Oklahoma State Corrals Central Regional
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Oklahoma States mens golf team erased a four-shot deficit on Saturday to pick up its fifth win of the season, emerging victorious at the NCAA Central Regional at Colbert Hills Golf Club.
The Cowboys entered the day four shots off the pace of Illinois and in third place before posting a 6-under-par total of 282. OSUs 54-hole team score of 856, 8-under, came in five shots clear of the second-place Illini.
Junior Hunter Mahan led the way individually for the Cowboys, firing a final-round 68 to finish tied for fifth and earn his fourth consecutive top-five finish. The McKinney, Texas native finished with a 210, 6-under total to extend his school record for consecutive tournaments below par to nine.
Fellow junior Pr Nilsson broke par for the second consecutive day after turning in a 2-under 70 on Saturday to tie for 20th at 215. The Ljungsbro, Sweden native birdied the second and seventh hole before recording 11 straight pars to post his third sub-par total of the season and earn his third consecutive top-20.
Redshirt freshman Zack Robinson, who opened the day tied for eighth, carded a 2-over 74 to dip into a tie with Nilsson and five other players at 1-under, 215. The Forth Worth, Texas native earned his third career top 20 with the 20th-place finish.
Sophomore Alex Norn rounded out the trio of OSU players that reached red figures during the final round, firing a 2-under 70, moving him to 1-over, 217 for the tournament and a tie for 33rd, while true freshman Chris Clarke parred his first eight holes on each side before bogeying Nos. 9 and 18 for a 74 to finish tied for 77th at 7-over, 223.
With the win, OSU will be one of 30 teams to advance to the NCAA Championship on May 27-30 at its home course, Karsten Creek.
1 Oklahoma State 285 289 282'856
2 Illinois 275 295 291'861
3 North Carolina State 283 289 290'862
T4 North Carolina 283 295 289'867
T4 Texas 285 298 284'867
6 Kentucky280 301 288'869
T7 SMU 277 301 292'870
T7 Minnesota 287 297 286'870
T7 Arkansas286 292 292'870
10 Wichita State 290 287 294'871
11 Kansas State287 305 280'872
12 Texas Tech 296 293 285'874
13 Lamar285 304 286'875
T14 Toledo 295 301 280'876
T14 Ohio State 293 293 290'876
16 TCU 287 300 290'877
T17 Kent State 291 295 293'879
T17 North Texas285 303 291'879
19 Kansas295 298 288'881
T20 Oklahoma292 296 294'882
T20 Michigan State 289 300 293'882
22 Northwestern 287 308 289'884
T23 Tulsa 291 299 297'887
T23 Wright State 297 297 293'887
T23 Texas A&M 296 297 294'887
26 Missouri298 300 290'888
27 Baylor 289 313 291'893
*'Top 10 teams advance to NCAA Championships
1 Brett Callas, Houston71 69 67'207
2 Patrick Nagle, Illinois 67 72 69'208
T3 Judd Easterling, Wichita State 69 68 72'209
T3 J.J. Wall, Texas 70 73 66'209
T5 Hunter Mahan, Oklahoma State 71 71 68'210
T5 Jason Moon, North Carolina State 66 71 73'210
T5 Chris Stroud, Lamar 69 71 70'210
Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder
Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.
"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."
Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.
Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.
"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."
Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn
There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.
Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.
Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.
Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.
The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.
Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta
Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.
The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.
It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.
"It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."
Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.
Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.
"This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."
Rahm (62) shoots career low round at CareerBuilder
After a banner year in 2017, Jon Rahm found a way to add yet another accolade to his growing list of accomplishments during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge.
Rahm got off to a fast start at La Quinta Country Club, playing his first seven holes in 6 under en route to a 10-under 62. The score marked his career low on the PGA Tour by two shots and gave him an early lead in an event that utilizes a three-course rotation.
La Quinta was the site of Adam Hadwin's 59 during last year's event, and Rahm knew full well that a quick start opened the door to a memorably low score.
"Any time you have that going for you, you get thoughts come in your head, 60, maybe 59," Rahm told reporters. "I knew that if I kept playing good I was going to have more birdie opportunities, and I tried not to get ahead of myself and I was able to do it."
Rahm birdied his first two holes before an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole sparked him to an outward 30. He added four more birdies on the inward half without dropping a shot.
The Spaniard is the highest-ranked player in the field this week, and while many players opted for a two-week stint in Hawaii he instead came home for some practice after opening the new year with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. That decision appears to have paid some early dividends as Rahm gets set to defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Low scores were plentiful on all three courses during the opening round, and Rahm remained pleased with his effort even though he fell short of matching Hadwin's sub-60 score from a year ago.
"That's golf. You're not going to make every single putt, you're not going to hit every shot perfect," he said. "Overall, you've got to look at the bigger picture. I birdied the last hole, had a couple of great sand saves coming in, shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for."