The Louisiana Champions Invitational golf tournament was first held in May of 2003. The goal of the tournament was to match the top Louisiana players in an 18 hole event at a quality golf course, Tamahka Trails Golf Club in Marksville, La. Twenty-one invites participated in that first tournament. Sponsors from throughout the community supported and financed the original event. In the eleven years since its inception, participation from high school golfers has steadily grown, and the tournament's sponsors come from all over the state. The goals that the founders of the tournament envisioned for the competition have been accomplished:
Promote high school golf in Louisiana.
To reward the players and coaches of high school players for their success that year in an all-star competition.
To give these players exposure to college coaches in an effort for them to continue playing golf at the next level.
To make this tournament the premiere event for high school golf in our state annually.
Some of the other benefits to participating in the Louisiana Champions include a meal held the night before the tournament for the players and their parents, gift bag to each player, lunch the day of the competition, and green fees for their tournament practice round and the day of the tournament.
There have been many milestones achieved since the first year the tournament was held. In 2004, Cox Communications joined the Louisiana Champions as its title sponsor. Their participation helped us to raise the awards we give to the winners of the event to its present level, totaling $2,600. The number of individuals who sponsor the tournament at thirty eight and still growing.
In 2008, two other important goals were reached. First, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association recognized the Louisiana Champions Invitational as their official all-star event for high school golf in the state, joining other sports such as football, basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball that already had all-star events. Also that year, a girl's division was added to the tournament.
To gain an invitation to the tournament, boys must finish in the top six medalist in their respective state tournament while girls must finish in the four. Previous Louisiana Champions winners are: Chris Jordan (Parkview Baptist) 2003, Stephen Smith (St. Thomas More) 2004, Dustin Petit (Hahnville) 2005, Patrick Blount (Cedar Creek) 2006, Greg Berthelot (Catholic B.R.) 2007, Cody Santone (Parkway) 2008, Dillon Robin (Tuerlings Catholic) 2009, Landon Lyons (Episcopal) 2010, Brandon Newton (Cedar Creek), 2011, Eric Ricard (Loyoal Prep) 2012, and Drew Gonzales (St. Thomas More) 2013 & 2016, Jeffrey Berry (C.E. Byrd) 2014, Colin Troxler (Hanhville) 2015.
Girls champions are Heather Lott (St. Joseph's Academy) 2008, Ali Lucas (Notre Dame) 2009 and 2010, Anna McMullen (Neville) 2011, Jennifer Nguyen (Salmen HS) 2012, Angelica Harris (Louise McGehee) 2013, Sydney Cavin (Dunham) 2014, Julia Johnson (East Iberville) 2015, Brooke Duzan (Sulphur) 2016. Over 70 players who have participated in the Louisiana Champions have gone on to play on the collegiate level at such schools as L.S.U., the University of Georgia, McNeese, U.L.-Lafayette, Nicholls State, La. Tech, U.L.-Monroe, La. College and others.
One goal left to achieve is to increase the level of interest of college coaches to attend this event. It can be a great recruiting tool for colleges for three reasons:
First, unlike high school tournaments, Tamahka Trails is set up to college standards, playing at 7,000 yards with a par of 71 for boys and girls at 6,000 yards with a par of 71.
Second, we compile and assemble a program containing all of the personal and academic information of our competitors to give to the coaches.
And last, it gives coaches a chance to see all of the state's best players compete on the same course, under the same conditions. It reduces the need to travel to various places to find players. Coaches can receive a copy of the tournament program by contacting the tournament director.