When Calvary’s Sam Burns dropped a short par putt on the final hole in Monday’s opening round of the Division III state golf championships at East Ridge Country Club, he asked good friend, Byrd freshman Carter Toms, if he’d carry his bag up the large hill to the clubhouse.
“I’ll pay you a dollar,” Burns said.
Burns has had a busy week.
However, the defending state champion’s 1-under 70 put him in a position to win another individual title and led the Cavaliers to a 21-stroke lead over new rival Loyola entering Tuesday’s final round.
“I started off rough; I was 1 over through six holes and I made birdie on No. 7 to get some momentum,” Burns said. “I just didn’t make as many putts as I’m used to.”
Burns has a two-stroke lead over Notre Dame’s Kyle Camp in the hunt for medalist honors. Burns’ teammates Ryan Alford (73) and Nathan Jeansonne (74) are also in the mix.
Loyola’s Eric Ricard fired a 74 to pace the Flyers, another defending state champion.
Something will have to give today, though, as Calvary and Loyola were slotted in Division III prior to this season.
Burns, who finished seventh in the Junior Invitational at Sage Valley Golf Club in Graniteville, S.C., over the weekend, arrived back in Shreveport on Sunday night.
“I’m trying to get as many state championships as possible before I graduate,” Burns said.
Nary a breath of wind, perfect temperatures and sleek, but true putting surfaces — perfect scoring conditions greeted the players at East Ridge on Monday.
Shane Fontenot wasted no time taking advantage.
The Barbe senior torched the tight par-71 layout with a 66. He owns a two-stroke advantage over Captain Shreve’s Blake Traweek in the Division I individual competition. Fontenot’s 5-under-par masterpiece also helped his Buccaneers (4-over 288) to a two-stroke advantage over St. Paul’s in the team competition.
LSU signee Brandon Pierce led a consistent group from St. Paul’s. Four Wolves shot 73 or better, including Pierce’s even-par 71 as St. Paul’s stalks Barbe.
St. Paul’s Beau Briggs, Ryan Martin and Thomas Ruli all fired 73s on Monday.
Traweek, a part of Calvary Baptist Academy’s last three state championships, now attends Shreve and is participating only in the individual portion of the Division I tournament.
The fiery senior got momentum on his side following a steady front nine.
“I was trying to play safe early on,” said Traweek, who plans to play golf at Louisiana-Monroe. “And then I went after some pins on the back nine.
“It means a lot to be in the mix with a lot of my friends here.”
Logan Hayes (Barbe) and Ponchatoula’s Blake Caldwell, playing as an individual, added 70s.
Not only did Toms earn that dollar from Burns for a short his role as bag boy, the freshman paced Byrd with a 74.
The Tigers are third in the team standings, 24 strokes behind Barbe. Catholic High stands fourth, 25 strokes behind, entering the final round.
Toms recovered nicely from a rough start as part of the first group out Monday. Toms began bogey-double bogey despite placing drives in the fairway on the opening pair. Toms used a birdie on No. 17 to post even par on the inward nine.