Fakier Open set to challenge aspiring pros

LHSAA working on compromise plan
April 20, 2016
Colonels ink 2 in Signing Day catch
April 20, 2016
LHSAA working on compromise plan
April 20, 2016
Colonels ink 2 in Signing Day catch
April 20, 2016

Say the name Bubba Watson around a golf fanatic, and you’ll get an immediate reaction.

With his immense power and unique personality, Watson is one of the most marketable players on the PGA Tour – a fast-rising star who is now widely considered to be one of the best golfers in the world.

Golfing folks know all about the car Watson drives, and how he bought the General Lee from an auction in 2012. They’ll also know about his affinity for Waffle House, and how he ate there late in the night after both of his Master’s Titles.

But what the average golf fanatic likely doesn’t know about Watson is that there’s a town in Southern Louisiana that is a large part of the famous golfer’s story. There’s a golf course and tournament in the Pelican State that helped springboard him into the superstardom he now enjoys.

The city would be Houma, Louisiana.

The course would be Ellendale Country Club. And the tournament? Of course, that’d be the Fakier Open – which begins today as part of the Adams Golf Pro Tour Series. It’s an event that is looked forward to annually by both local fans and also organizers with Adams Golf Pro Tour Series, who tout that the Houma event is one of the best tournaments they have all year.

This will mark the 13th-straight year the tournament is in Houma.

“We love you guys,” Adams Golf Pro Tour Series Director Kris Neal said. “There’s a reason why we come back. The people and community there are fantastic, and it’s a great place to have a golf tournament. The players enjoy it, and it’s a great destination.”

The folks on the course can play at a very, very high level. Just look at Watson, who is probably the most famous Adams Golf Pro Tour Series alum.

Watson owned the Houma-Thibodaux’s annual tournament in 2005, blistering the golf course with a birdie barrage to easily outpace the field in a huge win. It was the start of a run for Watson that’s pretty much never stopped, as he’s now a multi-time Major Champion, and has made tens of millions of dollars in purse money throughout his career.

More than 100 golfers are expected to be in the Fakier Open’s 2016 field – each equally hungry to try and use Houma as a springboard to superstardom in the same way that Watson did. It all begins with a Wednesday morning flight, following by an afternoon group.

The field will be trimmed after Thursday’s second round, and the winning golfer will score a $20,000 check for their efforts.

Last year’s champ was Dustin Morris – a Baytown, Texas native who shot 13-under to outlast runner-up Michael Arnaud, who fell three shots behind.

Morris is confirmed to defend his title. Also competing will be 2014 champ Blake Redmond and 2013 champ Lance Lopez.

“It’s a really well-run event,” Lopez said. “This is a stop on the tour that I think a lot of people consider to be one of their favorites. The galleries are good, and the people are down to earth, fun-loving folks. The competition is great. There are always so many great golfers out here. If you like the sport, and want to be around it, you really shouldn’t miss it.”

The price is right, too.

It’s free.

As always the case, there is no admission to get into the Fakier Open. Fans are able to walk around the course freely throughout the four rounds of action.

Neal said that’s par for the course for her tour, which takes pride in creating a golfing experience that fans will enjoy.

Throughout the tournament, there are long drive and closest to the pin competitions to keep fans engaged.

Before the action got rolling, there was also a Pro-Am, a meet and greet and a Junior Clinic, where local children could get hands-on advice and tips from the pros.

“We take pride in that,” Neal said. “Our guys are approachable and friendly. They welcome that interaction. If you go to a bigger tour event, you may only see your favorite player hit two shots in the whole day. Here, you can talk to them, mingle with them and get a chance to pick their brains a little bit about how you can make your own game a little better, as well.”

“Oh, I love it,” Morris said when asked about the fan-friendly feel. “It’s great to be able to give that experience to them. It’s a little different than what you’re used to seeing on TV. We like to be a little more hands-on.”

Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HoumaTimes for daily leaderboard updates.


This past week was horrible for golf with rain soaking the Houma-Thibodaux area throughout the week.

But while rainy weather means golf can’t be played in the present, it sometimes also means that conditions will be gorgeous for low scorers in the future – a formula that should be in existence this week at Ellendale.

In golf, the softer the ground it, the easier it is to control the golf ball. If moisture from the past week’s rain events is still present on the course by the tournament’s start-date, golfers may be able to shoot rounds in the high-to-mid-60s. The course record at Ellendale is a 9-under par 63. That score is owned by who else? Of course, it’s Bubba Watson.

The lowest round at last year’s tournament was an 8-under par 64 orchestrated by Brett Lederer, who finished the tournament third.

“I was just in the zone,” he said after the round. “The conditions were softer, and I was swinging the club so well. I made putts when I needed to, and I am just pleased with my round.”

If the sun shines and dries out the grass, putting will be more difficult, and any round under par will be a championship-caliber round.

Weather Channel forecasts indicate that the early rounds (Wednesday and Thursday) have low chances of rain. But Friday and Saturday after about 50/50 bets.


Ellendale is not an easy course.

In fact, most pros would even concede that it’s pretty darned difficult.

Playing 7,165 yards from the back tees, the course has several long par 4’s that are incredibly difficult to birdie.

Probably the most difficult hole is the closing hole – a 470-yard Par 4 that features a dogleg tee shot and bunker trouble around the greens.

Morris won last year’s tournament, in part because he parred the hole on four-straight days. Those around him at the top of the leaderboard couldn’t say the same – each playing the hole over par.

The key to success at Ellendale is to own the Par 5’s – the place where the most birdies are usually found.

The easiest statistical hole on the course is No. 16 – a 489-yard Par 5 that the pros routinely birdie throughout the week.

Also considered ‘birdie holes’ are No. 3 and No. 7 – the lone Par 5’s on the front nine.

In last year’s event, Morris blitzed the Par 5’s, posting an 8-under mark in those holes for the week, including a third-round eagle at No. 3.

In 2014’s win, Redmond was 6-under on the Par 5’s for the week.

“There’s not many birdie holes on the golf course,” Redmond said. “So you have to attack and find a way to score on what few opportunities that you have. You have to find a way to birdie No. 3. Then, you have to birdie No. 16, because you know that the final two holes are very, very tough.”


As always the case, the Fakier Open will generate much-needed money to the Houma-Thibodaux area.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at Terrebonne General Medical Center – a cause that’s received thousands of dollars over the years from the annual golf event.

Neal said the tour is honored to be able to donate back to a worthwhile cause.

She said the people of Houma-Thibodaux deserve any blessing or kind act that it can get.

“It puts the icing on the cake of a great week to be able to get everything organized, but also have a worthwhile cause benefit from it all,” Neal said. “The people in that community are special to us, and we work really hard to make sure that this is a tournament that the people there can enjoy.

“That’s why we keep coming back – because we love it there.”

Fakier Open