HUTCHINSON, Kan. - The ninth-ranked Texas men's golf team won an unprecedented third-straight Big 12 men's golf title on Tuesday, using senior Jason Hartwick's nine-stroke victory and medalist performance as a stepping stone to the win at the Prairie Dunes Golf Course (6,598 yards, par 70).
Texas defeated the runner-up, No. 20 Oklahoma, by six strokes and third-place finisher, No. 7 Oklahoma State, by nine strokes. UT is now the only program to win three Big 12 titles in a row, and is one of only two league teams to win back-to-back championships.
In honor of the men's team's title, the University of Texas Tower, located on the UT campus, will be lit orange on Thursday, April 30.
Texas and Oklahoma State, teams which were paired together along with fourth-place finisher Kansas State for the final round, stayed neck and neck on the first nine holes before Texas came away with the win on the final five holes of play. Texas was 25-over with an 864 (287-290-287), while OU finished second at 30-over with an 870 (295-292-283). OU's final round of 283 was the best 18-hole score of the tournament, lifting the Sooners into second from fourth where they started the day. Oklahoma State finished at 33-over with an 873 (292-285-296).
Hartwick became Texas' second Big 12 medalist, following David Gossett's 1999 championship. Hartwick shot a six-under 204 (70-66-68) and was the only golfer under par in the tournament. He shot two of the only five rounds under par in the championship after firing an even-par round of 70 on the first 18 holes. He defeated runner-up Anthony Kim of Oklahoma by nine shots as Kim fired a three-over 213 (76-70-67).
'Today was as exciting as college golf can get,' Texas head coach John Fields said after his team's victory. 'With about four or five holes to play, it was really too close to figure out who was leading, but we thought we might be one stroke up. All five guys got word of what was happening in the other groups and they all stepped up and took control of the opening that was created for us.
'Having won three times in a row says a lot about our program. Any time any team can win three times in a row, with the caliber of competition we have in the Big 12, you know you have something special. We can't take anything for granted and we have to be appreciative of winning the ways we have. A lot of teams had the feeling they could win this tournament this year, and I know a lot of the team's really wanted to win. But we came out relaxed, played the best we could and just let the outcome figure itself out,' Fields concluded.
Coupled with the Texas women's golf team's Big 12 title on Sunday, Texas becomes the first school to win both the men's and women's league title in Big 12 history.
With the victory at the Big 12 Championship, the Longhorns earned the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Championships. The team will next compete in the NCAA Regional Tournament, Thursday-Sunday, May 20-22, from which the top teams and individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship, hosted by Virginia Tech at The Homestead Cascades Course in Hot Springs, Va., June 1-4. Seedings and selections for the three NCAA Regionals will be announced at a later date.
Final Team Results
1. Texas, 287-290-287=864
2. Oklahoma, 295-292-283=870
3. Oklahoma State, 292-285-296=873
4. Kansas State, 290-289-302=881
T5. Colorado, 295-301-297=893
T5. Kansas, 291-301-301=893
T5. Texas Tech, 294-303-296=893
8. Iowa State, 296-298-300=894
9. Baylor, 299-297-299=895
10. Texas A&M, 304-305-295=904
11. Missouri, 299-301-320=920
12. Nebraska, 314-299-313=926
1 Jason Hartwick, Texas, 70-66-68=204
2 Anthony Kim, Oklahoma, 76-70-67=213
T3 Farren Keenan, Texas, 71-73-70=214
T3 Alex Noren, Oklahoma State, 71-68-75=214
5 Ryan Baca, Baylor, 71-73-71=215