Phillip Hoffpauir

Phillip Hoffpauir shakes the hand of Shane Fontenot after winning the Lake Charles Toyota City Championship at Mallard Cove on Sunday.

LAKE CHARLES — The usual gaggle of spectator carts was haphazardly bobbing and weaving and re-beering around the final two groups of the Lake Charles Toyota city golf tournament late Sunday at Mallard Cove golf course.

Little did they know that the winner was already in the clubhouse.

Phillip Hoffpauir had heard rumors, but even he didn’t really trust the information that his bogey-free, final-round 6-under 66 would be enough to rally from six shots back to claim his fourth city title but his first this century.

“Is that crazy,” he said after finishing at 3-under 213 for the 54-hole tournament to leap-frog seven other golfers on the last day.

Perhaps it was nuts. Still, he had told his family before leaving the house Sunday that “I’m going to go shoot 65 and win the city tourney.”

The wife and daughter laughed at him.

“I think even the dog snickered,” he said. “I didn’t even believe it myself because I don’t shoot 65 very often. But 66 turned out to be enough.”

Barely. And he needed help in what was presumed to be the final time the city tournament will be played at Mallard before it closes and the city gets a new course.

But Sunday the early leaders went through various stages of golf mischief on the back nine before second-round co-leader Hank Shaheen — the reigning state mid-amateur champion — managed to complete a 73 to finish a shot behind.

Bottom line: Hoffpauir was the only golfer to break par Sunday.

Matt Nicholas, whom Hoffpauir joined as a four-time winner — the second-most all time — tied for third with seven-time champion Billy Gabbert at 1-under for the tournament.

Nicholas actually got to 5-under par for the tournament through 10 holes Sunday, but it all unravelled after a wayward tee shot against a tree on the par-3 11th forced him to take a left-handed shot with a long iron. His club caught a sprig of grass and led to a rare whiff in the championship flight and a double bogey.

It’s not the kind of shot you practice. And maybe practice really does make perfect.

Don’t tell his usual golf gang at Gray Plantation, but Hoffpauir was spotted at the Gray practice range at 7 a.m. Sunday.

“I was there Saturday morning, too,” he admitted. “The last three days I snuck out there and ‘grinded.’ Our golf group, you can’t grind, that’s a sin, bad karma if they see you out there practicing. So I had to go early so nobody could see me.”

In marked contrast to his last city title, that Gray gang of his was about the only fans who saw him complete Sunday’s tournament-winning round. In 1999, the final green was overflowing with spectators when he bombed home a 64-foot, 3-inch eagle putt to beat Gabbert by a stroke.

Hoffpauir suspects the handful on hand Sunday were there out of morbid curiosity.

“I kept asking them why are y’all following me,” he said. “They were secretly waiting on the explosion.”

They were too late. That came Friday when, as Hoffpauir said, “I three-putted a lot of holes coming in and turned a 68 or 69 into a 73.”

It also turned his driver and putter into unusable utensils — Hoffpauir will appreciate the winner’s gift shop credit as much as the trophy after breaking two clubs.

“The driver was an innocent bystander,” he said. “It was a good tee shot (on No 18) but I was just venting from earlier. When I three-putted the last hole, the putter took a dive ... but it was a cheap putter.”

He followed the 73 with a Saturday 74 that somehow left all his clubs intact.

The thrill seekers in his cozy gallery would come away disappointed Sunday.

“They got to see it on Friday and I guess they were waiting on it today,” Hoffpauir laughed. “But I played too good.”

While the leaders back yonder were making a mess of the backside, Hoffpauir caught fire after making the turn in 2-under. He then birdied No. 10, No. 12 and No. 14 before “maybe the luckiest par I’ve ever made on No. 15.”

“That got me pretty deep under par,” he said, admitting it was the first time he thought about maybe winning the tournament.

The loyal Gray gang riding side-saddle with him also got curious and the group text messages starting flying with updates on the carnage behind them.

“It was hard to know because our group can give bad information ... you can’t trust anybody,” he said.

After a birdie on 18 to complete the 66, he was on the chipping green, anticipating a playoff, when it became official to join his championships in 1999, 1998 and 1992.

“This is probably the best one,” Hoffpauir said. “I practiced a lot. Probably wasn’t working on the right things, still I practiced. But to be almost 50 years old (this December) and to beat the best players in this city ... it doesn’t happen often and probably won’t happen too often again.

“But I’ll take it when I can get it.”

Sunday’s final round scores from the Lake Charles Toyota City Golf Championship at the par 72 Mallard Cove golf course. 

