BROUSSARD – It has been Acadiana’s premier professional sports event for three decades, and after a 2020 cancellation and a limited event last year, the Chitimacha Louisiana Open presented by MISTRAS will once again bring high-level professional golf to South Louisiana this week.
For its 30th renewal, the Korn Ferry Tour returns to Le Triomphe Golf & Country Club beginning Monday with pro-ams and practice rounds as a field of 144 professionals takes aim at a tournament-record $750,000 purse. More importantly for the Korn Ferry Tour field, success at the Chitimacha Louisiana Open provides the opportunity for advancement to the PGA Tour.
Championship competition begins Thursday over the 7,061-yard par-71 Le Triomphe layout, with the final round of the 72-hole event set for Sunday, March 20, when one winner will receive an all-time-high $135,000 first-place check.
The tournament was cancelled only one week before its March 2020 staging when all major sports were shut down by COVID-19. The event was contested last year, but no fans were permitted to attend due to Tour safety guidelines and all tournament activities outside of championship competition were cancelled. That left only players, caddies and a handful of Tour officials and tournament volunteers on the course last year.
“When people heard that we were having no spectators last year, they told me my job got easier,” said Chitimacha Louisiana Open executive director Danny Jones. “But I would have gladly traded the COVID issues and protocols for spectators any day. It was fun to have golf back last year, but it wasn’t fun to do it without the people and those who have supported us for so long.”
This year, fans will be back as well as all traditional tournament activities, which begin Sunday at 3:30 p.m. with the Cypress Bayou Casino & Hotel $1 Million Hole-in-One Challenge at Le Triomphe’s difficult 8th hole. Approximately 50 local amateurs will each get one shot at a $1 million payoff.
The Lourdes Legacy Tournament, the first of three pro-am events, is at 9 a.m. Monday, and practice rounds are scheduled Monday afternoon and Tuesday. The First National Bank of Jeanerette Pro-Am and the Zurich Classic Pro-Am are Wednesday at 8 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. respectively, before Thursday’s first round of championship play.
The Louisiana Open is the sixth stop on the 26-tournament Korn Ferry Tour and the second U.S.-based event following international events staged in The Bahamas, Panama and Colombia – all of which were cancelled last year. The LECOM Suncoast Classic opened the U.S. portion of the tour Feb. 17-20 in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area, prior to a nearly month-long break that ends with the Acadiana event.
“With that kind of break, we know we’re going to have a strong field,” Jones said. “There won’t be many players with Tour status that aren’t here this week, especially those who have played well through the international events.”
All five previous Korn Ferry Tour winners are in the 136-player field announced Friday, a field that will expand to 144 players with Monday qualifiers. Previous 2022 winners that will go for a second victory this season include Akshay Bhatia at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, Brandon Harkins at The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic, Carson Young at the Panama Championship, Brandon Matthews at the Astara Golf Championship in Bogota, Colombia, and PGA Tour veteran Byeong Hun An at the Suncoast Classic. All five were first-time winners at a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.
Along with that group, three former Louisiana Open champions are in the field, highlighted by 2021 winner Roberto Diaz. The Mexico native and San Antonio resident won last year’s pandemic-limited event, posting an 18-under-par 266 score to win a final-day duel with Peter Uihlein and take the $108,000 top prize.
At the end of the Korn Ferry Tour’s regular-season schedule, 25 PGA Tour cards will be awarded to the top 25 in the Tour points standings. Another 25 PGA Tour cards will be awarded based on results of the three-tournament Korn Ferry Tour Finals in August and September.
The Chitimacha Louisiana Open is one of only three PGA Tour-sanctioned events in Louisiana, along with the PGA Tour’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans April 21-14 at TPC Louisiana in Avondale, and the inaugural Lake Charles Championship on the Korn Ferry Tour which immediately follows the Louisiana Open March 24-27 at the Golden Nugget Country Club.
In addition to bringing championship golf to South Louisiana, the Chitimacha Louisiana Open is one of Acadiana’s biggest supporters of local and regional charities. More than $5 million has been raised for charities and youth groups in the tournament’s first 29 years.
Thursday, March 17 Championship First Round, approximately 7:30 a.m.
Friday, March 18 Championship Second Round, approximately 7:30 a.m. (field cut to low 65/ties)
Saturday, March 19 Championship Third Round, time TBA
Sunday, March 20 Mass, 7 a.m., Le Triomphe clubhouse back veranda
Championship Final Round, time TBA
Trophy and check presentations, 18th green following final round
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