Historical oddities

The mildly creepy connection between repeat U.S. Open winners and rising LSU seniors

June 18, 2018
Luis Gagne, Brooks Koepka
Warren Little/Getty Images

You might have heard about the historical oddity that transpired on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills. Walking beside Brooks Koepka as he became the first golfer since Curtis Strange to win back-to-back U.S. Opens was Curtis Strange himself. The World Golf Hall of Famer was following Koepka and Dustin Johnson as an on-course commentator for Fox. When Koepka joined the repeat U.S. Open winner club, Strange was there to give him his introductory hug (the instructions to the secret handshake are in the mail).

You probably did not hear, however, about another historical oddity that transpired on Sunday, one that also involves Koepka and Strange as well as the low amateur at the Open.

Back in 1989, when Strange successfully defended his title at Oak Hill in Rochester, N.Y., the low amateur at the championship was a college golfer Greg Lesher. Lesher was a rising senior on the LSU men’s golf team who shot a 16-over 296 for the championship, finishing in T-63.

Turn the clock forward to this past weekend, and when Koepka successfully defended his title at Shinnecock Hills, one of the two golfers tied for low amateur at the championship was Luis Gagne. Like Lesher, Gagne is a college golf. In fact he too is a rising senior at LSU … who shot 16-over 296 for the championship.

The only thing that would make this more eerie is if Gagne also finished tied for 63rd. Instead he (along with U.S. Mid-Amateur champion Matt Parziale) finished T-48.

If the name Gagne sounds familiar, you might recall that he was involved in another odd situation during local qualifying earlier this spring. Gagne was tied for the final spot out of their qualifier in Florida with Cristian DiMarco (son of former PGA Tour pro Chris DiMarco), but neither were around at day's end to playoff for the spot. Officials thus broke the tie via a coin toss, which Gagne won, sending him off to Sectional Qualifier, where he advanced to compete in the national championship.

(h/t John Florio, Twitter: @greenpond106)

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