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT

Phillip Hoffpauir73-74-66—213

Hank Shaheen75-66-73—214

Matt Nicholas72-70-73—215

Billy Gabbert76-67-72—215

Doug Quienalty68-73-75—216

Reid Giardina74-72-73—219

Shane Fontenot73-74-75—222

Logan Kuehn74-73-75—222

Neithan Allen72-73-78—223

Channing Kile76-71-79—226

Zac Barton77-73-76—226

Gage Primeaux71-72-84—227

Shane Heinen77-73-79—229

Jason Horn78-74-79—231

Kade Hagan83-68-81—232

FIRST FLIGHT

Blake Dereese71-83-72—226

Thad Gaspard80-75-72—227

Jevon Perry77-76-77—230

John Morrissey78-76-76—230

Nick Sonnier76-79-75—230

Donny Abshire82-73-77—232

Jordan Derouen82-74-77—233

David Martin80-79-75—234

Brian Larocca80-77-78—235

Scott Hall81-75-81—237

Connor Castille82-83-75—240

Chris Hood80-83-84—247

Jaxon Caldwell94-83-89—266

Chris Boos77-WD

Ric Speights78-WD

SECOND FLIGHT

Dave Huber77-75 —152

Billy Spees77-77 —154

Scott Quick73-82 —155

Bill Stevens74-81 —155

Derek Fontenot77-78 —155

Austin O’Quinn78-78 —156

Troy Higginbotham75-85 —160

Sam Smith77-84 —161

Brett Ardoin78-83 —161

Dustin Ratliff82-81 —163

Steve Welling79-86 —165

Kevin Primeaux86-79 —165

Scott Hudson81-86 —167

Richard Martin80-88 —168

Terry Hagen82-87 —169

Collin Castille92-77 —169

THIRD FLIGHT

Jim Taylor75-75 —150

Tyler Richard76-79 —155

Chance Terrell78-79 —157

Zack Eisner77-81 —158

Buddy Burks75-84 —159

Chance Curlee81-78 —159

Billy Kitley78-83 —161

Brian Soram79-82 —161

Scott Theriot82-79 —161

Minh Nguyen79-83 —162

Mike Beglis76-90 —166

Russell Montiville81-88 —169

Kevin Weise85-84 —169

Vic Montgomery88-90 —178

Jake Daughenbaugh94-86 —180

Hunter Thornton91-93 —184

FOURTH FLIGHT

William Weise71-82 —153

Kevin Cart73-80 —153

Zach Vincent82-79 —161

Todd Mathis77-86 —163

Matt Gillespie78-85 —163

Andrew Worley79-84 —163

Trey Miller80-83 —163

Mitch Eubanks82-82 —164

Sam Powell86-78 —164

Austin DeReese86-79 —165

Ian James82-84 —166

Keith Nugent81-86 —167

Billy Creel81-87 —168

Joe Underwood83-85 —168

Logan Trimm83-89 —172

Brian Bernhardt85-87 —172

David Moore91-87 —178

Mike Yochum89-WD

FIFTH FLIGHT

Noah Hinton80-76 —156

Ricky Norwood75-84 —159

Dwayne Hightower77-82 —159

Jeff Harper80-79 —159

Jeff Ardoin76-84 —160

Ken Alexander80-80 —160

Sandy Woods79-83 —162

Marc Lucas85-78 —163

David Durzan79-86 —165

Shawn Fontenot80-87 —167

Randy Billedeaux84-83 —167

Brock Smith84-84 —168

Jack Fontenot93-81 —174

Steve Springer92-89 —181

Jonathan Courville93-90 —183

SIXTH FLIGHT

Brad Evans81-82 —163

Hoss Brown83-85 —168

Douglas Hartsfield81-88 —169

Chad Langley85-85 —170

Aaron Touchstone84-89 —173

Chris Fontenot87-87 —174

Joey Adaway91-86 —177

Brent Soileau92-85 —177

Karl Bertrand85-94 —179

Cole Bergeron86-93 —179

Mike Fontenot89-92 —181

Huey Hebert92-90 —182

Zack Hagen92-93 —185

Michael Carter93-92 —185

John Ieyoub95-90 —185

Kerry Joseph90-97 —187

SEVENTH FLIGHT

Greg Norsworthy85-78 —163

Logan Landry83-85 —168

Mike Fusilier83-92 —175

Bryon Stevens86-95 —181

Carl Cole89-94 —183

Michael Walker92-91 —183

Clay Hill94-89 —183

Vince Castille90-96 —186

Ty Simon97-91 —188

Curtis Cole96-95 —191

Thomas Simon93-99 —192

Dennis Verrette91-102 —193

Ted Dupin94-100 —194

Pat Verrette99-95 —194

Chad Scott Smith100-98 —198

Jarrod Durflinger89-112 —201

SENIOR FLIGHT ONE

Mac Blanchard78-70 —148

Bill Perkins79-71 —150

Bryan Ballard79-77 —156

Scott Lominac81-76 —157

Randy Tadlock79-79 —158

Jerry Bonvillian82-80 —162

Charlie Buller78-85 —163

Lindell Lambright77-87 —164

Terrance Hoffpauir81-83 —164

Val East 80-85 —165

Mike Colletta81-84 —165

Mike Klumpp84-83 —167

David Flanagan82-86 —168

Jim Mooney84-88 —172

Gray Little88-84 —172

SENIOR FLIGHT TWO

Mike Cagle75-76 —151

Wil Fruge77-80 —157

Scott McManus77-83 —160

Randell Williams84-78 —162

Greg Michel87-80 —167

Sam Morris87-88 —175

Terry Mullis85-91 —176

Marty Thompson86-90 —176

Charles Tarbell96-80 —176

David Herrick90-88 —178

Mark Fontenot91-89 —180

Marc Grenier94-88 —182

Jeff Sewell94-89 —183

Kurtis McGrath90-97 —187

Samuel Baynes91-99 —190