Ben Taylor

LSU golfer Ben Taylor attempts to reach the green against Georgia in 2015.

Former LSU golf standout Ben Taylor posted rounds of 68, 69, 69 and 68 in a runner-up finish at the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship on Aug. 15-18 at the Ohio State University Golf Club.

With his runner-up finish, Taylor secured his PGA Tour card for the 2019-20 season and will join Sam Burns (2015-2017) and Smylie Kaufman (2010-2014) as former Tigers on the professional circuit.

“It feels amazing,” Taylor said in an interview on pgatour.com. “It’s funny, when you see guys get their card, and they don’t know what to say. I’m sort of in that same boat right now.”

Like various other former Tigers, Taylor is having success at the professional level and will now be able to showcase his game on golf’s greatest stage. Getting players to the PGA Tour is part of the goal for LSU golf coach Chuck Winstead. Winstead works with his assistant coaches to develop a plan to help each individual golfer reach the highest level of golf competition.

The coaches measure players’ averages at the time they arrive and compare them to professional averages on the PGA Tour. It’s a plan that seems to have worked, as LSU golf has built a national brand off its success.

In 2015, Taylor and the Tigers claimed their fifth national championship in a dramatic win over Southern California. In 2016, Kaufman was matched with three-time major winner Jordan Spieth in the final pairing of the Masters.

Last year, LSU advanced to the NCAA Championship round for the eighth time in the last 10 seasons. Consistency has been the name of the game, but a new year full of challenges has dawned for a young group of Tigers.

“We’re young in some areas,” Winstead said. “We want to try to play with toughness and discipline and create a culture about the type of team we want to become this year.”

The Tigers may be young, but senior leader Philip Barbaree provides a ton of experience and maturity for this team. Barbaree was recently named to the Haskins Award watch list, given annually to the nation’s premier collegiate golfer.

“There’s no question having a player of [Philip’s] stature is tremendous for our program,” said Winstead. “The way he goes about his business is

second-to-none.”

The Tigers will begin its season next week at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate Tournament from Sept. 13-15 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Load comments