Notre Dame's Kyle Camp to participate in Louisiana Champions Invitational

MARKSVILLE - A star-studded field, including three of the four reigning boys' high school golf state champions, will be in action Tuesday when Tamahka Trails Golf Club at Paragon Casino Resort plays host to the 11th annual Louisiana Champions Invitational.

The tournament, which is sanctioned by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association as the official All-Star event for prep golfers, will consist of a 22-player field that includes Louisiana's top high school golfers. Participants will be competing for $2,600 in scholarship funds in the boys' and girls' divisions.

The one-day, 18-hole tournament has a restricted field and is open only to boys who finished in the top five individually in their respective high school state tournament divisions and to girls who finished in the top three in their state events. Of the 20 boys eligible to participate (the top five from the four LHSAA divisions), 16 accepted slots in the tournament and will be participating.

All six girls eligible to take part (the top three in the two LHSAA divisions) will be participating.

Play will begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday over the par-71 Tamahka Trails layout, with the boys' course to be set at 7,000 yards and the girls' course to be set at 5,600 yards - both at college standards, as compared to normal shorter course setup for high school players. A $750 scholarship will be awarded to the champions of both the boys and the girls divisions. The tournament will also give awards for second through fifth place in the boys' division and second place in the girls' division will also receive scholarship money.

Last year, Loyola Prep’s Eric Richard won the event on the boys' side with a 6-under-par 65 to set a new Louisiana Champions Tournament record as well as a new Tamahka Trails Golf Course amateur record. Salmen’s Jennifer Nguyen shot a 2-over-par 73 to win on the girls' side. Her score was also a Louisiana Champions Tournament record.

Richard, an LSU signee, placed sixth in the Division III state tournament two weeks ago and failed to qualify for this year’s event. Nguyen is currently playing collegiate golf for the Golden Eagles of Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

This year's boys' field includes four players that will be making at least their second appearance in the invitational.

Vermilion Catholic’s Nick Hollier placed fourth last year with a round of 72 and Zachary’s Peyton McCulloch was fifth with a score of 73. 

Notre Dame’s Kyle Camp and Cedar Creek's Jordan Cole will be making their fourth straight appearance at the tournament. Only six players in the tournament's 11-year history have played in the event four times.

Camp finished 10th in 2012 with a round of 80 while Cole carded an 84.

Cole enters this year tournament fresh off a two-day round of 153 that was good enough to earn him the Division IV state title two weeks ago at the Shreveport Country Club in Shreveport.

Barbe’s Logan Hayes and St. Thomas More’s Drew Gonzales each fired a two-day total of 142 to win the state title in their respective divisions. Hayes, a senior, accomplished his feat in the Division I State Tournament at Eastridge Country Club in Shreveport while Gonzales, a freshman, won the Division II state title at Shreveport Country Club.

McCulloch, a senior, and Byrd’s Jeffrey Berry, a sophomore, enter the tournament with the second-lowest state championship round total. The duo each posted a score of 144 to tie for second place in the Division I State Tournament.

The Top 5 finishers in both Division II and IV will participate in the event this year while the Top 3 in Division I will be in action as well. Camp and Northlake’s Stephen Wall, who tied for fourth place, are the only two golfers from Division III to enter..

The girls' field is headed up by Division I state champion and University of New Orleans signee Lauren Aillet of St. Thomas More and runnerup Taylor Thompson, a Centenary College signee, of St. Joseph’s Academy. Aillet carded a two-day total of 160 to win the state championship while Thompson fired a 164.

Also competing is St. Thomas Moore senior Danielle Perez, who placed third at the state tournament and St. Louis junior Olivia Hanson, who was fourth. Division II will be represented by Runnels sophomore Taylor King, who placed third at the state tournament with a round of 158, and McGhee's Angelica Harris who tied for fourth with a 161.

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