By Brian Allee-Walsh, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
AVONDALE, La. -- Though Louisiana native Ken Looper would like to forget the 72nd hole of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, his first event on the PGA TOUR turned out to be quite memorable.
A former standout at the University of New Orleans and LSU, the 23-year-old Looper earned $58,740 after shooting a final-round 71 and finishing in a tie for 21st at 11-under 277 at TPC Louisiana.
And it could have been a bigger pay day.
Sitting at 12 under on the tee box at No. 18, he needed a birdie on the 587-yard, par 5 to climb into the top 10 and earn an invitation to next week's Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte. But it wasn't to be after he blocked his drive into the water.
He went on to post a bogey 6 and walked away wondering what might have been. That errant swing cost him an estimated $50,000, the difference between finishing T21 and T15.
Now it's back to the NGA Hooters Tour for the young man who earned his way into the Zurich Classic through Monday qualifying.
"I was playing well the whole week, all up until the back nine today,'' said Looper, who grew up in Mandeville, La., a suburb about an hour north of New Orleans across Lake Ponchartrain. "This has been a dream come true. I've always wanted to to make my PGA TOUR debut at this golf tournament.
"Moving forward it gives me a lot of confidence that I can play out here. Hopefully, I can get another opportunity to show that I can compete in a future event.''