LSU golfer Pierce victorious at U.S. Amateur qualifier in Alexandria

Published 6:50 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Junior All-American Brandon Pierce became the first LSU Tiger to qualify for the 116th United States Amateur Championship when he fired rounds of 3-under 68 and 5-under 66 on Monday for a 36-hole score of 8-under par 134 and a two-shot victory in the qualifier held at Links on the Bayou in Alexandria.

After wrapping up the first round in a tie for fifth place with his opening score of 68, Pierce carded six birdies with just one bogey in the afternoon for a second-round 66 to finish two shots clear of the field and earn his first ever trip to the U.S. Amateur Championship.

Pierce turned at 3-under par on his front nine with birdies at the par-four second, par-four fourth and par-five seventh holes before getting to 6-under par for his second round with back-to-back birdies at the par-four 10th and 11th holes and a birdie at the par-five 13th. He carded his only bogey of the afternoon at the 15th hole to finish as the qualifying medalist at 5-under par on the round and 8-under par for the day.

Pierce was nearly joined in the U.S. Amateur field by a host of Tiger teammates as two qualifying spots into the championship were up for grabs to the 58 players in Monday’s qualifier. Junior Eric Ricard and sophomore Blake Caldwell tied Louisiana-Lafayette standout Fernando Cruz Valle for second place in stroke play with matching scores of 6-under 136 as Cruz Valle won a playoff in four holes to earn the second spot.

Finishing three shots back in fifth place was LSU freshman Nathan Jeansonne, who posted rounds of 2-under 69 and 3-under 68 to finish the day at 5-under par overall. Caldwell and Jeansonne both prepared for their appearance in Monday’s U.S. Amateur qualifier by placing among the Top 10 on the final leaderboard at the Magnolia Amateur held over the weekend at Hattiesburg Country Club in Mississippi. That’s where they tied one another for eighth place overall with scores of 2-under par 211 in 54 holes.

Former Tiger letterwinner Brandon Aydlett was also in contention for a qualifying spot as he finished in sixth place overall with a 36-hole score of 4-under par 138, including rounds of even-par 71 and 4-under 67.

Pierce is only the first LSU Tiger to qualify for the 116th U.S. Amateur Championship that will be held Aug. 15-21 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. This marks the second time that the course will play host to the event as the U.S. Amateur returns to Oakland Hills Country Club for the first time since 2002 when Ricky Barnes was crowned the U.S. Amateur Champion.

Pierce’s father, Chavgney Pierce, and his grandparents on his father’s side, Huey Pierce and Martha Pierce, are from Bogalusa. His mother, Rebecca Pierce, was an engineer at the Bogalusa paper mill and taught at Bogalusa High School.