AVONDALE, La. — First-round leader Marcus Byrd birdied the par-5 18th hole with a four-foot putt to edge Rafa Guerrero Lauria by a single stroke and claim his first professional title at APGA Tour New Orleans on the prestigious TPC Louisiana layout Tuesday.
The 23 year-old Nashville resident survived a double-bogey on the 10th hole and seven consecutive mid-round birdies by Guerrero Lauria, whose six-under 66 was the round of the day. Playing with Byrd in the final group, Guererro Lauria bested par on 8 through 14 to pull into a tie for the lead with four holes to play. Byrd took a one stroke lead with a tap-in birdie on 15 and then secured the win when both players birdied the final hole.
Byrd closed out the two-day tournament with an 11-under 133 after taking a four-stroke lead into the final round, thanks to an opening 64 on the prestigious 7,400-yard par 72 layout. Guerrero Lauria, the 31 year-old Venezuelan who played golf at UNC Charlotte and is a veteran of PGA TOUR Latinoamerica, was his country’s top-ranked amateur in 2006 and a member of the amateur national team until 2012 before turning pro. His previous top finishes on the APGA Tour were sixth at both APGA Tour Black History Month Classic in February and at APGA Tour Louisville last week.
Byrd’s triumph in only his sixth APGA Tour event halted the two-tournament winning streak of Shreveport’s Ryan Alford, who finished 10th with a three-under 141. Willie Mack took third with a six-under 141 and now heads to the Korn Ferry Tour’s BMW Charity Pro-Am as a sponsor exemption June 10-13 in South Carolina.
A prominent young player who starred at Middle Tennessee St. and competed in the 2020 U.S. Amateur, Byrd started in golf with First Tee of Greater Washington D.C. at the age of seven. He carved out a distinguished junior career, including winning the George State Junior Championship in 2013 before earning Conference USA Player of the Year plaudits as a senior at Middle Tennessee St.
“I’m happy with the way I kept my composure. When a guy makes seven birdies in a row, it gets disconcerting,” stated Byrd, who took home the winner’s purse of $7,500. “I was able to play the best golf I could to get it done, so that’s good.”
“I was trying to just keep hitting good shots to see what would happen,” offered Guerrero Lauria, who was six strokes back at the turn. “I was having a lot of fun in that stretch.”
Tied for fourth at five-under 139 were Patrick Newcomb of Jacksonville, Trey Valentine of Melbourne, Landon Lyons of Baton Rouge, Michael Herrera of Moreno Valley, California and Wyatt Worthington of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Kevin Hall of Cincinnati finished ninth at 140 and Tommy Schaff of Ridgeland, South Carolina, tied with Alford for 10th place at three-under 141.
The APGA Tour is back in action July 18-20 with APGA Tour Deere Run at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois. It is the ninth event on the 2021 schedule of 13 events offering $350,000 in prize money. All activities in New Orleans were conducted under social distancing and health/safety guidelines in conjunction with regional authorities.
2021 RESULTS TO DATE
Jan. 28 APGA Tour at Crossings at Carlsbad
The Crossings at Carlsbad, Carlsbad, CA
- Co-Winners: Michael Herrera, Landon Lyons
Jan. 30 APGA Tour Farmers Insurance Open Invitational
Torrey Pines North, La Jolla, CA
- Winner: Landon Lyons
Feb. 19-21 APGA Tour Black History Month Classic
PGA Golf Club, Port St. Lucie, FL
- Winner: Jarred Garcia
March 21-23 APGA Tour at World Golf Village
World Golf Village, St. Augustine, FL
- Winner: Rovonta Young
April 11-13 APGA Tour Las Vegas
TPC Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV
- Winner: Kamaiu Johnson
April 18-20 APGA Tour Scottsdale
TPC Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ
- Winner: Ryan Alford
May 23-25 APGA Tour Louisville
Valhalla Golf Club, Louisville, KY
- Winner: Ryan Alford
May 31-June 2 APGA Tour New Orleans
TPC Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
- Winner: Marcus Byrd