With at least seven former Louisiana State University Tigers in the field at the NGA TOUR’s Texas Honing Open this week at Sterling Country Club, Houston is starting to look a lot more like Baton Rouge.
There would be at least eight former Tigers in the field this week, butJohn Peterson dropped out to play in the Travelers Championship on the PGA TOUR after earning an exemption by way of his T4 finish at the U.S. Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco last week. He will rejoin the NGA TOUR at next week’s Golfcrest Classic, also played in Houston.
Peterson contended until the very end at the U.S. Open, and improved his Official World Golf Ranking by over 500 positions. His hole-in-one at the 180-yard 13th was the shot of the championship and was Peterson’s first hole-in-one. His shot also gave him the No. 1 play on Sports Center’s weekend top-10 plays.
Ken Looper — currently 8th on the NGA TOUR money list — was one of Peterson’s teammates at LSU and sees Peterson’s performance at the U.S. Open as a way to increase his own confidence as a professional.
“He doesn’t beat me every time we play. Obviously he is really good, but he isn’t above and beyond all of us,” Looper said. “It makes me think I can do the same thing.”
Looper and Peterson were both seniors at the same time on LSU’s golf team along with Austin Gutgsell, who is also teeing it up in Houston this week. NGA player Clayton Rotz was also a member of the LSU golf team at the same time.
Watching a former teammate contend at a major championship proved to Looper how small the difference is between playing golf on the NGA TOUR and the highest levels of professional golf.
“The difference between playing at this level and the highest level is so small,” Looper said. “He (Peterson) got an opportunity to go play out there and I didn’t, that’s it.”
Having so many LSU players on the NGA TOUR provides a level of comfort for the former Tigers. But other SEC players, not just former teammates, also bolster that comfort.
“Tyson Alexander played at Florida, Jonathan Randolph played at Ole Miss and Hudson Johnson played at Vanderbilt,” Looper said.
Other former LSU Tigers in the field are Brent Blaum, William Lanier, Jarrod Barsamian and Andrew Loupe.
The first round of the Texas Honing Open will start on Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 a.m.
For Tee Times, visit: http://ngahooters.tourgolfscores.com/gscode/public/tee_times/pairings.cfm?tournament_id=348&rd=1