College Men

Freshman Luis Gagne overcomes wrist injury to excel for LSU this spring

Luis Gagne, pictured at the 2014 Junior PGA Championship
Luis Gagne, pictured at the 2014 Junior PGA Championship ( PGA of America )

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Still wearing tape on his right wrist, Luis Gagne was glad to be back on the golf course representing his LSU Tigers.

Gagne, a freshman from Orlando, Fla., missed most of his first semester after developing tendonitis in the wrist, and then struggled to crack the Tigers' lineup to begin the spring.

But Gagne returned to action last week at the Valspar Collegiate in Palm City, Fla., and tied for third in what was just his second career start.

"It feels good," Gagne said after his final round at Floridian Golf Club. "I had to sit out basically all fall, didn't pick up a club for two months. … It was disappointing not being able to travel with the team, but I kept my head down and kept practicing. I knew I was playing good."

Now, Gagne has his first college victory after sharing medalist honors with teammates Zach Wright and Eric Ricard at the Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge, La. (LSU won the team title by 25 shots.)

Gagne shot 73-70 to finish at 1-under 143 at LSU's home event. It was a far cry from Gagne's first start, at the Carpet Capital last September, when he shot 78-75-76 to finish T-45.

"I feel like I've grown a lot and I've definitely gotten better," Gagne said.

Of course, right after the Carpet Capital, Gagne started experiencing pain in his right wrist. He twice got a shot in the wrist, but that didn't fix the issue. Finally, the pain was too much.

"A week before our next tournament, I was playing 18 and I was chipping before and my wrist was hurting," Gagne said. "I went to go play the front nine and I was like, 'This really hurts,' so I had to shut it down."

Gagne didn't start hitting balls again until Thanksgiving break. He then had to stay back as his teammates made trips to The Prestige at PGA West and the Querencia Cabo Collegiate earlier this spring. The Tigers won The Prestige by breaking the school scoring record for 54 holes.

"When you go out and break an all-time scoring record at a school that's been around as long as LSU has, it's really hard to change the lineup," LSU head coach Chuck Winstead said. "Certainly Luis has been playing well and I've wanted him to play. We want all of our guys experienced and to see how they play when the lights come on."

The lights are on for Gagne right now, and he's certainly making the most of it.

Golfweek.com readers: We value your input and welcome your comments, but please be respectful in this forum.