LSU clips Oklahoma State in closing holes to win Prestige
LSU coach Chuck Winstead (left) and his team eye their Prestige prize in the desert
LSU coach Chuck Winstead (left) and his team eye their Prestige prize in the desert

PGA West’s Norman Course can be brutal, and that was clear on Wednesday. The La Quinta, Calif., venue held the top-ranked team in the nation to 2 under, opening the door for another squad to make a run. Ultimately, LSU outplayed Oklahoma State down the stretch to earn its second title this season.

The Tigers entered the day with a three-shot lead on Oklahoma State, and had extended that to a six-shot victory by day’s end. LSU’s back-nine performance was downright inspiring. Three of four counters went bogey-free on the back nine. All told, LSU was 6 under on the back, which is notable considering that they were 5 under total for the third round. The team was 14 under for the week.

While the back nine was an impressive team effort, Philip Barbaree put on the single-best show. Barbaree didn’t win the individual title – he fell three shots short of that – but would easily earn man-of-the-match honors with a final-round 66 that kept LSU securely at the top of the leaderboard.

Barbaree’s best moments came right before the turn, when he holed out for eagle on back-to-back holes – the par-5 eighth at the par-4 ninth. He added two more bogeys on the back nine from the anchor position.

The 66 was Barbaree’s best round of his college career.

“To win team events, it takes a true team effort, and that’s what we got out of our guys this week,” said Chuck Winstead, director of golf at LSU. “We showed some resiliency today and I love seeing that out of my guys. We played some really quality golf on the back nine today, and of course, we were led by Philip (Barbaree), who played lights out today.

“I’m proud of how we played this week and this is a great start to the spring portion of our season.”

It was a good time for LSU to shine, considering that live-streamed coverage of the event drew several eyes from social media and beyond. Still, Oklahoma State hardly wilted under the spotlight.

The biggest storyline for the nation’s top-ranked team entering the week was one of streaks – namely, frontman Matthew Wolff’s quest for a fifth consecutive stroke-play title this season. Wolff fell 10 shots short of that, placing an eventual T-14.

Oklahoma State is more than the Matthew Wolff show, however, and that may have been the biggest takeaway from the desert. The nation’s top-ranked team, and the defending national champions, claimed the individual medalist in Viktor Hovland, who went 8 under to win by one.

Hovland, the 2018 AGC Player of the Year and current #1 in the Golfweek/AmateurGolf.com World Amateur Ranking, made his only bogey of the day at No. 18 and finished with a final-round 5-under 66 to keep the Cowboys firmly in the fight through much of the final day.

Teammate Austin Eckroat added a top-3 finish with his 5-under total, which included a final-round 70.

Pepperdine, the No. 13 team in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings, finished an impressive third at 5 over. The Waves hung closely to LSU and Oklahoma State through 36 holes, but lost some ground with a 3-over 287 on Tuesday.

UCLA was fourth and Oregon finished fifth.

Results: The Prestige at PGA West
1NorwayViktor HovlandNorway80068-71-66=205
2NYBrandon WuScarsdale, NY50065-70-71=206
T3LAPhilip BarbareeShreveport, LA40073-69-66=208
T3OKAustin EckroatEdmond, OK40068-70-70=208
5CAJoshua McCarthyDanville, CA40071-70-68=209

View full results for The Prestige at PGA West

ABOUT THE The Prestige at PGA West

54 hole men's college tournament played in California's Coachella Valley which features an all- star field of many of major college golf's top teams and players. The Prestige is co-hosted by eight time NCAA Champion Stanford University of the Pac 12 Conference and UC Davis of the Big West Conference.

There is a college/am tournament fund raiser the day before the tournament proper begins which is a great way to see first hand how these players (many of whom will go on to PGA Tour careers) go about their business.

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