Chad Massie told his St. Thomas More team not to worry if their early scores were high Tuesday during the Acadiana Area High School Golf League Championship Tournament.
He figured everyone else would struggle just as much with the weather conditions at Squirrel Run, and he was right.
The winds blew the scores sky-high during the league’s title event, but the Cougars finished with the same result as they had all season long.
STM, which went unbeaten during regular-season play, got a solid round from tournament medalist Drew Gonzales and did enough in the windy conditions to easily capture the AAHSGL title. The Cougars’ 336 total was 16 strokes ahead of nearest competitor Notre Dame, which narrowly claimed the runner-up spot by one over Teurlings Catholic.
“It was just brutal … it had to be blowing 25, 30 miles an hour easily out there,” Massie said. “I told my team that the way the wind was blowing, 10 over was like even par today, and to not worry if you start shooting 85 or 90 because the wind is going to have that much of an effect.”
That it did. Only two players broke 80 over the 6,782-yard, par-72 Steeple-Woods combination at Squirrel Run, with Gonzales’ 5-over 77 good enough for a two-stroke win over Notre Dame’s Kyle Camp in the race for medalist honors.
STM’s Beau David joined Catholic’s Micah Goulas, OC’s Kristian Fontenot and Westgate’s Aaron Bird in a tie for third at 10-over 82.
Only 11 in the 63-player field broke 85 in conditions that made scrambling for pars the goal for the day.
“All of the guys were either long or short on just about every hole,” Massie said. “That was coming from just judging the wind and mis-clubbing, because it was a lot more than a normal one-club wind.”
Gonzales was able to handle the conditions due to his short game, with many of his 12 pars coming on up-and-downs after missing the green in regulation.
“He may be 100 pounds dripping wet and doesn’t hit it as far as a lot of guys,” Massie said, “but he scrambled a lot. He was hitting a lot of good shots and was getting around the greens, kept it in play, and his misses were on the right sides of the greens. He never short-sided himself and he pretty much always gave himself a chance to get up and down.”
Gonzales stood at 3-over midway through his final nine before notching his only birdie of the day to get to 2-over with three holes to go, before bogeying the par-five seventh and doubling on the par-four ninth on the closing Woods course.
The final two holes – the par-3 eighth and the ninth – played straight into the wind, but Gonzales was able to hold onto his advantage over Camp, the most consistent scorer over the entire spring season.
Gonzales and David’s 82 joined with an 87 from Hunter David and a 90 from Cameron Hagle for STM’s winning team score, giving the Cougars some confidence going into next week’s state tournament. STM and Teurlings will play in Division II and Ascension Catholic, Opelousas Catholic, ESA and Westminster will play in Division IV Monday at The Farm d’Allie, while Lafayette, Acadiana and Carencro will play in Division I Tuesday at The Island in Plaquemine and Notre Dame and Catholic will return to Squirrel Run Monday to play in Division III.
“This was good preparation for us and for all the teams going into district, regional and hopefully state,” Massie said.