Reigning Champions Connor Cassano and Jacob Blanton Secure Back-to-Back Victory at 6th Annual Sam Burns Junior Four-Ball Championship

February 26, 2024 | Maili Bartz

A look into the final round of the 6th Annual Sam Burns Junior Four-Ball Championship held at Squire Creek Country Club in Choudrant, Louisiana on Sunday, February 25, 2024.  

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100 players competed in the final round of the Louisiana Junior Golf Tour’s 6th Annual Sam Burns Junior Four-Ball Championship. Tee times began this morning at 8:00 AM off the 1st and 10th tee. The course played to a par 72 at 6,700 yards for the Overall Boys Division and approximately 5,700 yards for the Overall Girls and Boys 11-13 Division.

Choudrant, LA – Following an intense final round at Squire Creek Country Club, Connor Cassano of Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jacob Blanton of West Point, Mississippi, reaffirmed their champion status by claiming victory once more at the 6th Annual Sam Burns Junior Four-Ball Championship.

The reigning champions showcased their exceptional skill and unwavering resolve throughout the tournament, resulting in a repeat triumph. Their championship performance, consisting scores of 65 and 69 in the first and second rounds respectively, showed their mastery of the course and their ability to handle pressure-packed situations.

Today’s victory, however, was hard-fought and closely contested. Locked in a tight battle with runner-up finishers Kyle Traub of New Orleans, Louisiana and Niel Philips of Metairie, Louisiana, the two teams traded positions throughout the round, with the lead constantly shifting. Traub and Phillips started the final round 3 shots back and at one point in the round took a two stroke lead. It wasn’t until the 17th hole that Cassano’s clutch birdie propelled their team to a one-stroke advantage, setting the stage for a thrilling finish..

As the tension rose and spectators eagerly awaited on the 18th hole, Cassano and Blanton maintained their composure, ultimately finishing the round at 10-under par. Their top-notch performance secured them the title once again, while Philips and Traub concluded their round at 9-under par, a commendable second place finish.

In a testament to the caliber of competition, third place was claimed by the talented duo of Caden Lester from Bastrop, Louisiana, and Ethan Whitaker from Powell, Tennessee. Their impressive performance resulted in a scorecard playoff victory against Austin Hofferkamp of Tomball, Texas, and Marek Fleming of Woodlands, Texas after finishing at 7-under par.

Harper Hinckley of McComb, MS and Eliza Yelverton of West Point, MS defeated the Overall Girls field in dominating fashion. The Mississippi natives defeated Krysta Loftin of Pearland, TX, and Mattie Purgahn of Lake Charles, LA with a total to par score of ten-under to win the Girls’ Championship. Hinckley and Yelverton shot impressive rounds of seven-under par (65) and three-under par (69). Loftin and Purgahn finished their championship at a respectable two-under carding rounds of (69) and (73) and would finish runner-ups for the second year in a row. 2023 defending champions Maci Williams of Brusly, LA and Evelynn Artieta of Denham Springs, LA finished in solo third place at even par for the championship.

Madden Baughman of Poplarville, MS and Owen Lejeune of Baton Rouge, LA completed their come from behind victory after being two shots back going into the final round. Baughman and Lejeune birdied holes 17 and 18 to tie the current leaders, which would eventually be the difference and give them a one stroke lead to help them become the 11-13 Boys’ Division champions. The champions would card rounds of two-under par (70) and three-under par (69). Mason and Luke An of Houston, TX would finish the championship tied for second, but would take the runner-up position in back to back years after a scorecard playoff. The An brothers would card rounds of two-under par (70) in both rounds. Augustin Gros of Metairie, LA and Bryant Yelverton of West Point, MS would finish in third place after losing the scorecard playoff to the An’s by a mere two strokes. Gros and Yelverton started the day as leaders after round one but couldn’t keep their hot pace from day one. 

Conditions were again perfect on Sunday in Choudrant, LA, with temperatures reaching the mid 70’s and sunshine. The Tom Fazio designed Squire Creek Country Club drew excellent reviews from competitors, parents, and spectators. The Squire Creek course played to a par of 72 at approximately 6,700 yards on Sunday for the Overall Boys competition and 5,500 yards for the Girls and 11-13 Boys. The greens were pure and in excellent condition. 

The Louisiana Junior Golf Tour wants to again extends its’ appreciation to Squire Creek Country Club for opening up their first-class facilities and to Sam Burns for his support in organizing this event. We also would like to thank our presenting sponsor, Origin Bank, for their support of this championship and their investment into the junior golfers in Louisiana and surrounding regions.

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Maili Bartz

Director of Marketing and Communications