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A number of golfers with Louisiana ties go into this week’s Wyndham Championship on the PGA Tour needing strong finishes to keep their playing privileges, while others are simply looking to add polish to their seasons.
The top 125 players in FedEx Cup points after this week’s tournament in Greensboro, North Carolina, advance to the FedEx Cup playoffs that begin next week and keep their tour status for the coming year. Those in the top 125 on the money list after this week also keep their tour cards for 2014-15 but aren’t guaranteed a spot in the playoffs.
Here’s a look:
- PATRICK REED: The ex-University High golfer is the defending champion at the Wyndham and has already had a stellar year. He’s won twice in 2013-14, is ninth in FedEx Cup points, 11th on the money list and is a virtual lock to make it through the first three rounds at least. Reed is also locked in on the U.S. Ryder Cup team by finishing eighth on that points list, which was completed after last week’s PGA Championship.
- MICHAEL THOMPSON: The former Tulane golfer is in solid shape at 100th on the FedEx Cup points list and 96th on the money list. At this point, Thompson is playing more to improve his points standing as the field for each FedEx Cup playoff event gets smaller each week. The top 125 players make the field for The Barclays, the top 100 for the Deutsche Bank Championship, the top 70 for the BMW Championship and only the top 30 for the Tour Championship.
- DAVID TOMS: The former LSU All-American and 2001 PGA champion David Toms is in the best shape of any ex-Tigers. He entered the week ranked 120th on the FedEx Cup points list, dicey for the playoffs, but 116th in money which has him relatively safe for his 2014-15 card. Toms also ranks eighth all-time in PGA Tour career earnings with over $40.2 million, and could use a career earnings exemption to keep his card if needed.
- ANDREW LOUPE: Bolstered by a lone top-10 finish in San Antonio earlier this season (he tied for fourth), the former LSU Tiger is 140th on the money list and 145th in FedEx Cup points. He needs to finish sixth or better this week to make the playoffs.
- JOHN PETERSON: Peterson, the 2011 NCAA champion at LSU, is 178th in money and 177th in points. He would need to finish second or better to make the playoffs. Peterson’s had a rocky first full year on the PGA Tour, missing the cut in 16 of 24 starts (including the last five) with a tie for 19th in Memphis his best showing to date.
Regarded as the No. 1 recruit in the nation by most of the recruiting services last year, running back Leonard Fournette has come to LSU with plenty of fanfare and expectations. At 6 feet 1, 224 pounds, Fournette has a unique blend of power and speed and should get plenty of playing time this season.
The PGA Tour’s motto is “These guys are good.”
Former LSU golfer and Baton Rouge native Andrew Loupe lived up to that motto during Thursday’s first round of The Greenbrier Classic. He came up just one foot short of a double eagle (or albatross) from 279 yards out on the Par-5 17th hole.
You can check out the video at www.PGATour.com.
And in case your wondering, yes, The Greenbrier Resort where Loupe and the rest of the PGA Tour pros are competing this week is the same place where the New Orleans Saints will open training camp July 24.
By Ross Dellenger
LAFAYETTE – No. 1 is gone.
Louisiana-Lafayette had the tying run thrown out at the plate in the seventh inning before things unraveled, and Ole Miss ended the Ragin’ Cajuns magical 2014 run with a 10-4 win Monday night in the decisive third game of the Lafayette super regional.
In front of a rocking crowd at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field, the Rebels (46-19) turned a close one into a rout, exploding for five runs over the final two frames for the program’s first trip to Omaha in 42 years.
UL-Lafayette (58-10) pitchers walked eight and hit three batters, and the Ragin’ Cajuns, the unanimous No. 1-ranked team entering this game and the NCAA tournament national No. 6 seed, had a bullpen collapse.
Despite committing four errors, the Rebels ended the hopes of a Cajuns team that set the school record for wins in front of a rowdy 4,295. For the first time all season, UL-Lafayette lost back-to-back games. The Cajuns dropped a 5-2 game Sunday after winning the opener of this best-of-three super regional 9-5 on Saturday.
Ole Miss reliever Scott Weathersby got the win on the mound, and the Rebels took advantage of a UL-Lafayette bullpen that floundered late.
The Rebels entered this deciding game 0 for 6 under coach Mike Bianco in games that would have sent them to Omaha. Bianco, a former LSU catcher and coach, now takes his team to the College World Series in his 14th season at the helm.
Ole Miss will play national 3 seed Virginia on Sunday night at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
The game-changing play in this one came in the seventh inning.
The Cajuns had the then-tying run thrown out the plate in the frame.
Seth Harrison smashed a two-out double down the left field line to bring home Tyler Girouard before Caleb Adams was thrown out in an impressive play from the Rebels.
Left fielder Braxton Lee corralled Harrison’s shot off the brick wall lining the left field stands and tossed to relay man Errol Robinson. Robinson rifled a throw to catcher Will Allen, a perfect toss.
Allen blocked the plate and made a sweeping tag of Adams, inciting a dramatic “out” call from home plate umpire Heath Jones.
Replay showed it was the correct call, and Ole Miss then grabbed the momentum. The Rebels added a run in the eighth and piled on four runs in the ninth inning – three of them on Holt Perdzock’s bases-loaded, three-RBI double.
Ole Miss bats were too much early, too.
The Rebels got two home runs in the fourth inning, recovering from a 1-0 deficit to take a 3-1 lead. The Cajuns tied it in the bottom of the inning, getting an RBI groundout from Michael Strentz and a two-out, RBI double from Ryan Leonards.
Both starters had short stints. Ole Miss’ Sam Smith went just 3.2 inning. Cody Boutte, the losing pitcher, lasted just four innings. He hit Braxton Lee to begin the fifth inning before coach Tony Robichaux yanked him from the mound.
Boutte allowed five hits, and Smith gave up six.
UL-Lafayette wasted several chances.
In the sixth, the Cajuns had a two-out rally squashed. With two on and two away, Jace Conrad flew out to deep right field against hard-throwing Ole Miss reliever Josh Laxer.
UL-Lafayette threatened in the second inning, but Ole Miss center fielder Auston Bousfield made a diving catch that saved a pair of runs. The Cajuns left a runner stranded on second base in each the third, fourth and fifth innings.
UL-Lafayette got the leadoff on in the sixth inning, but Harrison was caught stealing second base.
- Ryan Leonards, 3B
- Jace Conrad, 2B
- Blake Trahan, SS
- Tyler Girouard, DH
- Caleb Adams, LF
- Chase Compton, 1B
- Seth Harrison, CF
- Dylan Butler, RF
- Michael Strentz, C
- Cody Boutte, LHP
- Braxton Lee, LF
- Auston Bousfield, CF
- Austin Anderson, 3B
- Will Allen, C
- Sikes Orvis, 1B
- Colby Bortles, DH
- J.B. Woodman, RF
- Preston Overby, 2B
- Errol Robinson, SS
- Sam Smith, RHP