Marksville, Louisiana April 28, 2023
Eric Lavespere of Monroe, Louisiana claimed his first Louisiana Senior Amateur Championship title at Tamahka Trails Golf Club on Saturday. Lavespere started the day one back of leader Billy Joe Tolliver of Saint Gabriel, but was able to overcome the one stroke deficit with his patented smooth and consistent play. Lavespere has been chasing this Senior Amateur Championship victory after being in contention in many previous Senior Amateur championships and finishing runner-up in 2020 behind now two-time champion Robby McWilliams of Benton. McWilliams would be in the final grouping with Lavespere in this year’s final round as he set his eye on redemption. It was a competitive battle between the top three players heading into the final round. Tolliver, the leader after 36 holes, and two-time champion McWilliams, were in the final group with Lavespere. McWilliams started the day two shots back and came out to a hot start tying the lead after carding birdies on holes four and five, but then quickly gave the lead right back on holes six and seven. McWilliams, the day one leader, could not overcome the mistakes on six and seven and finished the championship in seventh place. Tolliver and Lavespere battled back and forth for most of the day, but Lavespere’s consistent play and clutch birdies on holes 12 and 13 were the difference in the championship. Impressively, Lavespere was the only player in the entire field who finished the championship under par (-1) as Tamahka Trails was a challenging and true test for the field. When it was all said and done, Lavespere separated himself from the field winning by three strokes with a total one-under par 212. Lavespere, a member of Bayou Desiard Country Club, helped the club secure back to back Senior Amateur Championships from its’ members with Bob Cooper winning in 2022. Tolliver finished Runner-Up with a score of two-over par 215. Rick Hart of Covington and Jason Lewis of Alexandria both had impressive championship performances and final round scores. They would finish the championship tied for third place with a score of three-over par 216. Rounding out the top five on Saturday, with two players tying for fifth, Eddie Seabaugh of Bossier City and Cade Hebert of Abbeville (219).
As mentioned, this year’s Senior Amateur Championship was conducted at Tamahka Trails Golf Club in Marksville, LA, a Steve Smyers design that continued to draw compliments from this field of the top senior players in Louisiana. The par 71 track played at just under 6,600 yards for the final round of this Championship, which was played Saturday under cloudy weather conditions with swirling breezes and light rain in the latter part of the round. The course, which opened in 2000, is considered one of the “best kept secrets in golf in the state of Louisiana” said architect Nathan Crace, ASGCA Member. Tamahka Trails provided a great venue for the Championship. A huge thank you to Manager/Director of Golf, Kevin Michael, Assistant Golf Professional, Ryan Linder, and Head Superintendent, Joel Washburn, for their incredible work and support of the LGA and golf in Louisiana.
Click here to view final results