MATHEWS, LA (WDAM) – Walker Kesterson medaled and the University of Southern Mississippi had two others finish in the top 10 Saturday as the Golden Eagles men’s golf team opened its spring season by winning the 18-hole La Tour Collegiate Classic.
The Golden Eagles shot 290 over the par-72, 7,120-yard course designed by PGA tour champion David Toms.
Both Southeastern Louisiana University and Nicholls State University shot 297 totals in the one-day event, while the University of New Orleans finished 19 strokes out of the lead in the four-team event.
On a foggy day, playing on a wet course, Kesterson was the lone golfer among the event’s to shoot below par . The junior from Hartsburg, Mont., carded a 3-under-69 to win his first collegiate event.
Sophomore Brian Richards of Gulf Breeze, Fla., finished tied for second with an even-par 72, while freshman Joey Kirkland of West Monroe, La., ended in a ninth-place tie with a 74.
“This is a great start to our spring season,” USM men’s golf coach Eddie Brescher said. “No one on our team had ever seen this course before. To be able to come in here and perform without seeing the course is a testimony to our players’ abilities.”
USM senior Nathan Corchis of Water Sound, Fla., added a 75 to tie for 13th place and sophomore Hunter Atkins of West Point tied for 19th with a 78.
Three other Golden Eagles played as individuals. Freshman Charles-Eric Belanger of (Quebec City, Quebec fired a 76 to place 15th. Senior Derick Kelting of Amarillo, Texas, shot 77 for a 16th-place tie and senior Philip Heine of Madison added a 79 to tie for 24th.
“Since returning to campus, we have played four different golf courses,” Brescher said. “Playing them without seeing them is very important to our players’ development. We practice this as mental prep for when we get on the road and today it paid off with a win.”
The Golden Eagles return to action on Feb. 11-12 to play in the Mobile (Ala.) Sports Authority Intercollegiate at the RTJ Magnolia Grove.