McWilliams, Loupe, Yates, and Thornton Qualify for 2024 U.S. Open Sectional Play at Ellendale Country Club

May 11, 2024 | Maili Bartz

A look into the 2024 U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Ellendale Country Club in Houma, Louisiana on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

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78 players competed in this year’s 2024 U.S. Open Local Qualifier. This morning’s tee times begin at 8:00 AM off the 1st and 10th tee. The course played to a par 72 at approximately 6,626 yards for this qualifier.

Houma, LA – It was a beautiful day down in Houma, but it was also very windy, making the course play tough for a lot of people. With four open spots and two alternates to be sent to sectional qualifying, the four lucky players heading home with a ticket after 18 holes are Noah McWilliams of Benton, Louisiana, Andrew Loupe of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lance Yates of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Brad Thornton of Lucedale, Mississippi.

Starting with McWilliams, Noah had an immaculate round today, shooting a low score of 67, also earning him the low medalist title out of the entire field. McWilliams had four birdies, with three being on the front nine and one on the back nine. Next up was Andrew Loupe who finished at 3-under par, 68, with a scorecard showing six birdies, one bogey, and one double bogey to round out his scorecard. Then we had Lance Yates claim the third spot after shooting a one-under par, 70, with a scorecard containing three birdies and two bogeys. There will be a lot of celebrating going on in Baton Rouge this evening with this group of three taking home their ticket to sectional qualifying.

Last but most certainly not least, claiming the final qualifying spot is Mr. Brad Thornton of Lucedale, Mississippi. After finishing 18 holes tied at even par along with Peyton Wilholt of Bryant, Arkansas, Malan Potgieter of South Africa, and JT Griffin of Wilson, North Carolina. With only one qualifying spot and two alternates to fill, all four players headed to the 18th hole of Ellendale Country Club for a playoff. Potgieter and Wilholt both bogeyed, leaving Thornton and Griffin to vie for the last spot. It took 2 more rounds on 18 to declare a winner, but after a three-putt from Griffin at the very end, Mr. Brad Thornton was given the last qualifying spot. It was truly incredible golf to watch. Wilholt was then named first alternate, and after winning in a playoff hole over on hole one of Ellendale, Potgieter was named second alternate.

The Louisiana Golf Association would like to thank Ellendale Country Club and its staff for their hospitality this past week and to all the players who entered into today’s qualifier.

The Louisiana Golf Association (LGA), a cornerstone of the state’s golfing community since 1920, remains steadfast in its commitment to promoting amateur golf. With a robust offering of championships, USGA qualifiers, and comprehensive services, the LGA proudly serves over 200 member clubs and 17,000 individual members statewide.

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Maili Bartz
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