MONROE, La. — It was a historic day at Bayou DeSiard Country Club in Monroe. Grady Brame, Jr. of Hammond fired a two-under par 70 on Sunday and successfully defended the title he won in 2014, becoming the first player since Buddy Short in 1969 and 1970 to win back-to-back Louisiana Golf Association Amateur Championships. Brame, Jr. started the day at seven-under par (209), one shot back of 54 hole leader Blake Caldwell of Ponchatoula. It was a grueling battle between these two young golfers all day, and Brame, Jr. eventually grinded out the one stroke victory over Caldwell after several lead changes. Brame, Jr. finished the Championship at nine-under par 279.
Brame, Jr. and Caldwell, along with Ryan Desormeaux of Broussard were in the final pairing of the day and teed off at 10:39 AM. Brame, Jr. and Caldwell each stumbled out of the gate, making a bogey at the par 4 first hole. They each made par at the par 4 2nd hole, and then Caldwell gained another stroke on Brame, Jr. after making birdie on the par 5 3rd hole. Brame, Jr. responded with a birdie at the par 4 3rdhole, while Caldwell made a par. Brame, Jr. made par at the par 4 5th hole, and Caldwell made a bogey. Grady took the lead after making a birdie at the par 5 6th hole, but Blake responded with a birdie at the par 4 7th hole to even the score. They both made par at the par 4 8thhole, and Brame, Jr. made a bogey at the par 3 9th hole while Caldwell made a par. They made the turn exactly as they started the round, with Caldwell retaining a one shot lead over Brame, Jr.
The back nine was where Grady Brame, Jr. made his charge. He birdied the par 4 10th hole and the par 4 11th hole, while Caldwell made a par and a bogey. Caldwell responded with a par at the par 4 12th hole while Brame, Jr. made a bogey, still leading by one shot. They both made a par at the par 4 13th, and Caldwell made a birdie at the par 5 14th hole. They each made par at the par 3 15th hole. The Championship was won when Grady Brame, Jr. made a birdie at the par 5 16th hole, which was playing 564 yards on Sunday.
When the final group finished hole #16, it started raining, and the summer shower lasted about 20 minutes, but it was enough rain that play was suspended. The suspension of play lasted from 2:40 until 3:00 PM. The final group was the only group left on the golf course, and before play was suspended, Brame, Jr. his tee shot on the front of the 17th green, about 35 feet away from the hole. In the humidity that ensued following the rain during the resumption of play, Brame, Jr. was able to re-group, and he two putted to make par on #17. Caldwell also made par, and Brame, Jr. had a one shot lead heading into the final hole. Both competitors hit their tee shot into the fairway on the tough finishing hole, the 440 yard par 4 18th. Brame, Jr. was the first to hit, and his approach shot landed left of the green, making for a difficult up-and-down. Caldwell’s approach landed on the left edge of the green, leaving him a 35 foot putt for birdie. Brame, Jr. put the pressure on Caldwell after his incredible chip shot rolled to within two feet of the hole. Caldwell missed his birdie attempt by a few feet as well, and they both tapped in for par. It was a valiant effort from both Caldwell and Brame, Jr.
As previously mentioned, Grady Brame, Jr. is the first competitor to successfully defend his LGA Amateur Championship since Buddy Short in 1969 and 1970. Brame, Jr. is a deserving Champion, and he understands the significance and importance of the State Amateur Championship. His father, Grady Brame, Sr. won the LGA Amateur Championship in 2002 and participated in the 2015 event, so he was on site and able to watch his son finish and win another Championship.
The low round of the day belonged to Kirk Thomas II of Bossier City who shot a five-under par 67. Other scores under par on Sunday were shot by: Brandon Aydlett of Metairie (68/285), Ben Suarez of Sulphur (70/286), Derek Busby of Ruston (70/292), and Jacob Bergeron of Slidell (70/294).
The Bayou DeSiard course played tough all week, with only four competitors finishing under par for the Championship after 72 holes, and no competitor reaching double digits under par. The Bayou DeSiard grounds crew, led by Superintendent Rob Randel, did a fantastic job in getting the golf course ready and in Championship condition. The greens were firm and fast, and the tree lined, shot makers course provided a true test for the field of competitors.
Bayou DeSiard Country Club, which was founded in 1948, is hosting the LGA Amateur Championship for the seventh time in its history, having also been host venue for this Championship in 2001, 1995, 1984, 1969, 1962, and 1958. The Perry Maxwell designed Bayou DeSiard course drew positive reviews from this field of the top amateur players in Louisiana. The course played to a par of 72 at approximately 7,070 yards on Thursday.
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