St. Paul’s in hunt for Division I golf title

SHREVEPORT — LSU signee Brandon Pierce led a consistent group from St. Paul’s in Monday opening round of the Division I state golf tournament at East Ridge Country Club.

Four Wolves took advantage of perfect scoring conditions and shot 73 or better, including Pierce’s even-par 71, as St. Paul’s (6-over 290) stalks leader Barbe (288). The event concludes with 18 holes Tuesday.

Beau Briggs, Ryan Martin and Thomas Ruli of St. Paul’s all fired 73s on Monday.

Defending champion Barbe was led by a dazzling 66 from McNeese State signee Shane Fontenot, who holds a two-stroke lead over Captain Shreve’s Blake Traweek in the individual completion.

Logan Hayes (Barbe) and Ponchatoula’s Blake Caldwell, playing as an individual, added 70s.

Byrd, paced by a 74 from freshman Carter Toms, sons of former Airline and LSU star David Toms, is third in the team standings, 24 strokes behind Barbe. Catholic High stands fourth, 25 strokes behind, entering the final round.

In the Division III competition, also held at East Ridge, defending champion Calvary built a 21-stroke lead over fellow Shreveport school Loyola College Prep. The Cavaliers were paced by Sam Burns’ 70. Burns leads the individual race by two strokes over Notre Dame’s Kyle Camp.

“I started off rough; I was 1-over through six holes, and I made birdie on No. 7 to get some momentum,” said Burns, last year’s state medalist. “I just didn’t make as many putts as I’m used to.

“I’m trying to get as many state championships as possible before I graduate.”

University High, led by Trey Winstead (77), son of LSU golf coach Chuck Winstead, is third in the team race, 32 strokes behind Calvary.

Across town at Shreveport Country Club, defending champion Benton owns a slim lead in Division II play. A 76 from Colby Cantrell helped the Tigers (312) to a two-stroke advantage over Parkview Baptist and a five-shot lead over St. Thomas More.

The Cougars were led by Drew Gonzales, who paced the field with a 2-over 73. Gonzales leads a tight individual race. Thirteen golfers are within six strokes of the lead, including Ruston’s Mitchell Haddox (74) and Matt Ramsey (75) from North DeSoto.

In the Division IV race at Shreveport Country Club, defending champion Cedar Creek (326) stormed to a 19-stroke lead over Ascension Episcopal. Vermillion Catholic (346) enters the final round in third behind a 77 from Tyler Lege, who leads the individual event by a single stroke over a trio of golfers (Skye Mejia, Ascension Episcopal; Cedar Creek’s Johnny Maxwell, Jordan Cole).