Photo courtesy of Oklahoma Athletics
As Yogi Berra once said, it was deja vu all over again at the Big 12 Men's Golf Championships where Oklahoma and Texas Tech's Ludvig Aberg successfully defended the team and individual championships at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kan.
Oklahoma, ranked 11th iby Golfweek/Sagarin, ran away from the field at Prairie Dunes en route to a wire-to-wire, 18-stroke victory over TCU, which finished at 17-over. The Sooners' 72-hole score of 1,119 (-1) set a program record for a 54-hole stroke play event and a conference championship record at Prairie Dunes by 10 shots.
It marks the 19th conference title for the Sooners -- three of which have come under head coach Ryan Hybal - and the first time they went back-to-back since 1956-57.
"This still feels like the first time because it's so special," Hybl said. "For us to have won three of the last five Big 12 Championships is so awesome. But this one was extra special because we got to enjoy the walk a little bit more on the back nine there with the lead. Overall, I'm just really proud of our guys for digging in their heels and grinding. This place is so difficult and to shoot under par at Prairie Dunes over four rounds with five guys is really special."
Aberg was equally as dominant in his title defense.
At 15-under 265, the world's top-ranked amateur smashed the conference scoring record to post an eight-stroke victory over Jonas Baumgartner of Oklahoma State. Aberg's combined score of 265 was 11 shots better than the previous record of 276 set by Morgan Hoffmann of Oklahoma State (2009) and Cole Hammer of Texas (2019).
Playing 72 holes over three days in miserable conditions at Prairie Dunes, the Swede made just five bogeys and a double bogey and went going 31 holes without dropping a shot.
In a conference that has produced its share of PGA Tour stars, Aberg became the first player in the 26-year history of the Big 12 Championships to win back-to-back individual medalist titles. The win was his third of the season and ninth of his collegiate career.
Overshadowed by Aberg's performance was the play of Oklahoma State's Baumgarter and Brian Stark of Texas.
Baumgarter finished runner-up to the record-setting Swede after posting a final round even par 70 to finish at 7-under 273. His impressive showing at Prairie Dunes comes on the heels of his first career victory in the Cowboys' last outing at the Mountaineer Invitational. Stark, who played three years at Oklahoma State before transferring to Austin this season, finished third in the individual standings with a 72-hole score of 6-under-par 274 (69-72-67-66).
Patrick Welch fueled Oklahoma's title drive as the redshirt senior carded rounds of 70-68-70-70 to finish fourth at 2-under 278, which tied for the second-lowest 72-hole score in Oklahoma history. Welch was one of three Sooners to finish inside the top-10. Drew Goodman finished fifth at even par 280 while Ben Lorenz tied for sixth at 2-over 282.
With the victory, Oklahoma secures the Big 12's automatic bid to the NCAA Regionals and will have the luxury of staying home where the Sooners will host a regional at Jimmie Austin OU Golf Club, May 15-17.
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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