April 22, 2014
By D.J. Piehowski, PGATOUR.COM
- Andrew Loupe grew up in Louisiana and played his college golf at LSU. (Carroll/Getty Images)
AVONDALE, La. – Andrew Loupe earned his PGA TOUR card at last year’s Web.com Tour Finals. He’s not really focusing on keeping it.
“That’s not the goal,” Loupe said Tuesday at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. “The goal is to be the most improved player, to be looked at like, ‘Hey, this guy is the most improved over the past month.’ If you continue to do that, that’s a very good thing to strive for.”
Loupe had plenty of room for improvement and he’s taken advantage of it. After starting his rookie season with five consecutive missed cuts, he cashed his first check at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (T27) and has been solid since. He even played his way into the final group at the Valero Texas Open and posted his first career top-10 finish to climb inside the top 125 in the FedExCup standings.
“I think early in the year you feel like you’re just not going to have a chance with the reshuffle and all that,” said Loupe, whose place on the Web.com Tour Finals money list left him low on the priority ranking to start the 2013-14 season. “It maybe makes you push it a bit.”
With each week on TOUR, Loupe’s self-confidence has grown and he’s gotten more comfortable, just in time for his hometown event at TPC Louisiana, where he’s played junior events since he was 17. The 25-year-old played his college golf at LSU and grew up in nearby Baton Rouge, where he still resides. He said he’s tried to get out to play at least one round at TPC Louisiana each week he’s been home this year.
The Zurich Classic was the also site of his first PGA TOUR event. Loupe Monday qualified for the event in 2011 and missed the cut.
“I was probably a little over-amped and under prepared,” he said. “What did I learn from that week? Man. That golf is hard.”
Without a doubt, Loupe will have the standard pressures that come with a hometown event (he isn’t the only one; college teammates John Peterson and Ken Looper are also in the field). Before his trip to the interview room his mom had asked him for a parking pass. After, he was on his way to “finagle a few extra tickets” for friends and family. But the former all-state basketball player has no anxiety about playing in front of crowds.
“It’s a rush. When I played basketball, it was equally as fun for me to play on the road as it was to play at home,” he said. “Hopefully there will be a ton of people out here. You grow up dreaming about the big finish and making the putt on the last hole in front of a huge crowd.”
The crowd will be there all week. The rest is up to Loupe.