Ainley relishes pro tourney win

For all we know, Richard Ainley's celebration may still be going.

How much did the former University of Louisiana golfer enjoy winning his first professional tournament in the U.S. over the weekend?

Put it this way ... he has no idea where his cell phone is.

"I have no clue where it is," Ainley said from a borrowed phone Monday. "I'm still trying to recover right now."

Ainley deserves to cut loose, after leading every round and winning the Tight Lies Tour's Sprint PCS Open in Hattiesburg, Miss., in a playoff Sunday. The title, his first in this country since finishing his college career in 2001, earned him a $20,000 paycheck enough to cover a new phone.

"It was such a relief," he said. "The last couple of weeks I'd been playing well, and I came close to qualifying for a couple of (PGA and Nationwide) Tour events in the Monday qualifying. I'd been right there, so close but yet so far."

Ainley, the 2000 Sun Belt Conference medalist, threw a five-under 67 at the 150-player field in Thursday's opening round over the short-but-tight Shadow Ridge Golf Course and led throughout the first two rounds.

"I had two bogeys and two three-putts the first round and still led," he said, "and I finished birdie-eagle (for a 69) on Friday so I was feeling pretty good."


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Dan McDonald
dmcdonald@lafayette.gannett.com