Ricard, Loyola Prep cruise to boys titles
ZACHARY — For Eric Ricard and his Loyola College Prep teammates, it was smooth sailing through the Class 3A boys state golf championship tournament at BREC’s Beaver Creek golf course on Thursday.
A day after storms washed out the final round of the Class 5A championship at Copper Mill, a day of golf in the sunshine ended with Loyola Prep carding a two-day total of 575, 38 strokes better than second-place Notre Dame of Crowley with 613.
Team scores are the total of the low four players from each five-player team. Nine schools competed with full teams, while five more schools sent single golfers.
It was a second straight championship for Loyola Prep. The Shreveport school captured the 2011 title at Oak Wing Golf Club in Alexandria.
E.D. White of Thibodaux followed in third place with 654. Three Baton Rouge area schools were bunched in the next three places: Parkview Baptist (666), West Feliciana (673) and Brusly (679.
Ricard finished as the top medalist with a two-day score of 67-68-135, which is 9-under par. He was also the 3A state champion in 2011.
He found his comfort zone in the two days at Beaver Creek.
“It was really a low stress tournament,” said Ricard, who won by six strokes. “I’ve played this course in other tournaments, and I like it a lot. It’s a course you can go really low on.
“Today I was really striking the ball well, hitting a lot of fairways and a lot of greens in regulation.”
Ricard had six birdies in his Thursday round to go with two bogeys.
“I bogeyed the two par-3s,” he said. “I pulled both of those shots, chipped up and missed my par putts. I also missed a lot of birdie putts today that were within six feet, but I did make two 20-foot putts during the tournament.”
Ricard’s toughest competition came from his teammates. Kirk Thomas shot 141 for second place, and Ryan Crissman, who won a playoff for third place, shot 144.
The lowest scores among local golfers came from Brek Balentine of Parkview Baptist (80-78, 158), Davis Field of WFHS (82-78, 160) and Jon Herrington of Brusly (89-77, 171).
Loyola Prep coach Steven Geter said that the team exceeded his expectations.
“They broke their goals that I gave them,” he said, “especially Ryan Chrissman. He played outstanding the past two days.”
Chrissman followed a 74 on Wednesday with a 2-under par 70 on Thursday.
With two juniors and two sophomores in his five-player lineup, Geter looks for more good things from the Flyers next year.
“I’m proud of these young men. They represent their school well on the course and off the course every time they go out,” Geter said.
Ricard, the top-rated junior in Louisiana and an LSU commitment, will head to Scottsdale, Ariz., for his next tournament where he will compete against 47 of the top junior players in the world.
Still, the high school competition holds a special place for him.
“It’s a lot less stressful, but the thing is, all the kids at school hear about it, so I have more of my reputation on the line,” he said. “The other tournaments may be a lot bigger, but nobody hears about them.”