Oklahoma won the Big 12 title for the first time since 2006
(Oklahoma Athletics Photo)
TULSA, OK (April 25, 2018) - What better way for Oklahoma to begin their NCAA title defense then as the Big 12 Champions for the first time since 2006 and for just the second time in program history.
On another difficult scoring day at Southern Hills Country Club the third-ranked Sooners began the day two shots ahead and even though they were 7-over for the day they still were able pull away during the final round to win by eight shots over No. 15 Texas (+27) and No. 1 Oklahoma State (+27). The top-five was rounded out by Iowa State (+30) in fourth and No. 11 Baylor (+37) in fifth.
With Oklahoma taking the title this year marks the first time since 2012 when Texas A&M (a program now in the SEC) won that a team other than Texas has held the trophy, a run that lasted five years.
The Sooners were led by co-medalist Grant Hirschman who finished 3-over and as part of a four-way tie for individual honors. Joining Hirschman atop the leaderboard were Doug Ghim of Texas, Kansas State's Jeremy Gandon and Kristoffer Ventura of Oklahoma State.
Hirschman had a chance to win the title outright but his long par putt on the final hole hung on the lip forcing the senior to settle for par.
Beginning the day tied with Ghim for the lead at even-par Hirschman closed in 3-over 73 birdieing twice and bogeying five-times. Hirschman birdies Nos. 3 and 5 but played the last 13 holes in 4-over to settle for a shared title.
Besides Hirschman the remainder of the Oklahoma lineup performed well with no player finishing worse then tied for 26th; Brad Dalke (T7; +6), Quade Cummins (T7; +6), Blaine Hale (T14; +9) and Rylee Reinertson (T26; +13).
Kansas State's Jeremy Gordon had a chance to win the medalist title outright as well but after beginning on the 10th hole he finished his second nine double-bogey, bogey. Gordan, who finished in 2-over 70, put himself in position to win by birdieing three-times between Nos. 15-18.
Ghim was also unable to close the door, after birdieing the 17th hole to move to 2-over he gave the shot right back with an 18th hole bogey.
The final member of the quartet of medalist winners was Kristoffer Ventura and he was the only player of the four not to bogey his last hole. In fact Ventura nearly stole the title by holing out for an eagle two on the par-4 17th and then settling for a closing hole par.
Rounding out the top-five were Scottie Scheffler of Texas and Matthew Wolff of Oklahoma State at 5-over in a tie of fifth.
Behind co-medalist leader Grant Hirschman the defending national champion Oklahoma Sooners are leading the Big 12 Championship with one round remaining. Oklahoma will begin the final round at Southern Hills Country Club with a two-stroke lead as they look to win just their second conference title while also looking to snap a five year Texas reign.
With scoring proving difficult through 54-holes Hirschman is setting the Sooner pace with an even-par showing that ties him for the individual lead with Doug Ghim of Texas.
Hirschman has combined rounds of 75-67-68 thus far and he will begin the final round along with Ghim one ahead of Jeremy Gandon (Kansas State) who is 1-over and two ahead of the fourth place duo of Viktor Hovland (Oklahoma State); Matthew Sharpstene (West Virginia) at 2-over.
The run to lead has been quite impressive for Hirschman, after 5-over 75 in the first round he has been near lights out playing the next two rounds in a combined 5-under-par. For Hirshman his key stretch came in the second round when he birdied Nos. 4-6 in a row after starting on the back nine and the 9th as well to play the six hole stretch in 4-under.
Outside of Hirschman the remainder of the Oklahoma roster has chipped in as well; Quade Cummins (T6; +3), Brad Dalke (T11; +5), Rylee Reinertson (T21; +8) and Blaine Hale (T27; +9).
Ghim reached a share of the lead with rounds of 71-69-70. In the third round Ghim, a member of the 2017 USA Walker Cup team, birdied three-times and bogeyed three-times.
Iowa State will begin the final round 14-over and in second place, No. 1 Oklahoma State who had just recently been on a seven tournament winning streak is in a tie for third with five-time defending Big 12 champion No. 15 Texas at 18-over while No. 11 Baylor is fifth at 21-over.
ABOUT THE Big 12 Championship
72 hole men's collegiate championship of the Big
12 Conference. Team (best four scores out of five
players each round) and individual competitions.
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