Justus, Schmitt team for Louisiana Four-Ball title in a Playoff
John Justus and Donny Schmitt win Louisiana Four-Ball <br>(LGA Photo)</br>
John Justus and Donny Schmitt win Louisiana Four-Ball
(LGA Photo)

WESTLAKE, LA (July 17, 2016) -- John Justus of Baton Rouge and Donny Schmitt of Baton Rouge won the 2016 Louisiana Four-Ball Championship at The National Golf Club of Louisiana in dramatic fashion. Justus and Schmitt shot bookend 65's to finish the Championship at 14-under par 130, and were tied for first with two other teams Zak Barton (Sulphur) / Blake Dereese (Westlake) and Jason Kuperman (Shreveport) / Taylor Netherton (Shreveport) after 36-holes. An exciting sudden death playoff commenced, and Justus and Schmitt rose to the occasion to take home the title of best Amateur Four- Ball team in Louisiana.

The first playoff hole was the par-4 18th, and all three teams made par. Justus had a chance to win the playoff on No. 18, but he missed a 15-foot birdie putt by a few inches. The playoff continued to the par-5 17th, which was playing 494 yards on Sunday. Justus was out for redemption after missing the chance to end the playoff earlier. His partner hit his tee shot into the hazard to the right of the fairway, so Justus knew the pressure was on him to close it out. Justus hit a beautiful tee shot down the middle of the fairway and followed it up with a hybrid to reach the green in two, leaving himself a 25-foot downhill putt.

His putt on the 17th was longer than the one he had just missed on No. 18, but he drained it for an incredible eagle to secure the victory. Kuperman and Netherton both had good looks at birdie on the 17th, but Justus did not allow those to come to fruition.

Justus and Schmitt worked hard to get to the playoff on Sunday. They started their round in the penultimate group, and they both made consecutive pars on the par-5 first hole and the par 3 2nd hole. Justus made a birdie at the par-4 3rd hole, and Schmitt added two straight pars on holes 4 and 5. Both players made birdie at the par-4 6th hole, and Schmitt added another birdie at the par-4 7th hole.

Their lone bogey of the day came on the next hole, the par-5 8th where Schmitt made a six. Justus responded nicely with a birdie at the par-4 9th, and the duo from Baton Rouge made the turn at 3-under par 33. Justus kept the stellar play going to start the back nine, making a par on the 10th hole and a birdie on the par-5 11th hole. They each made par on the next three holes, and Justus added another birdie on the par-3 15th hole.

Schmitt made a birdie on the par-4 16th hole, and they both made birdies on the par-5 17th. Each player made a par on the 18th, bringing their back nine total to 32 and 65 for the day, good enough to force the playoff that they would win.

All three playoff teams played brilliantly on Sunday to put themselves in a position to win in extra holes. Barton and Dereese played with Justus and Schmitt in the final round and went shot-for-shot with the champions, shooting bookend 65's as well. Barton and Dereese are both members at The National GC of Louisiana, and had the advantage playing on their home track. However, a rules infraction may have very well cost them the championship.

Both partners hit a wrong ball on the par-4 11th hole and incurred a two-stroke penalty. Their final round 65 would have been a 63 and good enough for a two- stroke victory.

The 10th hole was the site of another rules infraction that shaped the outcome of the top-5 finishers. Ben Thibeaux and Robert Shelton, both of Lafayette shot a final round 63, the second lowest round of the tournament, and jumped up the leaderboard to finish at 11-under par 133. Their 63 included a two- stroke penalty for being late to the tee (#10), so it would have been an eleven-under par 61. They finished tied for 5th with 2014 LGA Four-Ball Champions Darrell Lakvold of Baton Rouge and Blaine Patin of Greenwell Springs.

Thibeaux and Shelton won the scorecard playoff for the 5th place prize with a last nine holes played total of 29. Alex Burt of Ruston and Clinton Shepard of Baton Rouge finished at 13-under par 131 to take fourth place. The top-5 finishers all received prizes in the form of gift certificates redeemable in the golf shop at The National Golf Club of Louisiana.

The weather was hot again on Sunday in southwest Louisiana, with temperatures in the low to mid-90s and a Heat Index just over 100. There was a slight breeze and a few clouds throughout the day to help cool off LGA 4-Ball competitors. The National Golf Club of Louisiana played to a par 72 at approximately 6,800 yards.

ABOUT THE Louisiana Four-Ball

Field/Format: Limited to the first 80 team entries. All teams will play 36 holes of Four-Ball stroke play (scratch/no handicaps) over two days.

Eligibility: Entries are open to any Louisiana resident (as of at least 90 days prior to the Championship) who is an amateur golfer (as defined by the USGA) holding membership in a LGA Member Club in good standing.

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