Tiger Trio to Tee Off at U.S. Amateur

by Will Stafford (@WillStaffordLSU)
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Tiger Trio to Tee Off at U.S. Amateur

BATON ROUGE – Senior All-American Brandon Pierce and sophomore All-Americans Sam Burns and Luis Gagne have made the trip to Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, to compete in the world’s most prestigious amateur championship this week with the 116th United States Amateur Championship beginning Monday at Oakland Hills Country Club.

The North and South courses at Oakland Hills Country Club will host 36 holes of stroke play qualifying on Monday and Tuesday before the field is cut to the top 64 advancing to single elimination match play.

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Burns is set to make his second-straight appearance at the U.S. Amateur Championship after competing in the event for the first time at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago a year ago, while Pierce and Gagne make their debuts this week. Burns did not advance from stroke play qualifying in his debut in the 115th U.S. Amateur Championship last summer.

Pierce will be the first LSU Tiger to tee off in Monday’s opening round of stroke play as he starts from the 10th tee on the North Course at 12:05 p.m. CT, while Burns and Gagne will both play in the same group going off the 10th tee on the North Course at 1:25 p.m. Pierce will then tee off from the first tee on the South Course at 6:40 a.m. followed by Burns and Gagne at 8 a.m.

The Tiger trio was recently part of the lineup that led LSU back to the match play tournament for the national championship as quarterfinalists at the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Championships back in June.

Burns and Gagne enjoyed breakout freshman seasons as two of the top players in the country as they were both named PING Honorable Mention All-Americans by the Golf Coaches Association of America on June 24 following the NCAA Championships. Burns was LSU’s second-leading scorer with a 72.42 scoring average in 12 tournament appearances, including eight top-20 finishes on the year. Gagne followed with a score average of 72.48 strokes per round with three top-10 and four top-20 finishes in seven spring starts.

Gagne finished the 2015-16 season as the No. 33-ranked collegiate player nationally in the final Golfstat individual player rankings, while Burns followed as the No. 35-ranked player nationally in his freshman season.

Pierce, who earned his spot in the field for the U.S. Amateur this week by winning the sectional qualifier at Links on the Bayou in Alexandria in July, also cracked the Top 100 of Golfstat’s national player rankings for this season as the No. 96-ranked player in the country. The 2015 Golfweek Third-Team All-American averaged 73.21 strokes per round in his 11 tournament appearances as a junior in 2015-16.