Texas senior Pierceson Coody (Conner Penfold photo)
After receiving a recent clean bill of health, the Texas Longhorns head into the postseason brimming with confidence following its second consecutive victory on Wednesday at the Western Intercollegiate at Pasatiempo Golf Course in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Coming off a 26-stroke victory two weeks ago at the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational, the Longhorns (1075; +25) edged Pepperdine by a single stroke to win back-to-back tournaments for the first time since April of 2017.
Texas braved cool and windy conditions over the first two rounds and took a three-stroke lead over the Waves heading into Wednesday's play. The two teams separated themselves from the pack and under much-improved scoring conditions, staged a memorable final-round duel on Wednesday.
Behind junior Travis Vick's
2-under 68, along with rounds of 69 turned in by Pierceson Coody
and freshman Alejandro Gonzalez
, the Longhorns shot 3-under 347 to hold off the hard-charging Waves, which benefitted from three 67s from medalist Dylan Menante
, Derek Hitcher
and freshman Ian Maspat
en route to a 5-under round of 345 only to come up just short of defending their Western Intercollegiate title from last year.
Texas edged Pepperdine by a shot for their second straight win (Conner Penfold photo)
The team title hung in the balance to the final hole until Pierceson Coody tapped in the bogey on the par-3 18th to seal the Longhorns' victory.
“I four-putted it yesterday,” Coody said of the 18th green, “so I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to mark it.”
All was not lost for the Waves, however, as Menante claimed medalist honors with a 1-under score of 209, which was good for a three-shot victory over Carson Lundell
of BYU, Rasmus Hjelm
of Colorado State and Coody. It marked Menante's second straight individual win after his triumph at the Valspar Collegiate Invitational in late March.
Menante began the round tied for second but was just three shots behind 36-hole leader Hjelm. Menante gained a share of the lead with birdies on holes 4, 8 and 9 but dropped back following a double-bogey on the par-4 10th. He bounced back quickly, though, with birdies on 11 and 13 to get back to 3-under and then closed out his round with five straight pars while his closest pursuers stumbled down the stretch.
It marks the second consecutive year a Pepperdine player has donned the coveted blue letterman's jacket following Joe Highsmith's
victory last season.
As for Texas, head coach John Fields is sleeping much better these days. Armed with a full, healthy lineup for the first time since the fall, his Longhorns seem to be hitting their stride at just the right time of the year, having ripped off two impressive victories in three weeks.
In two starts without the Coody twins in the lineup, the Longhorns finished eighth at the Southwestern Invitational in January and 10th at the Amer Ari in February. Buoyed by Parker's
return at Southern Highlands, Texas finished third and then followed up with a runner-up performance at the Arizona N.I.T.
Pierceson returned to the lineup for the Augusta Haskins Invitational in early April and not only did Texas run away with the field for a 26-shot victory, but Pierceson also won the individual title by six shots.
"Pierceson is either the No. 1 or 2 amateur in the world and you can’t replace somebody like him," said Fields. "His brother is top 50 or 60 in the world and you can’t replace him either. You can’t replace that experience.
“When you bring that kind of experience back, and they have a lot of pent-up energy that they want to get after it, it's a good recipe.”
“When Parker and I were out, everyone kept doing their own thing, everyone did their job," said Piercesson. "Luckily it’s added up to two wins with us being healthy.
“That was the plan all along and that’s exactly how we saw it happening.”
The Texas players breathed a sigh of relief with the return of the twins, as well.
“It definitely takes a lot of pressure off our shoulders,” said Gonzalez, a freshman from Queretaro, Mexico, who holed a 25-footer for eagle on the 13th, one of three eagles carded on the par 5 all week. “Since we have two guys who we know who will be close to par or under par most of the time. It helps a lot, and keeps us calm.
“We know we don't have to go for every pin. So we can chill a little bit."
The Longhorns return to action on April 25-27 at the Big 12 Championship at Whispering Pines Golf Club in Trinity, Texas, where the No. 2 Oklahoma State and No. 3 Oklahoma await.
“Thank goodness our trainers and doctors did such a great job with Pierceson and Parker,” Fields said.
“They’re back, let’s go get it now.”
ABOUT THE Western Intercollegiate
54-hole men's college tournament hosted by
San Jose State University. “The Western” is
of the most highly recognized national
tournaments, conducted since 1946
Golf Club; a historic venue where a player’s
is always well-tested. Pasatiempo perennially
ranks among the best by all of the major golf
The format is slightly different than most college
events. Six-player teams take the best five scores
each round to determine the team score.
View Complete Tournament Information