Lacoste’s upset bid of Sandefur falls short at Mid-Am

Todd Lacoste doesn’t play much golf anymore. Up until this spring, he hadn’t played in a tournament in seven years.

The 52-year-old was busy competing in triathlons during that time, something he got into back when he lived in The Woodlands, Texas. He started off with running, then made a transition to swimming before finally buying a bike. Before long, he was competing in the Iron Man.

“I just kind of got sucked into that,” Lacoste said.

Golf was always Lacoste’s first love, however. He picked up the game at 7 years old and went to college on a golf scholarship. But several years away from playing tournament golf still takes its toll, no matter how long you’ve played the game. Add in a job and a family with two kids, ages 11 and 7, and it has been difficult for Lacoste to dedicate enough time to sharpening his game.

“Golf’s really my passion,” Lacoste said. “I’d rather spend my time now trying to play golf, even though I probably only play about once a month unfortunately.”

At the Spring Championship in March at Morris Williams Golf Course, Lacoste shot rounds of 88 and 87.

He shot an 84 a month ago in a qualifying round for the Austin Mid-Am to barely sneak into the match play portion of the tournament. Entering Friday’s round of 32 at Jimmy Clay Golf Course, he faced a tall task against Barrett Sandefur, the tournament’s No. 1 seed and the defending champion.

But there was Lacoste on the 14th tee on Friday afternoon with a 1-up lead over the 35-year-old Sandefur.

Sandefur held a 1-up lead through 11 holes, but then things started to fall apart. He pushed his tee shot way right into the trees at the par-3 12th, making double bogey to lose the hole. A costly three-putt bogey at the par-4 13th put Sandefur 1 down, the first time he had trailed all day.

But a few miscues down the stretch caused Lacoste’s upset bid to slip away. He double bogeyed the par-3 14th to lose the lead. With the match all square at the par-5 16th, Lacoste went for the green in two. But he pulled his approach shot left into the water and lost the hole to fall 1 down again.

Sandefur closed things out at the par-4 17th with a par to win the hole and take the match, 2 and 1.

“At least I made him earn it,” Lacoste said. “I played pretty well. Unfortunately I stumbled there at the end, but I’m happy that I played well.

“I was confident. I hit a lot of good shots all day long. I didn’t putt very well. It seemed like every time I missed the green I didn’t get it up and down. My short game’s not very sharp. My long game was pretty good. It’s just unfortunate that I couldn’t close him out.”

Despite the close loss, Lacoste still gave the defending champion much more than he wanted to handle on Friday afternoon at Jimmy Clay.

“Mentally, I came into it thinking probably the wrong thoughts to be honest,” Sandefur said. “But (Lacoste) gave me a run for his money. He played awesome.”

Sandefur moves on to face 17th-seeded Michael Goldwater during Saturday morning’s round of 16.

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