Oklahoma State (North Texas PGA)
For those that said it could not be done, please be gracious enough to eat some humble pie because Maridoe Golf Club has done it once again.
Hosting 12 collegiate teams, over 40 unattached collegiate players, and a handful of mid-amateurs this week, Maridoe was once again the center of the golf world.
Kansas Freshman Luke Kluver
, who had the 18 and 36 hole leads on the attached collegiate leaderboard, was cruising right along during Tuesday’s final round. Then, Maridoe happened.
Kluver was one under on the day and five under for the tournament through the 10th hole of the final round. Making back to back bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12 was no big deal. There was plenty of golf left and a three shot cushion to work with.
Clawing away at four straight pars from 13-16, Kluver stepped up to the shortened tee on the infamous par-3 17th.
Not nearly as intimidating as the 17th at TPC Sawgrass, Maridoe’s 17th features a sloped green with a ridge on the right third of the green which slopes towards the water. With the tees moved up to just 100 yards, Kluver flew the green deep leaving himself a dicey chip shot that ran away from him and towards the water.
The Jayhawk freshman landed the ball in what seemed like a perfect area. The ball kept rolling until it found a resting place in the water that protects the front right portion of the hole. Electing to take a drop from where he played his last, Kluver putted onto the surface where he eventually made a triple-bogey six.
Unable to shake off the blown lead, Kluver took another six, this time for double-bogey, on No. 18.
Where one candle was blown out, another was lit. Playing as an individual for Texas Tech, redshirt senior Kyle Hogan began Tuesday two shots back of the lead. Almost immediately making those shots up, Hogan dropped a 2-under 34 on the front side to set himself up for at worst, a top-10 finish.
As golf would have it, Hogan played an up and down back nine which was capped off with a double-bogey on No. 17. Unlike Kluver, Hogan was able to recover and grab a par at the last to take the clubhouse lead at 1-under (215) with his final round 1-over, 73.
Still on the course were contenders Austin Eckroat
(Oklahoma State), Bo Jin
(Oklahoma State), and Dylan Menante
(Pepperdine). One by one, each fell challenger began to fall away as Jin finished T-4 at two over and Menante closed out a T-2 finished thanks to a 3-under 69.
As for Eckroat, he stuck around until the final shot. Coming off of a bogey on the par-5 16th, Eckroat stuck his tee shot to mere inches on No. 17, tapping in for birdie.
Standing on the 18th tee and needing a birdie to win the tournament and earn an exemption into the PGA Tour stop at the Houston Open, Eckroat piped his drive right down broadway. Hitting his approach just short, the chance at birdie was out of the question, but a par to force a playoff was still in the cards.
Leaving his ball in arguably the best spot to get an up and down from, Eckroat put his third shot to just 6-feet and pin high for a par attempt.
With his Cowboy teammates watching from the cart path, Eckroat missed the par attempt on the high side, leaving a tap in bogey for a final round 72 and an even-par tournament score of 216.
Not all was lost for Eckroat, though. The Cowboys allowed their 16-over, wind-blown Sunday to be their only round over par as a team. Turning in back to back 288s, Alan Bratton’s Cowboys were crowned team champions.
Pepperdine’s 1-under 287 was not quite enough as they finished in second place, three shots off Oklahoma State’s pace.
’s Oklahoma Sooners squad rallied from seventh to take third place. Their final-round 5-under 283 was the lowest single-day team score of the tournament.
While the teams of collegians were making their mark, so were the invitees.
Playing in a separate field to comply with NCAA and conference rules, players from teams unable to play thanks to their conference or school shutting down golf for the fall, got their chance to keep their game from rusting.
Coming out on top was Elis Svard
. The graduate senior from Sweden rebounded nicely from his opening-round 5-over 77 with a steady 72 on Monday. Just one shot off the lead, Svard maintained his solid play from the day prior as he carded a birdie to kick things off on the par-4 1st.
Even on the front side, Svard kicked his round into high gear with an eagle from the fairway on the par-4 10th. Not forgetting about his putter, the Buckeye nabbed a birdie on the par-5 11th before tallying birdies on hole Nos. 13 and 14.
Cooling off just a tad, Svard bogeyed No. 15, finishing his scoring for the day. His back nine 32 was enough to edge out the 2019 AmateurGolf.com Player-of-the-Year
, Chun An Yu
(Arizona State) who tallied a 73 to finish four shots off of Svard’s pace.
Svard’s 217 was not in play for the lone exemption into the Houston Open, but he did not go home empty-handed.
Svard has an invite to play in November’s Maridoe Amateur Championship
which will comprise of 54 holes of stroke play, followed by a 64-man match play tournament. The event gives one last look to those in the running for the 2021 Walker Cup teams.