LSU Men's Golf Team (LSU Athletics Photo)
In a wave of LSU birdies – 60 of them over three days at Dalhousie Golf Club in Cape Girardeau, Missouri – the two Cohen Trolio made first thing Tuesday morning were a couple of the most important.
Facing two holes to close his second round on Tuesday morning in the Golfweek Collegiate Kickoff, Trolio birdied both, “which helps just in general with the whole vibe of the team,” said LSU head coach Chuck Winstead. By the end of the day, the Tigers were carting off a team trophy in their first start of the season.
Nine of 12 teams in the field had to pack it up early on Monday, their first 36-hole day of the fall season, when lightning forced play to be called early in the evening. LSU had an eight-shot lead on Stetson by that point. They slept on it, came back to Dalhousie on Tuesday morning and after a 2-over final-round score, finished at 20 under for the tournament. LSU held off a charge from Missouri to win by seven shots.
“It was a good step for our team,” Winstead said, “and everybody played a role. That’s good to see this early in the year.”
To Winstead’s point, LSU’s low score in the final round came from freshman Jay Mendell. The Tigers’ other new man in the lineup, fifth-year senior Alex Price, won the individual title by a shot. Trolio, of course, bridged the momentum from rounds two to three, logging a top-5 finish individually in the process.
This early in the season, college golf coaches are still in the learning phase. Winstead spent the weekend getting to know the two new men in his lineup a little better. Price arrived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, after four standout years at Christopher Newport, which competes in NCAA Div. III. After opening rounds of 65-66, Price closed with a 2-over 74 on Tuesday and won his first Division I start. As Winstead noted, what else needs to be said about that?
“He had a big lead, and that’s not always easy to play with, and it came down to the last hole, it always does. The obvious thing was he birdied No. 16, he made a really good par on 17 which was one of the harder holes out there today with the hole location, and then grinded out a par on 18 but looked the whole time like he never lost his composure,” Winstead said. “That speaks volumes for who I think he is, and we’ll find out more with the rest of the season.”
As for Mendell, Winstead spent most of Monday watching the newcomer from Lafayette, Louisiana, and loved what he saw. Mendell offered a counting LSU score every round, but on Tuesday, his 3-under 69 led the team. He tied for 10th individually.
Winstead sees similarities between Mendell and past Tigers, who have found success at LSU and beyond.
“He hits the golf ball really well, and he’s not afraid to be coached into the correct numbers and the correct lines,” Winstead said, “and that’s not something that I necessarily would have known until we got into a tournament.”
In the Missouri huddle, new head coach Glen Millican is doing quite a bit of learning about his lineup, too. Millican only beat his players to campus by a couple of weeks this fall, having taken the Missouri job after spending the past 22 seasons as the head men’s coach at New Mexico.
Millican’s men made a run at LSU on Tuesday, going 8 under in the final round. That was the best score of the day by 10 shots.
Missouri senior Jack Lundin had a birdie putt on the 18th hole to tie Price for individual honors but made par there to finish at 10 under, one back. The Tigers also got a top 10 out of sophomore Alfons Bondesson.
“It’s been a little chaotic to start for us as a program with so many changes being made late and so many new things going on for all of us,” Millican said. “Our guys have done an excellent job preparing themselves, and it showed by the way they played solid all three rounds.”
ABOUT THE Golfweek Collegiate Kickoff
54 hole men's college tournament hosted by
Golfweek. Team (best four scores out of five players
each round) and individual competitions.
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