Louisiana Amateur: Spears wins 2nd straight

ZACHARY, Louis. (July 8, 2011) -- For only the third time in the 54-year history of the Louisiana Golf Association Junior Amateur Championship, there is a repeat winner. Chuck Spears of Pineville went wire-to-wire, leading after every round. He shot four-under par 32 on the front side Friday, then following that up with a two-under 34 on the back to lap the field and finish off a tournament best round of six-under par 66. His total of 12-under par 204 is the best score ever posted in this Championship, which was conducted for the first time in 1958. Spears joins Russ Gaudin of Baton Rouge and Jay Sanders, also of Baton Rouge, as back-to-back winners of this, the most prestigious Junior Championship in the state. Gaudin won the first two years the event was held, in 1958 & 1959, with Sanders taking home Championship hardware in 1987 & 1988. Spears captured the 2010 Championship by two shots last summer at Ellendale Country Club in Houma.

Spears entered the day with a one shot lead and slowly and methodically lengthened the gap between himself and second-place finisher Taylor Billings of Kenner. Birdies on three of the first four holes on Friday created too big a gap for the rest of the field to catch. Another birdie on the par five 6th and eight pars on the backside, coupled with an eagle three on the short par five 11th, brought him in with his bogey-free 66. Billings battled to a two-under par 70 on Friday but, try as he might, he simply couldn’t make up any ground on Spears.

Billings finished at seven-under 209 with Hayden Bigby of Bossier City alone in third after a final round 72 and three-day total of four-under 212. Thirteen-year-old Phillip Barbaree, Jr. of Shreveport finished fourth, shooting a two-under 70 on Friday to card a three-under par total of 213.

The remainder of the Top Ten finishers included: T5. Blake Traweek of Shreveport, 73/214, T5. Blake Caldwell of Ponchatoula, 74/214, 7. Eric Ricard of Shreveport, 69/215, 8. Sam Burns of Shreveport, 68/217, 9. Peyton McCulloch of Zachary, 71/220, and T10. Josh Fullilove of LaRose, 74/221, and T10. Ross Davis of Baton Rouge, 76/221.

Spears joins a select group, including PGA Tour veterans Hal Sutton, David Toms, Willie Wood, and Brain Bateman, as LGA Junior Amateur Champions.

Winners of the first and second flights in the overall championship were: 1st Flight – Adam Galliano of Baton Rouge/225, 2nd Flight – Jesse Hebert of Jennings/236.

This year’s Championship was played at Beaver Creek Golf Club in Zachary, just north of Baton Rouge. The Beaver Creek course played to a par of 72 at approximately 6,750 yards for this field of the best Junior players in the state.

The 2012 LGA Junior Championship will be held at Links on the Bayou in Alexandria with the 2013 Championship slated for TPC Louisiana in New Orleans.

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