place on the leaderboard with Iowa’s Vince India as they are two of just five players in the field of 66 to break par on the afternoon.
Loupe is nine shots off the pace in a tie for eighth place on the leaderboard at 2-over 146, which features a 3-over 75 in the first round and a 1-under 71 in the second round on Saturday.
Rounding out the LSU five-man starting lineup are senior Ken Looper in a tie for 22nd place at 6-over 150, junior Sang Yi in a tie for 25th place at 7-over 151 and junior Austin Gutgsell in a tie for 54th place at 18-over 162. Looper’s day was highlighted with an even-par 72 in the first round of competition.
Two Tigers finished the day among the Top 10 of the leaderboard while competing as individuals through the tournament as freshman Andrew Presley fired back-to-back rounds of even-par 72 to place sixth in the individual standings at even-par 144 and senior Clayton Rotz posted rounds of 2-over 74 and 1-over 73 in two rounds to finish in sole possession of 10th place at 3-over 147.
Freshman Franco Castro finished in a tie for 12th place at 5-over 149, freshman Smylie Kaufman wrapped up in a tie for 42nd at 12-over 156 and freshman Landon Lyons finished in a tie for 51st at 16-over 160.
While the University Club proved to be a difficult challenge for most, Jaeger fired a 2-under 70 in the first round and a tournament-low 5-under 67 in the second round to take the lead at 7-under 137. Michigan star Alexander Sitompul is four shots back in second place at 3-under 141 for the championship.
LSU NATIONAL INVITATIONAL – DAY 1 QUOTES
On the course and his team’s play on the first day …
“I really like the course. The course is in great shape. It played a little easier. I can tip it out a little more. The greens are perfect. Overall, I really played well. I hit a couple of bad ones, but I left myself a pretty good look for par. I played well, so I can’t complain about anything.”
On his season to this point …
“I’ve played close to really well this season. Some little things haven’t been working, but I’ve figured those out and it went well today. It all came together today. It was good.”
On the weather during the first day of competition …
“The weather was perfect. You can’t complain with 85 degrees and no breeze. We always like to play in those conditions. I just enjoyed myself out there as much as I could, even though sometimes it doesn’t go your way. Today it did.”
Michigan Head Coach
On how his team played on the first day…
“We had some ups and downs. Alexander played well shooting 70 and then 71, which is great. We had some good rounds and some not so good rounds, but they covered each other really well today, so that was good. When one guy didn’t play well the other guy stepped up and did. That’s what you need to do in team golf. I’m proud of the way they did today.”
On the course…
“It’s a great golf course. It’s firm and fast right now. I’d hate to see these greens if they were faster. It’s a fantastic layout. You can tell it’s a little bit new, but with a couple more years of growing in, it’s going to be a great golf course.”
On expectations for tomorrow…
“Just to go out and compete and play the best they can. From what I’ve heard, the wind is going to be up tomorrow. Today was about as dead calm as it can get. I just expect them to compete and play their best and see what they can do. All you can do is shoot the best score you can and add it up at the end. You can’t control what the competition does in golf, so we’ll see what we can do.”
Iowa Head Coach
On how his team played on the first day of the tournament …
“It’s our first competitive round in about two and a half weeks, so I thought that we started out a little slow, but as the day went along we made a lot more birdies and we just hung in there. I’m pretty proud of them.”
On the condition of the golf course …
“The course is in great shape. The greens are pretty tricky, and you really have to control your distance. I think the guys that chipped and putted well today are the ones who played well. We think the weather was absolutely perfect today, so there really were no excuses out there.”
On his team’s expectations for the final round …
“Our goal is to finish top five. We said that before the tournament because we didn’t know how it was going to play out. We always talk about all three rounds being the same, so we’ll just try to stay in the present and do our best. Hopefully, that will be good enough.”
LSU NATIONAL INVITATIONAL – SECOND ROUND RESULTS
TEAM SCORES (Par 576)
1. Michigan 296-291 – 587 +11; 2. Iowa 295-293 – 588 +12; 3. LSU 295-294 – 589 +13; 4. Chattanooga 297-298 – 595 +19; 5. VCU 302-300 – 602 +26; 6. Minnesota 295-308 – 603 +27; T7. Iowa State 307-300 – 607 +31; T7. Notre Dame 311-296 – 607 +31; 9. Penn State 305-305 – 610 +34; 10. Louisiana-Lafayette 306-305 – 611 +35; 11. Boston College 318-321 – 639 +63; 12. Centenary 332-320 – 652 +76.
TOP 10 INDIVIDUALS (Par 144)
1. Stephan Jaeger, Chattanooga, 70-67 – 137 -7; 2. Alexander Sitompul, Michigan, 70-71 – 141 -3; T3. John Peterson, LSU, 72-70 – 142 -2; T3. Vince India, Iowa, 71-71 – 142 -2; 5. T.J. Howe, Penn State, 72-71 – 143 -1; 6. Andrew Presley, LSU, 72-72 – 144 E*; 7. Paul McNamara, Notre Dame, 74-71 – 145 +1; T8. Andrew Loupe, LSU, 75-71 – 146 +2; T8. Erik Van Rooyen, Minnesota, 72-74 – 146 +2; 10. Clayton Rotz, LSU, 74-73 – 147 +3*.
T3. John Peterson, 72-70 – 142 -2
6. Andrew Presley, 72-72 – 144 E*
T8. Andrew Loupe, 75-71 – 146 +2
10. Clayton Rotz, 74-73 – 147 +3*
T12. Franco Castro, 73-76 – 149 +5*
T22. Ken Looper, 72-78 – 150 +6
T25. Sang Yi, 76-75 – 151 +7
T42. Smylie Kaufman, 77-79 – 156 +12*
T51. Landon Lyons, 85-75 – 160 +16*
T54. Austin Gutgsell, 81-81 – 162 +18
* – Denotes player competing as an individual.