AVONDALE — The 156-man Zurich Classic of New Orleans field will include six players with Louisiana ties when the tournament begins its four-day run Thursday morning.
Among the locals in the field are three former LSU players — All-Americans David Toms and John Peterson and Ken Looper. Toms won the tournament back in 2001 when it was known as the Compaq Classic and was played at English Turn.
Also playing at the TPC Louisiana layout are former University High standout Patrick Reed, former Tulane golfer Michael Thompson and Ponchatoula resident Jake Narro.
Narro, the head pro at Oak Knoll Country Club in Hammond, is playing for the second year in a row as the Gulf States PGA Section champion.
Zurich extends deal
Zurich Insurance Group CEO Martin Senn announced Wednesday the company has signed a five-year extension to continue as the tournament’s title sponsor through the 2019 event.
“This extension shows Zurich’s continued commitment to New Orleans and its people,” Senn said during a news conference at TPC Louisiana. “Our sponsorship has allowed us to build valuable relationships with the Fore!Kids Foundation and the PGA Tour.”
Zurich became title sponsor of the tournament in 2005 and four years later signed a four-year extension that was to expire after the 2014 event.
The L’Auberge of Baton Rouge Regional Pro-Am, which was scheduled for an 8 a.m. start Wednesday at University Club, was a complete washout when thunderstorms moved through the area.
The golfers in the Classic Pro-Am at TPC Louisiana were able to get nine holes in before and after the rain reached the course about 10:30 a.m. About 1.5 inches of rain fell and the course had to be cleared.
Workers in the media tent were forced to take shelter in the clubhouse for about 30 minutes while the heaviest rain pelted the area.
As they have for years, members of the LSU women’s golf team served as caddies during Wednesday’s rain-shortened Classic Pro-Am.
Ali Lucas and Elise Bradley accompanied the Duck Dynasty group captained by Bubba Watson, while Nadine Dreher and Lindsay Gahm were with the team led by Rickie Fowler.
Two players withdrew from the field Wednesday as Robert Garrigus and Freddie Jacobson decided to give up their spots. They were replaced by Billy Mayfair and Gary Christian.
Tickets are available each day at the TPC Louisiana gates. Admission is $25 for adults and children under the age of 17 are free when accompanied by a paying adult.
On the tube
The Golf Channel will provide live coverage of the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday from 2-5 p.m.