State's top golfers to compete in Louisiana Champions Invitational

MARKSVILLE - A star-studded field, including five of the six reigning boys’ high school golf state champions, will be in action Wednesday when Tamahka Trails Golf Club at Paragon Casino Resort plays host to the 10th 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 32-player field that includes Louisiana's top high school golfers. Participants will be competing for $1,500 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 30 boys eligible to participate (the top five from the six LHSAA divisions), 27 accepted slots in the tournament and will be participating.

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

Play will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday 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.

Last year, Cedar Creek's Brandon Newton won the event on the boys' side with a three-over par 74. Neville's Anna McMullen shot an 83 to win on the girls' side.

Newton claimed his fourth straight Division V state title two weeks ago at Links on the Bayou in Alexandria, but he will not be competing in Wednesday’s tournament. McMullen is currently playing collegiate golf at William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia .

This year's boys field is an experienced group with six players making at least their second appearance in the invitational.

Alexandria Senior High School's Chuck Spears and Daniel Deloach lead the pack, each having played in the event the last three years. Spears, a senior and LSU signee, won the Division II state title two weeks ago after carding a 141 at Oak Wing in Alexandria while Deloach, also a senior, was third with a 151.

Loyola Prep comes in the most entrants after sweeping the top three honors at the Division III tournament in Zachary. Eric Richard successfully defended his individual state title by carding a two-day total of 135 after firing a second-day 68. Richard’s two-day total was the lowest round shot by any golfer in state tournament competition this year.

Richard will be joined in the All-Star tournament by teammates Kirk Thomas, who was second at state with a 141, and Ryan Crissman, who was third at 144.

Calvary Baptist's Sam Burns enters the event with the second-lowest state championship round total. The freshman shot a final-round 69 to overtake Dunham’s Conner Cavin and capture the Division IV individual state title with a two-round total of 138 at The Atchafalaya at Idlewood Golf Course in Patterson.

Zachary's Drew Patin was crowned the Division I champion after shooting a 67 on the opening day of action at Copper Mill Golf Club in Zachary. The second day was canceled due to inclement weather.

The fifth and final champion participating in the event is Episcopal of Acadiana senior Ben Como. The University of Louisiana-Lafayette signee shot a 150 to claim the Division VI title.

All six runners-up and five third-place finishers in the state meets are in Wednesday's boys' field.

The girls' field is headed up by Division I state champion and LSU signee Elise Bradley of Mandeville and Division II winner Lana Hodge of Ouachita Christian. Hodge, a junior, fired a two-day total of 144 in the state tournament at Copper Mill while Bradley shot a 147 at the Alexandria Golf and Country Club.

Also competing is Southern Mississippi signee Jennifer Nguyen of Salmen, LSU signee Elizabeth Borda of Domiican and McGehee eighth-grader Angelica Harris.

PARTICIPANT LIST

GIRLS

NAME, CLASS

HIGH SCHOOL STATE PLACE COLLEGE

Elise Bradley, Sr. Mandeville 1st 5A LSU

Elizabeth Borda, Sr. Dominican 3rd 5A LSU

Angelica Harris, 8th McGehee 2nd 3A NA

Lana Hodge, Jr. Ouachita Christian 1st 1A NA

Jennifer Nguyen, Sr. Salmen 2nd 1A Southern Miss

BOYS

Taylor Billings, Sr. Jesuit 3rd 5A Notre Dame

Hunter Boyett, Sr. Weston 2nd 1A NA

Sam Burns, Fr. Calvary 1st 2A NA

Blake Caldewell, Jr. Ponchatoula 2nd 5A NA

Kyle Camp, Jr. Notre Dame 4th 3A NA

Connor Cavin, Jr. Dunham 2nd 2A NA

Jordan Cole, Jr. Cedar Creek 2nd 1A NA

Ben Como, Sr. ESA 1st B/C UL-Lafayette

Ryan Crissman, Soph. Loyola 3rd 3A NA

Ross Davis, Sr. Episcopal 5th 2A UL-Lafayette

Daniel Deloach, Sr. Alexandria 3rd 4A NA

Ryan Desormeaux, Sr. Comeaux 4th 5A Copiah-Lincoln CC

Sean Flynn, Jr. Riverside 5th 2A NA

Shane Fontenot, Jr. Barbe

4th 5A NA

Josh Fullilove, Sr. South Lafourche 4th 5A Nicholls

Joe Haydel, Sr. Vandebilt Catholic 4th 4A Nicholls

Nick Hollier, Jr. Vermilion Catholic 5th 1A NA

Peyton McCulloch, Jr. Zachary 4th 5A NA

Matt Miller, Sr. Shaw 2nd 4A

NA

Drew Patin, Sr. Zachary 1st 5A

Meridan JC

Jes Pender, Sr. Weston 3rd B/C NA

Derick Pillai, Fr.

Patrick Taylor 4th B/C NA

Eric Richard, Jr. Loyola Prep 1st 3A LSU

Chuck Spears, Sr. Alexandria Sr. High 1st 4A LSU

Kirk Thomas II, Sr. Loyola Prep 2nd 3A UL-Monroe

Jack Tolson, 8th Westminster 3rd 2A NA

Grant Welch, Fr. Runnels 4th 2A NA

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